Moot Courts: Jessup International Law Competition

(Cross-posted from Forced Migration Current Awareness.)

I recently learned from Guy Goodwin-Gill that the 2013 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is focusing on a hypothetical case involving, among other things, climate change-related migration, an island state that disappears, boat people, immigrant detention, and the proposed transfer of detainees to a third state. For those of you who are not familiar with the Jessup competition, it 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.” It’s organized by the International Law Students Association (ILSA).

The problem in this hypothetical case is presented in the form of a “compromis,” which is defined as “a formal agreement between nations submitting a dispute to arbitration and defining the terms of the submission… .” The 2013 Jessup compromis is officially titled “Compromis between Alfurna (Applicant) and the State of Rutasia (Respondent) to Submit to the International Court of Justice the Differences between the Parties concerning the Alfurnan Migrants”; the text is available here, where visitors will also find corrections to/clarifications of the text as well as additional competition materials (i.e., relevant legal instruments).

Moreover, this ILSA-IBA web cast features Guy Goodwin-Gill and Michael Waibel discussing the issues raised in the compromis with Joe Terrenzio, ILSA’s Jessup Competition Coordinator, and providing helpful suggestions for additional reading and resources that might assist teams in the preparation of their arguments.

The compromis certainly highlights a number of forced migration topics which are currently the subject of extensive debate and its “sinking island” scenario may not remain hypothetical for much longer. It is no secret that many island states today are actively exploring different avenues for protecting themselves in the face of rising sea levels. So it will be interesting to see what the participating teams come up with next spring!


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