NUS team tops Singapore round of 2016 Jessup Moot Court Competition

29 February 2016 | Research
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NUS Law students made clean sweep of all prizes in decisive victory

A team of five students from National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (NUS Law) have emerged champions of the Singapore National Round of the 2016 Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, which was held on 27 February 2016 at the Singapore Court of Appeal. The NUS team decisively defeated the team from the Singapore Management University and made a clean sweep of all prizes at the Singapore competition – in addition to winning the overall Round, the team also won the prize for Best Memorials, and NUS Law student Joshua Hiew was named Best Oralist.

The 2016 NUS Law team comprises students Mr Hairul Hakkim, Ms Mehaerun Simaa, Mr Victor Leong, Mr Joshua Hiew and Mr Victor Yao. Their latest victory means the team will go on to represent Singapore at the International Rounds of the Jessup Moot Court Competition, which will be held in Washington, D.C. in the United States in March 2016.

NUS Law has won the Jessup international competition a record four times, and has been runners-up six times. Many former Jessup mooters from NUS Law now occupy the upper echelons of the legal fraternity in Singapore in both the public and private sectors.

Professor Simon Chesterman, Dean of NUS Law, said, “NUS Law has a rich tradition of mooting, including an amazing record at the Jessup that dates back to our famous team from the Class of 1982. The Singapore national round for the Jessup offers teams the chance to hone their arguments and present them in the Court of Appeal. In recent years, SMU has performed extremely well in mooting and gave us a real run for our money on this occasion also.

“My colleagues and I are tremendously proud of Hairul, Joshua, Simaa, and the two Victors, and we know how much time and effort they have already devoted to this project. As they head to Washington, D.C., we are confident that they will represent NUS Law with honour.”

The NUS team was trained and coached by NUS Law alumni Associate Professor Lim Lei Theng, Mr Alvin Yap and Mr Chin Jincheng, who themselves have represented NUS in past Jessup competitions.

The NUS team had to master a wide range of cutting-edge international law topics canvassed in this year’s problem. These included issues of admissibility of evidence before the International Court of Justice, human rights law on terrorist detentions, the developing international law norms on cyber-attacks, and the legality of mass surveillance. This year’s Singapore National Round of Jessup was judged by an esteemed panel of international law experts from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, comprising Solicitor-General Lionel Yee, Director-General of the International Affairs Division Pang Khang Chau, and Deputy-Director General of the International Affairs Division Daphne Hong.

Mr Joshua Hiew, a third-year NUS Law student and Best Oralist, described the team’s journey to the National Round, “The Singapore National Round was a thrilling experience. The judges were very inquisitive, and we had to be on our toes throughout. Team spirit played a big part in helping us mentally prepare for the competition. We spent hundreds of hours together talking each other through a variety of possible questions, and that allowed us to foresee most of the judges’ concerns – there were still curveballs, but that’s part of the joy of mooting.”

The Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world’s largest and most prestigious moot court competition. More than 600 teams from over 80 countries compete in various national and regional rounds worldwide, before the winners face off at the international rounds in Washington, D.C.