Oxford Wins Fourteenth International Roman Law Moot Court Competition

The 14th International Roman Law Moot Court was held online from 7th - 9th April 2021. Hosted by the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, this year’s competition featured a problem question set in the former Roman province of Raetia, and centred around an expatriate horse breeder’s quarrels with the local population.

Teams from eight European universities debated his contractual rights against an Alemannic equestrian as well as a local sculptor under the actio praescriptis verbis and the actio locati, respectively. Students were challenged to determine these by reference to Emperor Justinian’s Corpus Iuris Civilis, compiled in the 6th century A.D. -  and yet, the legal issues raised with regard to 30-day free trial periods and failed parcel deliveries would have been of equal contemporary relevance. 

Representing the University of Oxford and coached by Dr Joe Sampson, Yun Kei Chow (Christ Church) and Benedict Stanley (St John’s) appeared on behalf of the plaintiff horse breeder, while Kacper Kryk (Corpus Christi) and Henry Fahrenkamp (Magdalen) argued for the defendants. In the preliminary rounds, the plaintiffs mooted against the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II and the University of Cambridge, and the defendants mooted against Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen and the University of Cambridge.

Following the preliminary rounds, the defendants were victorious in their semi-final against the University of Liège. The plaintiffs then faced the University of Naples Federico II before a grand final panel of five judges. Despite intense questioning on specific aspects of Roman law, including the concept of agency under the actio institoria and damages calculations as an alternative to specific performance, the plaintiffs successfully presented their case and proceeded to claim the palma victoriae for Oxford team.

In addition, Kacper Kryk was awarded the Hart Publishing Prize for Best Legal Analysis for his dissection of contractual liability under an agreement of locatio conductio operis faciendi, with particular emphasis on the legal consequences of sub-contracting and breach of ancillary terms.

Having won the competition in 2008 and 2018, the University of Oxford now ranks first among all participating universities in the total number of International Roman Law Moot Court victories.