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Universities : WMU 2020 Moot Court via Distance


Aref Fakhry

The ninth annual Moot Court competition took place on 3 April for MSc students in the Maritime Law and Policy (MLP) specialization. The difference with this year’s competition is that it took place remotely, via video conferencing, due to the physical distancing measures in place because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The case revolved around the international law of the sea, specifically underwater cultural heritage, women’s rights and States’ rights in the exploration and exploitation of natural resources in a disputed seabed zone. The students took on a case and argued it in front of a panel of judges or arbitrators made up of fellow students. Two teams of Applicants’ Agents, Respondents’ Agents, and Arbitrators mooted the case in parallel, yielding slightly differing awards due to the dynamics of the arguments and the personas of the students in each team.

Roughly half of the MLP students are lawyers, so the activity promoted oratorical and legal argument skills amongst future maritime law and policy practitioners from across a variety of disciplines. The Moot Court is organized by Associate Professor María Carolina Romero Lares and Associate Professor Aref Fakhry assisted in the delivery of the activity.

“The students assumed their assigned roles admirably, as evidenced by the quality and cogency of the written memorials, the oral arguments and the ruling. One student commented that she would take the Moot Court experience back to her country for incorporation in her university’s curriculum,” said Dr. Romero.

To prepare for the competition, the students benefited from recorded lectures, group chats and coaching sessions regarding the requirements of formal legal argument and the conduct of contentious proceedings. In addition, students received a series of lectures on the law of the sea.

Despite the current pandemic, WMU is committed to fulfilling its education, research and capacity building mission, ensuring the best possible conditions for the Class of 2020. To learn more about how WMU is meeting the challenge of the current circumstance

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