There are several well-known International Law moot court competitions. The Center for Global Law & Policy works closely with HMCE to field competitors for the following possible competitions each year:

Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
The Jessup Competition is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from over 500 law schools in more than 80 countries

Pace ICC (International Criminal Court) Moot Court Competition
In this competition, held at Pace University School of Law, each team of students will participate in three rounds of oral arguments and have the opportunity to argue from all three perspectives: prosecutor, defence counsel and victims’ advocate.

Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot
The object of the Vis Arbitral Moot is to foster study in the area of international commercial arbitration and encourage the resolution of business disputes by arbitration.

Jean-Pictet Competition in International Humanitarian Law
The Jean-Pictet Competition is a week-long training event on international humanitarian law (IHL) intended for students (undergraduate or above) in law, political science, military academies, etc.

Gray’s Inn
During the summer session in Oxford, Gray’s Inn hosts a moot court in which two Santa Clara Law students, usually the winners of the Panelli Moot Court Competition, argue against two Gray’s Inn young barristers.

U.C. Davis Asylum and Refugee Law Competition
The competition provides law students from across the country the opportunity to participate in a hypothetical appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
The Jessup Competition is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from over 500 law schools in more than 80 countries. The Competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. One team is allowed to participate from every eligible school. Teams prepare oral and written pleadings, arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case. Thousands of law students from around the world worked all year long on this season’s Jessup Problem, which will address the legality of the use of unmanned drones and international anti-corruption law. Most students must first compete in national and regional competitions (mostly held in January-March) to earn the right to advance to the White & Case International Rounds held every spring in Washington, D.C.

For more information about current competitors, see the HMCE website.


Pace ICC (International Criminal Court) Moot Court Competition
The annual International Criminal Court (ICC) Moot Competition held at Pace University School of Law is now the official English language round for the ICC Trial Competition held in The Hague. The new global competition is sponsored in cooperation with Pace Law School, the University of Amsterdam, the American Society of International Law, the International Criminal Law Network (ICLN), and now the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Perhaps the most exciting feature of the Moot, and one unique to this competition, is that each team of students will participate in three rounds of oral arguments and have the opportunity to argue from all three perspectives: prosecutor, defence counsel and victims’ advocate. Past participants have commented that they had never experienced a better way of learning the substantive and procedural law in a given area and of fully developing the arguments of the parties than by having the opportunity to make those arguments from all three perspectives during the Moot.  The two highest scored teams in the English-language round will advance to the finals in The Hague, to compete against qualifying teams from around the world.

For more information about current competitors, see the HMCE website.


Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot
The East version of this moot is an annual international moot court competition held in Hong Kong. The object of the Vis Arbitral Moot is to foster study in the area of international commercial arbitration and encourage the resolution of business disputes by arbitration. The problem for the moot is always based on an international sales transaction subject to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, 1980 (also referred to as the United Nations or the Vienna Sales Convention, or CISG) and also involves procedural issues of arbitration. The moot consists of submitting written memoranda prior to the moot on designated dates for both sides of the dispute (Claimant and Respondent). The goal of the Vis Arbitral Moot is to foster the study of international commercial law and arbitration for resolution of international business disputes through its application to a concrete problem of a client and to train law leaders of tomorrow in methods of alternative dispute resolution.

For more information about current competitors, see the HMCE website.


Jean-Pictet Competition in International Humanitarian Law
The Jean-Pictet Competition is a week-long training event on international humanitarian law (IHL) intended for students (undergraduate or above) in law, political science, military academies, etc. It consists in “taking law out of the books” by simulations and role plays, allowing the jury of the Competition to evaluate teams’ theoretical knowledge and practical understanding of IHL. To register, teams must consist of three students, from the same institution, none of whom has taken part in the Competition before and all of whom should generally be under 30 years old. The 2012 Edition will take place in early April, 2012, in South Africa.

For more information about current competitors, see the HMCE website.


Gray’s Inn
In England, the four Inns of Court, of which Gray’s Inn is one, have the exclusive right to call men and women to the Bar – i.e., to admit those who have fulfilled the necessary qualifications to the degree of Barrister-at-Law, which entitles them, after a period of pupilage (vocational training) either to practice as independent advocates in the Courts of England and Wales or to take employment in government or local government service, industry, commerce, or finance. Thus, to qualify as a barrister, everyone must join an Inn.

The government of each Inn is ultimately controlled by the Masters of the Bench, elected mainly from among its members who are also senior members of the judiciary or Queen’s Counsel. In the case of Gray’s Inn there are about 200 Benchers.

During the summer session in Oxford, Gray’s Inn hosts a moot court in which two Santa Clara Law students, usually the winners of the Panelli Moot Court Competition, argue against two Gray’s Inn students or young barristers. The moot is presided over by a panel of English judges, and an opinion resolving the mooted issues is delivered from the bench. The moot is followed by dinner in the Gray’s Inn Hall with the moot team, the judges, young barristers training at the Inn, and the students in our Oxford summer program.

For more information about current competitors, see the HMCE website.

Dean Emeritus Donald Polden, Santa Clara Law Students Mary Procaccio-Flowers and Matt Clendenin

Dean Emeritus Donald Polden, Santa Clara Law Students
Mary Procaccio-Flowers and Matt Clendenin

Congratulations to Matthew Clendenin and Mary Procaccio-Flowers for their success at the Gray’s Inn Moot Competition in summer 2011. They competed against two pupil barristers from Gray’s Inn in London before the Right Honorable Sir John Mummery, a judge on the court of appeals, and the Honorable Sir Mark Hedley, both of whom are members of Gray’s Inn. Also on the panel was Professor Gary Neustadter, who drafted the problem for the moot.


U.C. Davis Asylum and Refugee Law Competition
The UC Davis Asylum & Refugee Law National Moot Court Competition is the only immigration law moot court competition on the west coast, and the only one in the nation devoted exclusively to the topic of asylum and refugee law. The competition provides law students from across the country the opportunity to participate in a hypothetical appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Competitors write a brief as either respondent or petitioner on an issue related to asylum and refugee law. Shortly after submitting their briefs, students present mock oral argument before the Court, arguing for both sides of the issue.

The competition problems raise engrossing issues, often reflecting questions being analyzed by international bodies or pending before U.S. circuit courts or the Supreme Court. For the 2012 competition, the issues are (1) whether a state conviction for possession of an unspecified amount of marijuana constitutes an “aggravated felony,” as defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act, resulting in ineligibility for asylum, and (2) whether persecution in retaliation for the acts of a family member constitutes persecution “on account of membership” in a particular social group, for purposes of the relief of withholding of removal.

For more information about current competitors, see the HMCE website.