Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

Good Gray day for mooters

25 March 2010 | Alex Greenwood

Good Gray day for mooters

Five students at the School of Law participated in the International Law Students Association Jessup Moot at Gray's Inn, London, held between 19 and 22 Febuary 2010.

The team performed really well, winning three out of four of the moots, but losing out narrowly for a place in the semi-final. They were a credit to the School of Law.

You can see the complexity of the problem they faced at the 2010 Jessops Compromis and it is worth noting that each of the three judges on each panel were either practicing lawyers or international law academics, and they were all tough questioners.

The team were Chantal Wheatley, Stephen Littlewood, Syam Soni, Shu Wong, and Aatifa Khan. All participated in writing the submission and Chantal and Stephen mooted -- a special mention goes to Syam for acting as the support and Shu, who substituted for him, in the final moot.


The Jessup Effect", by Chantal Wheatley

"The first rule about Fight Club, is you don't talk about Fight Club. The second rule about Fight Club is, you don't talk about Fight Club".

These were the immortal words of Tyler Durden in the cult movie Fight Club introducing what would become the most memorable and exhilarating experience of his audience's lives.

As we sat in the introductory meeting of "Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition 2010" in the Spy Room of Gray's Inn, there seemed to be an odd parallel between the above forewarning words and that of the Jessup coordinator's: " During the competition, by no means is anyone to say which university they're from. Please remove any pins that depict an insignia of your university and if using library books ensure similar references are not visible."

Referring to each other only in the numerical (each university was assigned a team number), we shook the hands of the competition. The first round was scheduled for 11.30am the following morning.

The University of Leeds delegation consisted of Chantal Wheatley, Stephen Littlewood, Syam Soni, Shu Wong and Aatifa Khan. We had been preparing months in advance for Jessup.

Having read the nine page Compromis (which was correctly described by one of the judges as "magical"), which set out the facts of the case, each member was assigned a separate topic to prepare submissions for the Memorial. We had to compile a Memorial, no more than 9,000 words each, for both the Applicant and the Respondent.

Arriving 11.15am Friday morning as requested, we entered Court Room 3 for Round 1. There were to be two rounds on both Friday and Saturday; 11.30am as the Applicant and 5.00pm as the Respondent for each.

The judges for each round varied. The triumvirate consisted of either lawyers, academics, diplomats, fellows of various learned societies, tribunal judges et al. Whilst the judges' questions were challenging, it was immensely beneficial to be assessed by those whom we one day hoped to refer to as our peers in the field of international law; the standard was unsurprisingly high.

Announcements of the teams which were to advance to the semi-finals were made in The Hall on Saturday night. Surrounded by portraits of noted patrons and members of the Inn, remnants of the damage left by the Blitz during the Second World War was still visible. The atmosphere allowed one to feel a real sense of pride whilst standing in the very footsteps of those we admired.

Unfortunately, we did not progress to the semi-finals. However the experience was immensely gratifying. In her closing speech, the Jessup coordinator stated "About four weeks from now, you'll really feel the ' Jessup Effect'" and this really could not be more true.

"I would describe Jessup as a dizzying- but fantastic- experience which has resulted in "jessups withdrawl", says Syam Soni, Third Year Law student.

Aatifa Khan, a Second Year Law student, says: "I am proud to be part of the first Leeds team in such a prestigious and truly international competition".

For Stephen Littlewood, another Second Year Law student: "It was challenging but one of the best legal experiences I've had so far, and it was fun all the way".

"The experience is one that I will forever remember. It was challenging and insightful. Days later, I still find myself thinking about bilateral investment treaties", says Chantal Wheatley, an International Law Masters student.

The Leeds University delegation for Jessup 2010 would like to extend their gratitude to Mr Steven Wheatley who acted as supervisor to the team. He was a great source of encouragement and support.

We are also grateful to Leeds for Life for supporting us financially; our goal for next year is to see the winning trophy encased at the University of Leeds Law School.

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