On 5 and 6 of April 2019 a team from King’s College London participated in the Day of Crisis Moot Competition in Paris, organised by Université Paris Nanterre in collaboration with the international law firm Simmons & Simmons.
The Day of Crisis competition was founded by Professor Jean-Marc Thouvenin in 2012. It is a unique competition, centred on public international law and diplomacy, where a major international crisis is simulated, and participants are asked to deal with the events unfolding over the course of 24 hours. This year’s competition saw ten different teams representing a total of eight universities and countries.
In this year’s competition, the fictional hurricane Kishi obliterated a Japanese island, causing the displacement of a Japanese family to North Korea and the outbreak of a deadly disease in California. Meanwhile, cyberterrorists attacked a Chinese nuclear power plant, Russia intended to enlarge its maritime boundaries, and Canadian officials were bribed and enacted a law abandoning nuclear energy.
The legal issues bridged from Law of the Seas, over CETA and WTO law, to non-proliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy. The Day of Crisis concluded in a final negotiation, taking place at the OECD headquarters in Paris. It simulated a WTO General Council session, where teams discussed a joint reform proposal forwarded by the US and the EU.
The team representing King’s College London, called C.H.E.S.S (Centre for Highly Elaborate, Strategic Solutions), drafted a total of ten legal advices to governments, corporations and private individuals, including an application to the International Court of Justice. Moreover, the team participated in three different negotiations, involving maritime boundaries, tariffs, and the release of a British journalist detained in Canada. It also held a press conference on behalf of the Japanese government.
The 24-hour event was long, tiring and strenuous but most of all it was a rewarding experience that created a real world scenario for the team members to postulate. In the final negotiation, the team strongly advocated for the Russian Federation’s views for reform of the WTO in a 7 minute speech and the following engaging debate.
The chair and other members of the jury presented each team with complex questions regarding their submissions, giving them an opportunity to think on their feet and defend their position. Team C.H.E.S.S was particularly on form during this test and managed to answer both the chair and other team members queries with ease.
All in all, the Day of Crisis was an incredible opportunity to test the students’ legal expertise and apply it to realistic scenarios. The King’s team worked tirelessly for close to 30 hours unravelling the legal mysteries of a mixture of complex conundrums and was rewarded by winning the prize for “Outstanding Written Submissions”.
The team was composed of five LLM students: Cathrine Craemer, Maren Helm, Enrico Tinti, Lawrence Rainford and Alberto Vecchio. They were coached by Luigi Lonardo, Sophia Schroeder, and Myriam Gicquello, and advised by Phillipa Webb.
Other winning teams included the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, who won “Best Team” and “Best Oralist” respectively.