Alexandra Baumgart (St Hilda’s), Tara Beattie (Pembroke), Hollie Higgins (Worcester) and Fatima Zafar (Merton) secured a fourth-place ranking for Oxford at the 5th International Roman Law Moot Court Competition, mooting against Naples in the Small Final, held in the ancient Roman forum at Philippi in northern Greece.

Presiding at the Small Final was Professor Melchior Wathelet, Belgian Minister of State, former Judge of the European Court of Justice and former Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium.

The Oxford team emerged second in their group after the preliminary rounds, behind the University of Trier, who ultimately went on to win this year’s competition, defeating Athens in the Grand Final. Particular congratulations are due to Hollie Higgins, who was awarded an Honourable Mention as the second-highest ranking oralist across both preliminary and advanced rounds of the competition.

Set in AD 540-542 during the reign of Emperor Justinian I, the problem for the 2012 competition required teams to argue for, and defend against, a condictio ob turpem vel iniustam causam and a rei vindicatio in a dispute arising out of a bailout loan to, and associated securities from, a trading partnership that ran into financial difficulty due to mismanagement by some of its partners and the impact of external market pressures.

The International Roman Law Moot is organised and co-sponsored by the Institute Mohamed Ali for the Research of Eastern Tradition, with support from the Alex Dino Foundation, the European Investment Bank and law firms Clifford Chance LLP, Potamitis–Vekris, Zepos–Yiannopoulos, Karatzas & Partners and Koimtzidis–Paparallis–Kogkalidis.

This unique and challenging event, held each spring in Philippi and at the splendid Imaret Hotel in Kavala, is an eagerly-anticipated fixture in the mooting calendar for the participating institutions, and attracts not only some of the brightest students but also some of the most senior Roman law academics in western Europe, who, as judges, interrogate mooters and give little quarter when it comes to time limits.

Alongside earnest competition, students, academics, organisers and sponsors have traditionally embraced the Moot as an opportunity to interact socially as well as intellectually with colleagues from different legal traditions and this year was again no exception, with many firm friendships formed over the four days.

The Law Faculty congratulates Fatima, Hollie, Tara and Alex on their strong performance in this year’s Moot.

Benjamin Spagnolo (Magdalen)


(l to r) Hollie Higgins (Worcester), Fatima Zafar (Merton), Alexandra Baumgart (St Hilda's) and Tara Beattie (Pembroke) at the ancient Roman forum of Philippi for the 5th International Roman Law Moot Court Competition


  • Clifford Chance