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The 2015 team from the University of Oxford achieved its best-ever result in the international rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, progressing to the semi-finals and finishing in the top four teams in the world.

Oxford achieves its best result to date in the jessup moot

Tinny Chan (Merton), Laura King (Merton), Sakinah Sat (St Catherine’s), Esther Wong (Oriel) and Fibi Ward (Keble)

The team comprised Esther Wong (Oriel), Tinny Chan (Merton), Laura King (Merton), Fibi Ward (Keble) and Sakinah Sat (St Catherine's), and was coached by Stefanie Wilkins (DPhil student, Corpus Christi).

Jessup is a public international law moot court competition in which more than 600 universities participate world-wide. The competition was established 50 years ago and is run by the International Law Students Association. The case typically involves complex issues of public international law, ranging from State responsibility to the law of sea, human rights law and environmental law. Successful teams at the UK national rounds in London go on to compete in the Shearman & Sterling international rounds, which take place every spring in Washington, DC. The undergraduate team selected to represent Oxford prepares memorials (written pleadings) and oral argument for the two parties to the dispute.

The international rounds were held from April 5-11 in Washington, D.C. Oxford’s team had been selected for the international rounds as a result of having finished in the top two teams in the United Kingdom competition, held in London in early March.

The team competed in four moots in the preliminary rounds, two speakers representing the applicant in two moots, and another two speakers representing the respondent in the remaining moots. Oxford’s opponents in the preliminary rounds comprised teams from Costa Rica, Belgium, Portugal and India. Reflecting the depth of the Oxford team, each of the four speakers was judged to be the best speaker in one of the four preliminary rounds.

In the elimination rounds, Oxford beat Austria (Universität Wien) in the run-off round, India (National Law University, Jodhpur) in the octo-finals, and Russia (MGIMO University) in the quarter-finals. The semi-final against Chile (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile) was extremely close, with the scores for the oralists being tied. The Chilean team ultimately prevailed, owing to their higher score in their memorials.

Reaching the semi-finals was an outstanding result for the team, which was made up entirely of second-year undergraduate students who had not yet studied International Law. Two of the Oxford oralists were placed in the top five oralists in the world: Esther Wong ranked equal fifth, and Tinny Chan ranked fourth.

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Faculty of Law

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