Sydney Law School sets mooting world record

28 November 2017
Outstanding achievement by 2017 Jessup Team

Alyssa Glass, William Khun, Joel Phillips, Eric Shi and Harry Stratton describe their journey to securing the 58th Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition title.

Team celebrate their victory

The 2017 Jessup team celebrate their victory

In April 2017 we represented Australia in the international rounds of the Jessup Moot Competition in Washington DC.

We were one of 143 teams from 89 countries who took part in the Jessup International Rounds, mooting a problem about the equitable sharing of transboundary resources, world heritage sites, cultural property, and shared responsibility for refugee flows. We were honoured to represent Australia and compete alongside teams from all continents of the world.

Our preparation began in November 2016 and entailed weeks of gruelling but rewarding research, including the submission of two 12,000-word memorials in January 2017.

We were coached by Angus Nicholas, himself a former Jessup world champion, and also benefited from the guidance and support of Dr Alison Pert, an adjunct senior lecturer in international law.

At the highly competitive Australian rounds in February 2017 our team won the grand final in the Australian High Court, before a bench consisting of Justice Stephen Gageler, Robert Dick SC, and Gitanjali Bajaj. We also won awards for Best Overall Written Memorials and Best Applicant Memorial, and Joel Phillips was named best speaker in the Australian grand final. It was an amazing feeling!

Celebrating a win

Two months and countless practice moots later, we arrived in Washington DC in April. After a whirlwind tour of cherry blossoms, historical sites, and the Supreme Court steps, we spent the rest of the week sequestered in the hotel, consuming cheap sandwiches and terrible coffee, and preparing to take on the intense competition.

We navigated our way through the rounds, securing victories against opposition from India in the quarter final and Canada in the semi final.

We found ourselves in the final, up against the team from Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica, mooting in front of a judging panel comprising current International Court of Justice (ICJ) Judges James Crawford and Patrick Robinson, and former ICJ Judge Bruno Simma.

Our team emerged victorious! To top it off, Alyssa was named as best oralist in the final. Our win brought Sydney Law School’s Jessup Moot Competition tally to five. This is a feat that no other law school in the world has achieved. Needless to say, we were feeling on top of the world!