Honing their courtroom skills, NUS Law students shine at moot competitions

Undergraduates from NUS Law have done exceptionally well in several recent moot competitions, demonstrating their talent and finesse in arguing their cases in the pressure-cooker courtroom environment.

The icing on the cake was the first runner-up spot achieved in the 2021 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the world's largest and oldest competitive moot court event. This year, a staggering 574 teams from 90 countries competed over six weeks in 2,036 virtual matches.

The team comprising Abhishek Srivastava, Arjit Pandey, Bay Jia Wei, Rebecca Loo and Timothy Chong went through a gruelling competition to emerge as finalists in the Championship Round on 17 Apr - where they fought a close match against the University of Sydney Law School.

Among the individual accolades, the Best Oralist of the Championship Round went to Jia Wei, while Abhishek was named Best Oralist in the Preliminary Rounds.

The Championship Final was judged by three sitting judges of the International Court of Justice. This year's competition case concerned a dispute about border closure during a global pandemic, a desperate whistle-blowing rogue scientist seeking asylum in diplomatic premises, and the State's responsibility for a suspicious aircraft explosion.

This latest showing continues the strong mooting tradition of NUS Law. The Faculty has participated in the Jessup competition for over 30 years and has an outstanding record which includes having clinched the World Championship four times, achieved the runner-up position eight times, and also won the Baxter Awards five times, the Evans Awards four times, the Best Oralist titles four times, and Best Finals Oralist titles seven times. The Baxter and Evans awards are team awards given for excellence in certain aspects of mooting.

Jia Wei said, "Behind every word that was spoken were copious amounts of legal research put together by a frantic yet capable team and the brilliant minds of five very inspiring yet humble coaches. We have faith in each other, unspoken hunger, and quiet resilience -- I'd like to think that the team's every step towards the World Finals was a culmination of those."

Abhishek added, "It is truly humbling to join the ranks of distinguished NUS Law alumni that have performed exceedingly well in the Jessup Competition and achieved the Best Oralist awards. This could not have been possible without my incredibly talented teammates, our superhuman coaches, and the unwavering support of our professors, seniors and loved ones."

The strong tradition of mooting has also fostered a culture of giving back and camaraderie within the NUS Law community, as each generation of its student mooters return to coach, advise and support their juniors. This year's Jessup team benefitted from coaches who included members of the team that placed top at Washington, D.C. in the 2016 international rounds - Joshua Hiew, who was placed first in the Oralist Rankings and was also the Best Oralist in the National Round; and Victor Leong, who clinched second in the Oralist Rankings.

In these few months, NUS Law has also recorded stellar performances in other international and local competitions. In March alone, it won the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot, the Ian Fletcher International Insolvency Law Moot Competition, and the Advocacy Cup.

The Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot

NUS Law students Nicholas Chia, Ng Wei Qi, Shayna Robinson and Yeoh Su-Jane defeated 43 teams from 21 countries to emerge champions in the 2021 Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot. Held from 8 to 19 Mar, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious student competitions in the area of investment protection law.

This year, the case study was Les toits de Paris, which concerned a historical dispute over a mining concession that was set in the 1840s which takes place in the neutral territory of Moresnet and involving governments of Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Prussia.

The Ian Fletcher International Insolvency Law Moot Competition

NUS Law students Lim Jia Ren, Rachel Chan, Sia Bao Huei, and Samuel Teo became the first NUS team to win at the 2021 Ian Fletcher International Insolvency Law Moot Competition, which was held from 15 to 21 Mar 2021. Their team was the top seed during the knock-out rounds and was awarded a prize for being the highest-ranked team after the preliminary rounds. During the preliminary rounds for the individual oralist ranking, Samuel was placed first and was awarded as the Best Individual Mooter. In the final oral round, Jia Ren was named Best Individual Mooter.

A renowned mooting competition dealing with international insolvency litigation, it saw a record participation of 34 teams in the written round, with the top 12 schools advancing into the virtual oral round. The teams had to deal with a fictional case that took place in a hypothetical jurisdiction that had adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-border Insolvency and the UNCITRAL Model Law on Enterprise Group Insolvency.

The Advocacy Cup

NUS Law students scored a hat trick in the finals of the Advocacy Cup 2021 on 31 Mar, securing the top three spots in the competition. Noah Lim emerged champion, the first runner-up was Suraj Lingaraj Bagalkoti and the second runners-up were Teo Jin Yang and Vishnu Menon. 

The students were looking forward to hone their mooting skills after taking the Trial Advocacy module. They shared that the preparation for this moot allowed them to inject creativity in using the facts provided to their advantage as well as to come up with distinctive questions for opposing witnesses.