Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition

by Shenoj Kuruvilla

BAC sent a representing team for the first time and they made it to the semi-finals!

Over the past few months, BAC's Mooting Society has been killing it in the Moot Court competition scene, reaching the finals of the Tun Suffian Moot Court Competition, and soon to participate in the AIAC Pre-Moot Competition 2022.

Most recently, from the 25th to 27th February, the Mooting Society sent five talented representatives to participate in the Phillip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition which happens to be the biggest moot court competition in the world.

These five representatives were:
1. Anushka Rao
2. Jayeswary Agilan
3. Chan Kim Xiam
4. Stanley Hoh
5. Koh Shu Huan

Of the five of them, Anushka and Jayeswary have completed their degree, Kim Xiam is currently doing his CLP, while Stanley and Shu Huan are second year UOL students. Despite being in the middle of their studies and working part time, these five students dedicated three months of their time and energy into this competition.

According to Anushka, the competition was rife with difficulties, even before they started. First, the team was not able to get a moot coach for the competition. Then, the subject of the competition was revealed as Public International Law, which is not a subject that the team was familiar with. On top of that, the team's payment did not go through until the last possible day, so they were not even sure if they could compete.

When the competition finally started, it was a new experience to the team. Though Anushka, Jayeswary and Kim Xiam have competed in mooting competitions before, the Jessup Tournament was conducted in the manner of litigation mooting, as opposed to the arbitration mooting that the team was used to. Jayeswary explained that the culture of the competition was also something foreign to them as everything was kept very private and confidential. They were not even allowed to reveal their university to ensure fairness.

With all the difficulties they had faced before the competition date, the team had a pessimistic viewpoint even before the start of their presentation, not expecting to make it past the preliminary round. This was further exacerbated by the fact that they faced a technical issue during the competition as well. During Shu Huan's presentation, her laptop switched off, so she had to immediately run over to the bench counsel and present from there. Anushka recalled that she saw Shu Huan's hands shaking, but without being in the room, it was not visible how nervous she was.

With the attitude the team had towards making it past the preliminaries, it was a complete shock for them when they were announced as the final team who made it to the semifinals. Unfortunately, this meant they would have to go up against the team with the top marks in the preliminaries. Despite putting up a good fight, they eventually lost to that team.

When asked how they felt about making it that far in such a huge competition, Anushka and Jayeswary felt that it was bittersweet. They were extremely proud of their team for doing all that they did despite the circumstances, but they couldn't help but wonder what could have been if they had a coach who knew about the Jessup competition and Public International Law.

Despite that feeling, they only had good things to say about their team, praising each one's abilities and contributions. They were especially proud of Stanley and Shu Huan as they were both inexperienced in moot court competitions, but showed great fortitude in the face of adversity.

Though Anushka and Jayeswary have finished their degree, they were hesitant to say that this would be their last moot, seeing as they have said it over and over, yet still agree to join another. So stay tuned, as you may see them compete yet again! For other moot court competitions that BAC Mooting Society has entered, you can look forward to the AIAC Mooting Competition and Taylor's Intervarsity Mooting Competition.