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Law students enjoy record success at Jessup Moot

A team of students from The Dickson Poon School of Law will represent the UK at the International Rounds of the prestigious Jessup Moot – marking a record seventh successive year in which the School’s students have reached this stage of the competition.

A smiling group of students with their coaches following a moot competition
The 2022 King's College London Jessup Moot Team and their coaches.

For a record seventh consecutive year, King’s College London will represent the UK at the International Rounds of the Jessup Moot, the world's largest moot-court competition.

After winning all four of their preliminary moots, the King’s team beat the University of Manchester in the quarter finals, before narrowly losing to The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn in the semi-finals. The team rallied, however, overcoming the University of Cambridge in the third-place play-off to secure their place at the International Rounds.

Team member Daisy Peterson (Law LLB, 2nd year) said it felt “amazing” to have reached the International Rounds.

We’ve all put in so many hours to be here, and it’s such a relief to know that all our hard work has paid off!– Daisy Peterson, student, Law LLB

Preya Sutreja (Law LLB, 2nd year) described the team’s journey as “exhilarating”, and the moment when they heard they had qualified for International Rounds as “one of the happiest moments of my life.”

Isabelle Standen (Politics, Philosophy & Law LLB, 3rd year) said their qualification was “fantastic”: “It’s been amazing to represent King’s in the UK and to do so in the International Rounds feels even more special.”

Truth be told, I was especially relieved by the news, as Jessup and this team have become a central part of my life and it would have been a pity for our journey to have ended at Nationals.– Alexis Chen, student, Law LLB

The King’s team is the first all-women team to represent the university at the Jessup Moot.

In addition to qualifying for the International Rounds, the team also won the prize for the second-best memorials, while all four team members were ranked in the top 15 oralists.

The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is an advocacy competition for law students. Teams compete through the presentation of oral and written pleadings to address timely issues of public international law in the context of a hypothetical legal dispute between nations.

Now in its 63rd year, the Jessup Moot is the world's largest moot-court competition, with participants from over 700 law schools in more than 100 countries and jurisdictions. The Competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice.

The King’s team has been working on this year’s problem for several months. It touches on contentious and undecided issues in public international law, including the admissibility of illegally-obtained evidence and the legality of State-sponsored interference in foreign elections.

The process has felt like a whirlwind, but it has really involved months of considered research and hours looking into evidential practice from around the world. All of this was then synthesized into written submissions and followed by three quick weeks of practice for presenting these arguments before judges.– Isabelle Standen, student, Politics, Philosophy & Law LLB

Alexis: “The preparation for the oral rounds has been no less demanding and required a wholly distinct set of skills. This process challenged me in ways I had seldom encountered before Jessup, but the commitment and countless hours we spent burning the midnight oil led to a closer bond among the team and culminated in a piece of work we can all feel proud of.”

Isabelle: “Throughout we’ve been bouncing arguments back and forth, sharing bits of research and been challenged and constantly supported by the invaluable help of our coaches.”

The process has been rigorous, but the time spent with my teammates and coaches, and the experiences we've had together, is something that I will dearly miss after the conclusion of the competition.– Preya Sutreja, student, Law LLB

The team were coached by King’s alumni Andrew Brown (Law LLB, 2019) and Caleb Kirton (Law LLB, 2017).

Andrew Brown said: “We are immensely proud of the team’s achievements. The UK Rounds are some of the toughest Jessup National Rounds in the world, and the standard of the teams competing continues to increase every year. The team will now have the honour of representing the United Kingdom at the International Rounds, where they will compete against over 150 universities – a reward which they richly deserve following their hard work and determination over the last four months.”

Isabelle: “It should feel daunting but I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing whether someone has an argument we haven’t already reviewed. Competition is at its most fun when it’s difficult, and competing against an even wider array of teams - and in front of judges who may have written some of the literature we are presenting - is a real privilege. Learning more about international law and having the opportunity to argue it is why I applied for Jessup, and being able to continue doing both as we move up in the competition is wonderful.“

The International Rounds will be held virtually between 24 March and 9 April.

The team and coaches are grateful for the support that they have received in preparation for the competition, including from Lucas Bastin (Barrister, Essex Court Chambers) and Andrew Carruth (Barrister, Quadrant Chambers). They also wish to thank King’s academic staff, especially Professor Philippa Webb, for their support and advice.

The 2022 UK Competition also marked the inaugural year that the prize for Best Preliminary Rounds Oralist was named in honour of King’s alumnus Aqeel Noorali, a previous Jessup participant and coach who suddenly and tragically passed away in late 2020. To stimulate a future interest in the subject, the winner will receive a monograph on Public International Law, generously provided by Oxford University Press. This year’s prize went to Alexander Yean of Gray’s Inn, whose outstanding advocacy would no doubt have greatly impressed Aqeel.

The Dickson Poon School of Law is organising a special Jessup Mooting Reunion Dinner at King’s on 13 May 2022. We are hoping to invite as many past team members and coaches as possible. If you are a past member of the King's College London Jessup Moot programme, please email your name and contact details to forever@kcl.ac.uk

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Philippa Webb

Philippa Webb

Co-Director of CIGAD