Oxford’s Ninth IRLM team at the Austrian Verfassungsgerichtshof – Nora Wannagat (Magdalen College), Chen Chen (Magdalen College), Anson Cheung (University College) and Brogan Pastro (New College)

Benjamin Spagnolo

The Ninth International Roman Law Moot Court Competition was held in Vienna from 6 to 9 April 2016, a little over 2,000 years after the Romans fortified the city of Vindobona to guard against invaders from the north. The preliminary and semi-final rounds were held in the Universität Wien’s Juridicum, home of the largest law school in the German-speaking world. Through the efforts of our host, Prof. Dr Richard Gamauf, the Moot was especially privileged to hold the Small and Grand Finals in Austria’s Verfassungsgerichtshof, the oldest dedicated Constitutional Court in the world.

Drawing inspiration from a professor’s chance meeting with Harrison Ford, Peter Paul Rubens’s representation of the Calydonian Boar at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum and speculation as to the fate of the libraries of the Byzantine law schools in Constantinople and Beirut, the libellus for this year’s problem required counsel to engage with complex questions of private law: the essentially economic delict of corruption of a slave, with incidental issues of ecclesiastical manumission and consequential loss, and the obligations arising quasi ex contractu from negotiorum gestio, voluntary but unauthorised administration of another’s affairs.

The palma victoriae went to the University of Tübingen, who were undefeated on the path to their first-ever win in this competition, beating the University of Cambridge in the Grand Final. Cambridge had edged out Oxford by a margin of only six points (out of six hundred) in their semi-final moot. Oxford, however, outclassed the University of Liège in the Small Final, before Dr Johannes Schnizer of the Austrian Constitutional Court and Professors Nikolaus Benke (Vienna) and Thomas Finkenauer (Tübingen). The Law Faculty congratulates the Oxford team – Chen Chen (Magdalen College), Anson Cheung (University College), Brogan Pastro (New College) and Nora Wannagat (Magdalen College) on this terrific performance. Three members of the team were also ranked in the top ten oralists in this year’s contest. The Clifford Chance LLP Best Oralist Prize was awarded to Sima Simari (Tübginen).

The organising committee of the Moot, as well as the participating universities, gratefully acknowledge the longstanding sponsorship of international law firm Clifford Chance LLP, this year represented at the moot by Mr Haafiz Suleman, and the generous and enthusiastic support of this year’s host institution, the Rechtswissenschaftlichen Fakultät of the Universität Wien, and, in particular, its Dean, Prof. Dr Dr Paul Oberhammer.

The IRLM now looks forward to the Tenth Moot to be held in Trier in April 2017.

 

Professor Wolfgang Ernst
Regius Professor of Civil Law

Dr Benjamin Spagnolo
Christ Church, IRLM Mooting Coordinator