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Sydney Law School wins prestigious mooting competition

16 February 2017
Securing a national title

Our mooting team will now head to Washington to compete internationally after winning the prestigious national competition.

Jessup National Team

A team of students from the University of Sydney Law School has won the Australian round of the prestigious Jessup international law mooting competition.

The team, comprising Alyssa Glass (Juris Doctor), Will Khun (Arts/Law), Joel Phillips (Juris Doctor), Eric Shi (Arts/Law) and Harry Stratton (Science/Law), not only won the overall competition, but in addition Joel Phillips was named best speaker in the grand final, and Alyssa Glass was placed equal 8th best speaker in the preliminary rounds.

The rest of the team also received well-deserved recognition, winning the top award for their written memorials - second best applicant, best respondent, and best overall memorials.  

Jessup National Team

The team, along with the other finalist team, the University of Queensland, will now fly to Washington DC in early April to take part in the international rounds of the competition. They have done the Law School, and their wonderful coach, Angus Nicholas (Arts/Law), proud!

The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition features a fictitious case before the International Court of Justice, with two teams representing the opposing states making oral submissions for 90 minutes.

This year’s case is between The Clans of the Atan and the Kingdom of Rahad, and concerns some fascinating and undeveloped areas of international law including rights to use transboundary aquifers, the protection of world heritage sites and cultural property, and a state’s responsibility for causing population outflows.

The competition started in the US in 1960, and has grown to become the world's largest moot court competition, with participants from over 550 law schools in more than 87 countries.

In each country where there is more than one university wishing to compete, a qualifying round must be held to determine which teams will advance to the international rounds in Washington. In Canberra this year there were 15 universities competing, which means Australia can send two teams to Washington.

Jessup team against Griffith

The Quarter-final against Griffith University

In Canberra, the team started the competition with preliminary round moots against the University of Adelaide, Macquarie University, La Trobe University and Flinders University, with all members of the team competing in various combinations. 

In the quarter-final they defeated Griffith University, and then the University of Western Australia in the semi-final.

In the final they faced the University of Queensland in the High Court of Australia before The Hon. Justice Stephen Gageler, Ms Gitanjali Bajaj, and Robert Dick SC. The Sydney team was declared the winner at the awards dinner that evening.

The Sydney team’s success is the culmination of nearly three months’ intensive work, first to produce the memorials in early January, and then in numerous practice moots to prepare for Canberra.

Huge thanks are due to the many practitioners, past Jessupers and academics who gave up their time to judge the practice moots and to give invaluable feedback to the team.

After a short well-earned break, the team will again immerse themselves in the world of Atania and Rahad, as they prepare for the international competition in April.

The University of Sydney is a four-time World Champion of the Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Competition.