ELSA John H Jackson Moot Court
A Moot Court is a simulated mock trial procedure. Participating students will act as WTO lawyers for the opposing parties to the dispute and compete with each other in written and oral proceedings. The fictitious dispute will be decided by a fictitious WTO Panel consisting of real-life leading experts in WTO law and Public International Law from around the globe.
Since 2002, the moot has been held on a yearly basis. It has over 6 regional rounds. The regional rounds are for the First and Second European Rounds, East Asia and Oceania, West and South Asia, All America and Africa. 25 teams are selected from these regional rounds for the global rounds held at the WTO in Geneva.
‘WTO’ stands for ‘World Trade Organisation’. The simulated Panel proceedings deal with WTO and public international law disputes between two WTO Member states. WTO law has always been one of the most controversial branches of public international law, both in scholarship and the public. Issues of WTO law include debates on (1) impermissible subsidisation of products, which are either prohibited or of such a nature that causes material injury to another Member’s domestic industry; (2) disciplines governing creation and exit from customs unions and free trade areas – eg: international trade issues involved in Brexit-like situations; (3) trade measures used to protect non-trade aspects like human health, environment, labour and human rights etc. The field has continued to develop rapidly and increasingly tackles dynamic questions of public interest regulation. Such issues will be simulated at the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition.
A team of four students will be selected from all applications in August 2022.
The competition has two phases. It starts with the “written phase” from September 2022 when the moot problem is released. Here, the team will dive into the case, research the legal issues surrounding the respective arguments made by the parties to the dispute and draft two memorials, one for each of the hypothetical states involved in the dispute as the “complainant” and the “respondent”. In this phase, the team will intensively work together to write the memorials, present their findings to each other and discuss the progress with the coaches.
The written phase is followed by the “oral phase” in March 2023. The team will begin re-working their written arguments in oral pleadings and work on the rhetorical skills. The coaches will provide for guidance and feedback. For practice, many trial pleadings will be held both internally (at the University of Passau with the coaches and other researchers) as well as externally (with experts from the field).
The oral phase culminates in the participation of the Global Final Rounds held at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva in June 2023. There, the teams will compete with other teams from around the world in mock hearings before Panelists. Every student will plead for at least 20 minutes. Often, the Panelists will interrupt and ask questions that must be answered spontaneously. There is also time for rebuttal and sur-rebuttal; this means, that the teams will have the opportunity to react to the pleadings of the other party. The teams will participate in at least four preliminary rounds, twice as complainants, twice as respondents.
Judges will review and score the memorials as well as the individual advocate’s oral presentations. The best teams will advance to the semi-final and final rounds.
Participating students will greatly improve their written and oral command of the English language, just as much as their legal skills applicable not only to international trade law. They will be supported at every step by moot-experienced coaches. The Moot Court presents the opportunity – usually not offered by the regular studies – to step into the shoes of the legal work of a lawyer working for their respective client.
Students will work closely with their team members and coaches, not seldomly forming a lasting bond between the academic activities of working on the case and social activities to build a more effective team.
Particularly the trial pleadings held with leading experts in the field offers a unique opportunity for early experiences in advocacy and networking.
For law students, the participation of the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition also grants them a “Freischussverlängerung” (§ 24 II JAPO). For all participants who do not study law in Germany, the participation is foreseeably rewarded with 25 ECTS points (currently in coordination with the other faculties, more information soon).
Every student, enrolled at the University of Passau in the 3rd semester and above, interested in the field of international trade law and with some background in legal studies, is invited to apply. Prior knowledge of public international law or international trade law is welcomed, but not required.
ERASMUS and other international students seeking for an opportunity to enhance their stay with the University of Passau and connect with local students and researchers are highly welcomed.
Students should have a working-knowledge of the English language, enabling them to formulate and plead legal arguments (but everyone’s skill will get naturally enhanced just by way of participation).
Send your application by the 22nd of August 2022 to Isha.Das@uni-passau.de, including the following elements:
- Motivational letter
- Curriculum vitae
- Certificate of matriculation
- Overview/transcript of grades
Invitations for interviews with the applicants will be sent out shortly after reviewing the applications.
All Moot Court Competitions (Jessup, Vis Moot, John H. Jackson Moot, Skadden FDI Moot, etc.) are time-consuming. This is why all participants obtain a “Freischussverlängerung” or are (foreseeably) rewarded with 25 ECTS points.
Usually, students can partly continue their normal studies in parallel to doing the Moot. Also, having a part-time job is possible. Nevertheless, every participant should be in Passau and regularly available for team meetings, discussions, continuing educational events, lectures, etc. If you have specific questions about time allocation or the like, please do not hesitate to us.
“I participated in the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition during my undergraduate law degree. It was the first time I delved into the world of international trade law and was challenged with assessing different issues under the WTO Agreements.
In the course of the competition, my Team had the opportunity to compete against the best of the Teams from different countries and push our boundaries—and also make new friends in the process!
The competition not only introduced me to international trade law but also compelled me to pursue a career in the field! Most recently, I also had the opportunity to participate as a Panelist for the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition.
The competition is a great way to get introduced to WTO Law and deep-dive into emerging issues in the field of international trade law.”
-Urvi Tembey, Senior Research Fellow (Legal) and in the Indian FTA Negotiating Team, Centre for WTO Studies, India; Former Intern, WTO Intellectual Property Division.
- Visit the official website of the Moot Court: https://johnhjacksonmoot.elsa.org/
- Read the report of former participants of the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition:
- Read the blog of the 2022 Champions of the moot: https://www.news.uzh.ch/de/articles/2022/moot-court.html
- Read a newspaper report about the 2021 Champions of the moot: https://www.ft.lk/ft-lite/An-urge-to-win-secures-Moot-Court-victory-for-UoC/6-719966
- Read the blog of the 2020 participants of the All America Rounds to get a wholesome picture of the moot: https://www.afronomicslaw.org/2020/04/26/a-caribbean-perspective-about-participating-in-the-2020-john-h-jackson-moot-court-north-american-round-in-the-middle-of-the-covid-19-pandemic
*Do not hesitate to contact us directly regarding any question surrounding the Moot Court, its application process or what awesome experience awaits you: Isha.Das@uni-passau.de