The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is one of the world’s biggest competitions for law students. Over 600 teams from all over the world take part in it annually. Students compete with each other at a moot UN International Court of Justice in English, preparing documents and oral presentations on international public law in the context of a hypothetical international argument. The theme of this year’s competition was related to the state’s responsibility for damage to the environment caused by a corporation, appropriation of traditional knowledge for profit-making purposes, and protecting endangered animal species.
The HSE University team was represented by Elizaveta Semenova (2nd-year master’s student), Gayane Gulyan (1st-year master’s student), Yana Bagrova (3rd-year undergraduate student), and Timur Murgazulov (3rd-year undergraduate). The team coaches were Emil Shagiakhmetov (2014 graduate of the Faculty of Law), Anastasia Rozeeva (doctoral student), and Vladimir Kostsov (2018 graduate of the Faculty of Law).
During the preliminary rounds, which determine the Top 32 teams, the HSE team competed with teams from Malta, Zambia, South Korea, and Australia (University of Sydney). All the teams demonstrated a high level of knowledge and skills. According to the HSE team, ‘the Australians were understandably better than the others, being representatives of the most recognized and experienced school in the history of Jessup, and one which has won the cup three times in the last decade’. This round was filmed by the organizers (ILSA), and will be available later online, together with videos from previous finals. The HSE team passed through the preliminary rounds without any problems and made it into the Top 32, coming fifth out of 124 in the rankings.
In the last 32, our team met the Argentina team (winners of Jessup Cup in 2016). Unfortunately, HSE team failed to progress any further in the battle for the cup, but another big victory was coming.
At the final gala awards ceremony, it was announced that HSE team’s memorandums had won first place globally (1st Place Best Combined Memorial), and their respondent memorials had won the award for 2nd Place Best Respondent Memorial. This is particularly noteworthy, since it is the first time that a Russian team has scaled these heights in the history of Russian participation in Jessup.
But there was more to come: the team’s speaker, Elizaveta Semenova, made it into the Top-60 of the best speakers.
The participants are very grateful for their ongoing support from the HSE Endowment, HSE Faculty of Law and particularly Vladislav Starzhenetsky and Evgeny Salygin, The Russian Arbitration Centre, and Saveliev, Batanov & Partners Law Firm. In addition, the team would like to express their gratitude to KIAP Law Firm and Feruz Fidaev, DLA Piper, without whom the team’s success at Jessup would have been impossible.
According to the contestants and coaches, the HSE team’s plans for the future are ambitious: ‘Without doubt, we will be trying to maintain and reinforce our leading positions in memorials, and at the same time, we are motivated to progress and improve our general results. To act on this plan, we’ll need more talented and enthusiastic students, who we are looking forward to meeting during the selection process in May and June’.
Text by Maria Bondarenko