IEU Students at the 5th Europa Moot Court Competition

@Natalia Soto Kure

“The fundamental rights of data protection and the right to freedom of expression and information is a fast-changing area of law and provided us with some incredible insights that most students don’t have the opportunity to discover.” – Calum

The Europa Moot Court Competition is an annual event organized by the MOHA Research Center which aims to bring together academics, law students, and legal practitioners from EU institutions. The objective of the competition is to promote the study of EU law and to enhance the participants’ oral skills.

This year, the 5th edition took place in Kavala, Greece. Four IE University students participated in the competition and told us about their experience:

“IE University has been traveling to Greece for the past four years to participate in the Europa Moot Court Competition. This is a very prestigious event in which 8 teams from top universities across Europe and the Middle East compete, and IE has been invited year after year to take part.

In previous years, IE has always faced incredibly tough competition and stopped short of the semi-finals, but this year we were more prepared than ever. With our coach and professor Charlotte leading the way and pushing us with weekly sessions involving plenty of research and practice moots, we were ready to go.

There were four of us IE students participating this year: Angela Selzer (third-year Law/BIR), Adriana Rodriguez (third-year Law/BIR), Emilija Berzanskaite (fourth-year BBA/Law) and Calum Hedigan (fourth-year Law). This year, the case to be argued was about the new groundbreaking General Data Protection Regulation; the tools it included following the Google Spain decision which created the controversial “right to be forgotten”; whether or not it applies to 3rd State nationals extraterritorially; and the balance to be found between the fundamental rights of data protection and the right to freedom of expression and information. This is a fast-changing area of law and provided us with some incredible insights that most students don’t have the opportunity to discover.

Going into the preliminary rounds, we faced Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) from Qatar and Paris Dauphine from France. They were both tough opponents with fantastic advocacy skills all round, however at the end of four practice moots, IE University came out on top of the group and passed through to the semi-finals for the first time in the university’s history. Any result now would be a new university record.

Since we were top of the group, we were able to choose which side to represent, and decided that Angela and Adriana would best fight for us as the Claimants. Going up against Thessaloniki University from Greece, it was a very close semi-final, but we managed to gain the favor of the judges and proceeded on to the Grand Final, which would be held at the Forum Romani, Ancient Greek ruins declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the Grand Final, we went up against Nova University from Lisbon, Portugal, who have won the competition three times out of five, and came third last year. Not only was this to be a tough final, but we were to plead in front of a highly prestigious panel: the former President of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the First Advocate General of the Court, two referendaries of the Court, and a data protection expert. Both sides argued very well and proved to be excellent advocates, but the Portuguese came out on top for the fourth time in five years.

It was an incredible experience that none of the team will forget, securing the best performance for IE University in our school’s history. And we can’t forget that Emilijia Berzanskaite won the award for second best oralist in the competition. A fantastic improvement on previous years, while still leaving a higher goal to aim for in the years to come.”

Written by: Calum Hedigan