Three days of intense debate between the law graduates from around the world saw National University of Singapore winning the global round in the 10th Leiden-Sarin International Air Law Moot Court Competition held in Mohali in Punjab, India yesterday.
The nail-biting finale saw Singaporean law students push their rivals from Leiden University of the Netherlands to the second position. In all, 18 teams from 11 countries, including Canada, China, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong and India, participated in the event held at the Army Institute of Law at Mohali.
A mock court before which law students argue imaginary cases for practice and prove their worth, the moot has become a regular part of training for lawyers worldwide.
Following the formula of the Model United Nations, the activity creates a legal conundrum between fictitious entities or mock legal cases. In this particular dispute between Republic of Akira and the Government of Mayur, Singapore won in a Mohali ‘court’, local newspaper The Tribune reported. The conflict between the two fictitious countries was over the use of Akira’s airspace and the country’s request to Mayur for the extradition of two of her nationals running a troll factory and manufacturing drones.
Besides winning the trophy, the Singapore team also received a letter of offer for an internship in the UN body International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), from its Director Jiefang Huang.
Bombarded with queries on the Vienna and the Beijing conventions and a plethora of other treaties and international laws, V Santosh, Liew Zhi Hao, and Carina Tay of Singapore convinced the judges with their spontaneity and legal knowledge.
The arguments before the ersatz ‘International Court of Justice were appreciated by its president, Justice Mahesh Grover of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The other judges were Huang of ICAO and Prof Dr Regula Dettling-Ott, University of Bern, Switzerland.
The all-encompassing event organised by the Sarin Memorial Legal Aid Foundation and the Leiden University at the Army institute was appreciated by the participants, 50-member international jury from 40 countries, and the audience. The dinner parties hosted for the visitors saw even the judges swaying to the reverberating beats of Punjabi music, performing bhangra and gidda.
Prof Pablo Mendes De Leon, Director, International Institute of Air and Space Law of Leiden University, commended the organisers. Former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and President of the Sarin Memorial Legal Aid Foundation, Justice SS Sodhi, Secretary-General of the Foundation, ML Sarin, and moot coordinator Nitin Sarin congratulated the winners and the participating teams. The next year’s competition will be held in Shanghai, Sarin said.
Moot courts have become bigger events with larger prizes and reputations at stake recently.
Last week, the NLIU Bhopal team had become the first team from India to win the Ian Fletcher International Insolvency Law Moot Court Competition held at Singapore from March 29 to 31. The competition is regarded as the most prestigious global competition in insolvency law. The winning team comprised Aishwarya Srivastava, Udyan Arya, Christina Shaju and Kuhoo Mishra.
The NLIU Bhopal team defeated teams from National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University (SMU), Leiden University of Netherlands, University of British Columbia from Canada and Queensland University of Technology of Australia among others.
Eminent international judges: Judge of Appeal, Singapore, Justice Steven Chong; Southern District of New York, USA, Chief Justice Cecilia Morris and Supreme Court, India Retd Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri were on the adjudication panel.