NAMED AFTER FLEXIBLE TRADE CHAMPION

History of John H Jackson Moot Court

The late Prof John Howard Jackson was regarded as one of the chief architects of the World Trade Organisation

In Summary

• The John H Jackson Moot Court Competition was established in 2002 and involves over 35 countries.

• The competition is divided into three categories: Written submission, regional rounds and the final oral round.

John H Jackson
John H Jackson
Image: COURTESY

The name John H Jackson would ring bells to any career trade lawyer. The late Prof John Howard Jackson was regarded as one of the chief architects of the World Trade Organisation.

He is widely referred to as the father and champion of flexible trade policies around the globe. His book 'World Trade and the Law of GATT' is considered the Bible for trade law and policy.

It is for this reason that a competition with the aim of promoting flexible trade policies through international trade law was named after him. The John H Jackson Moot Court Competition was established in 2002 and involves over 35 countries.

It is a rigorous competition very much similar to court proceedings, where participants present a fictional case and argue it out before a panel that would be similar to a bench of judges in a court of law.

The competition is organised annually by the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) with support from the World Trade Organisation. It builds awareness of the WTO dispute settlement system and provides students around the world with legal knowledge and skill, while building global legal capacity.

This competition further opens doors to a future career in trade law. Its sponsors are some of the world’s top law firms.

 

Over the one and a half decade of existence, the competition has been dominated by European and American universities in the final rounds, with 10 of the previous winners hailing from Europe, four from the American region and two from the Asian region.

Teams participating in the competition consist of 2 to 4 law students, who are enrolled at a university or law faculty accredited under national law to grant a degree that permits its graduates to enter any legal profession.

Every team is allowed to register up to 2 coaches with only one team per university allowed.

The Panel consists of world trade law experts who listen to the competitors arguments.

The competition is divided into three categories: Written submission, regional rounds and the final oral round.

DOMINANT UNIVERSITIES

 
Over the one and a half decade of existence, the competition has been dominated by European and American universities in the final rounds, with 10 of the previous winners hailing from Europe, four from the American region and two from the Asian region.

HOW IT WORKS

Interested students from all over the world send their written memorandum based on a fictitious case for the complainant and respondent written by a WTO professional.

Registered teams have to send one Written Submission for the Complainant and one Written Submission for the Respondent (two separate Written Submissions in total).

Each Submission shall not exceed 30 pages, not including the cover page.

Regardless the fact, whether a team is preparing to compete in the International Written Round or they are sending their Written Submissions for scoring before the Regional Round, it is of crucial importance to bear in mind the role of the Written Submissions in the whole competition.

In the preliminary rounds, the teams will be ranked according to the total score of their oral pleadings (70 per cent) and on the evaluations of their Written Submissions (30 per cent).

Afterwards, all the teams will have the opportunity to present their oral submissions both for the Complainant and the Respondent in front of a Panel at the Regional Round. The Panel consists of WTO professionals and trade law experts.

The John H Jackson Moot Court Competition is made up of two European Regional Rounds, a Regional Round for Asia-Pacific, an All American Regional Round and one Regional Round for Africa.

The Regional Rounds shall have at least three stages: Preliminary Rounds, Semi-Finals and the Grand Final.

This is the furthest any African team had ever reached in the competition before the 2018-19 competition. The best 20 teams from all over the world are qualified to participate in the Final Oral Round that takes place at the WTO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The competition is growing every single year. ELSA and John H Jackson Moot Court Competition supporters are working continuously on its further expansion.

The competition has strong, long term financial contributors and a lot of academic support from the World Trade Organisation itself.