University of Pretoria to represent South Africa at international moot court competition

March 1st, 2012

By Mapula Sedutla

Law students from the University of Pretoria (UP) have won the right to represent South Africa at the international rounds of the 2012 Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, which takes place in Washington DC in the United States in March. The winners of the South African round of the competition, which took place at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University), were Khomotso Moshikaro and Petronell Kruger. The team’s adviser was LLM student Louis Botha.

Students from Wits University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town also took part in the competition. UP faced NMMU in the finals. Mr Moshikaro and Ms Kruger also earned first and second place respectively in the best oralist section.

The judging panel for the final round of the competition included Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron, South Gauteng High Court Judge Kathy Satchwell and advocate Gilbert Marcus. Mr Moshikaro told De Rebus: ‘It was rather intimidating to present a case in front of such accomplished judges, as there were some international law experts in the preliminary round.’ He added that the team was ‘nervous but also very excited’ about arguing in the Constitutional Court in the final. ‘After the final round, the judges commended the UP and NMMU teams on their performance during the final round. Advocate Marcus complimented us on good performance during the final round, and on the excellent way we answered the questions from the Bench. Judge Satchwell, who was the President in the final round, complimented us on our excellent understanding of the law and the facts. Justice Cameron echoed the views of advocate Marcus and was very impressed with the manner in which we engaged with the Bench. The judges also remarked that they were very happy about the calibre of the team that will be representing South Africa at the international rounds.’

The team was elated at winning the competition and had a feeling of accomplishment after the hard work they had put in. The duo added that they would encourage other law students to enter the competition because their research and oral advocacy skills had improved significantly. ‘Jessup also gave us the opportunity to meet other law students from different backgrounds and universities and to engage with international law at a very high level,’ said Ms Kruger.

Mr Moshikaro, who is in his final year of studies, said he was considering pursuing a masters degree at a foreign university with international law and international trade as his majors. Ms Kruger, who is in her third year of study, said she was still uncertain as to what field of law she was most interested in, however she expressed an interest in practising in the telecommunications law field.

The Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from over 500 law schools in 86 countries. This year’s case involved recent legal issues, such as the international standing of a state immediately following a coup d’état, international responsibility for the use of force by a state while taking part in a regional military operation and the destruction of a cultural site.

Mapula Sedutla,

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2012 (March) DR 7.

De Rebus