Learning to resolve international disputes

Students from the Auckland Law School have been in the Czech Republic this month, participating in the European Friendly Moot Competition, connected to the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

L-R: Don Lye, Josie Butcher, and Diana Qiu

The three members of this year's New Zealand Jessup team (Josie Butcher, Don Lye, and Diana Qiu) were supported in Prague by their coaches Katy Eichelbaum and Thomas Richards.

This competition gives law students an opportunity to test their skills in international law by competing against one another in oral and written pleadings on a hypothetical legal dispute between nations. A core part of legal training, mooting teaches budding lawyers how to resolve disputes through formal oral and written pleadings.

For small countries that don't have enough students to host a National Jessup competition round, like New Zealand, the European Friendly provided an invaluable opportunity for teams to hone their mooting skills.

Held this year at Charles Sturt University, each team competing in the European ‘friendly’ participated in four oral rounds, twice as applicant and twice as respondent, before a semi-final round between the top four teams, culminating in an advanced final round between the remaining two teams.

The preliminary competition in Prague, generously funded by global business law firm DLA Piper, was an enormous success for our University of Auckland team. All three members competing from Auckland Law School placed in the “top ten” oralist awards. In her very first international mooting competition, Josie Butcher placed seventh. Don Lye placed second, and Diana Qui took first place as best oralist.

All three members competing from Auckland Law School placed in the “top ten” oralist awards. In her very first international mooting competition, Josie Butcher placed seventh. Don Lye placed second, and Diana Qui took first place as best oralist.

"The Friendly is a hugely challenging competition, and set our team against the defending World Champions. Not only did they beat that team in the preliminary rounds, they also made friends with them. In fact, they have made a reputation for New Zealand as not just high performing but also a likeable and friendly team. We are incredibly proud of their achievements,” says coach Tom Richards.

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