Where did the idea came from?
During one of our common law classes at the Faculty our teachers from Luxembourg University told us they had students that reached the final of a moot court competition: the European law moot court. Since then I thought “how nice it would be to participate in such a competition”.
This explains why, while seeking informations on the universities for my LLM I pay particular attention on whether the universities I wanted to join were encouraging their student to participate to the European Law Moot Court. This was the case at the Leiden University.
Can you briefly describe the competition?
The European Law Moot Court competition is the most prestigious moot court in the field of European Law. Each year, students from around 100 law schools worldwide participate in solving a fictional case about EU law in a written and oral phase of the competition. Both written and oral submissions in this moot court are presented in English and French. The 2012/2013 case focused on how to best solve conflicts of EU and national law in the area of competition law.
The competition consists of three phases:
First, a written phase, in which all teams shall prepare written pleadings for both, the applicant and the defendant, based upon a hypothetical European law problem.
The second phase is an oral one called the Regional Finals phase. There are four Regional finals. During this phase the 12 teams of each regional finals, who are selected on the basis of their written pleadings shall defend their argumentation before a regional final Court, pleading for both, the applicant and the defendant, and as either an Advocate General or as a Commission Representative.
Finally, the Competition is concluded with the “All European Final” in Luxembourg, at which the winning teams of each 4 regional final and the winning Advocate Generals and Commission Representatives of the regional rounds will meet and compete.
Did you experienced any difficulties and if so how did you stay motivated?
Yes, we experienced difficulties especially during the written phase. During this phase we had to determine our strategy and define what we though best to argue. The hard work was actually to find arguments because the case to solve is usually an unanswered question of EU law. There were on certain points few elements so sometimes it was like pulling a rabbit out of a hat!
Discussion with my team was the key to stay motivated. Also, once you have spent couple hours on a subject trying to find a solution for your “client”, you start to forgot it is a fictitious case and thus you really want to solve the case!
Is there a magic recipe to get to victory?
If I had to give at least our magic recipe, it was teamwork. Our team, which we (Liesbeth Fierens, Henry Nelen, Jared Martin and I) named ‘Lex Appeal’ was what leads us to the victory. It was essential to have both friends and co-workers.
Our coaches, Dr Moritz Jesse and Clio Zois so as the Leiden university helped as well by giving us tips and confidence we needed to nailed it.
Would you like to do it again?
While preparing for the moot we wanted it to be over as soon as possible since it was a kind of “Eat, pray and love ELMC”. Still, looking back to it, it was an incredible experience. My pleadings at the ECJ in front of the judges of the court will be etched in my mind for a long time. The feelings you have after the pleadings is just indescribably joyful. It also gave me more confidence and I learnt a lot during this time. But above all it was a rich experience with the people I met: the coaches and for sure the team !