This Moot Court Competition aims to give the lawyers and judges of tomorrow practical experience when it comes to the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Ainhoa Busto, Justas Pangonis, and Calum Hedigan participated in this year’s Human Rights Moot Court competition, representing IE University (IEU).
This Moot Court Competition aims to give the lawyers and judges of tomorrow practical experience when it comes to the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights. This year’s IEU Bachelor of Law representatives placed 4th in the competition – a remarkable accomplishment considering the 95 university teams participating.
Below, you’ll find Calum Hedigan’s reflexion on his Moot Court experience.
STRASBOURG – This year’s edition of the European Human Rights Moot Court Competition brought 95 university teams from across Europe to the seat of some of the most important European institutions: Strasbourg. The competition was made up of two stages. The first required teams to develop written submissions of the case they were assigned. Of the 95 teams, 20 were chosen to move on to the second round, where teams had to plead their case before a panel of judges. The best performing teams in the second round moved on to quarterfinals, semifinals, and ultimately, the Grand Final.
We were thrilled when one of our coaches, Amaya Ubeda, told us that we were selected to move on to the second round. This was the first time that we were competing, and the first time that IEU had participated in this Moot Court competition. However, that was just the beginning. We had to work very hard during the preparations, since we were very aware of the level of competition that awaited us. Thankfully, throughout the preparation process, our coaches, Amaya and María Díaz, put in a lot of effort to make sure that we were ready to face the challenge.
During our stay in Strasbourg, we had a great time. The Moot Court Competition organizers from the European Law Student Association (ELSA) made sure that all of the teams, even those not competing, would have something entertaining to do. On our first evening, we were invited to the United Kingdom’s embassy, where the Ambassador himself hosted a gathering for all participating teams. We also had the chance to take a tour of the Council of Europe, not to mention the magnificent city of Strasbourg.
However, the main reason everyone was there was to become the best team they could be and to make it to the Grand Final. Our first two pleadings against the Strasbourg and the Pisa team were very difficult, not only because we lacked experience, but also because the judges and the other teams demanded our best performance. In the end, our preparation with Amaya and María paid off as we qualified for the quarterfinals and were recognized as one of the top 5 best teams. Knowing more or less what to expect in the quarterfinal round, we were able to improve our arguments and become a stronger team. After a close battle with the Bulgarian team, we had to admit defeat as the competition ended for our team.
On the last day of the competition we had the pleasure of attending the Grand Final between the Bulgarian and Ukrainian teams. Both teams were superb, but the Ukrainian team came out on top.
Despite the fact that we did not move past the quarterfinals, we tried to stay positive, knowing that we learned a lot about what it is really like to be a human rights lawyer in the European Court of Human Rights. During the development of our case, we got to experience the challenges lawyers face when working on their cases. Our team’s case dealt with national security and human rights, something we see as being closely linked to the challenges we face in today’s society.
It was a true honour to represent IEU at this competition, and even more so to be recognized for our skills and knowledge at such a high level.
Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions with us, and if you would like to know more about the Bachelor of Law at IE University, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
**Written by Calum Hedigan, student of the LL.B. at IE University and European Human Rights Moot Court Competition participant.