Griffith law students win award at Jessup moot competition

Griffith Law School's 2019 Jessup team (L-R): Adam Smith, Jacinda Gray, Lily Goddard and William Hall

Griffith law students recieved the Best Applicant Memorial Award at the national rounds of the Philip C Jessup International Law moot court competition held in Canberra this month.

Jessup is the world’s largest moot court competition attracting law schools from over 100 different countries. The competition models a how a trial between countries at the International Court of Justice would operate.

Final year law students Lily Goddard, Jacinda Gray, William Hall and Adam Smith competed against teams from around Australia based on a hypothetical case about the ‘appropriation of traditional knowledge for commercial purposes’.

Griffith Law School’s Dr Samuli Haatja, one of the team’s coaches, says the award is an excellent achievement that recognises their hard work.

“They dedicated much of their summer to preparation and in January we were practicing about four times a week with a range of guest judges with expertise in human rights, intellectual property and international law,” he said.

While a relative newcomer to Jessup, Griffith students have made a remarkable impact says Griffith Law School’s Professor Pene Mathew.

“We have only competed in this competition three times. We’ve won best new team twice, best and fairest once and we even made the quarter finals two years ago,” said Pene, who also coached the team.

Griffith’s Jessup team performed well in a very competitive field, winning two out of four of their moots.

Rewarding student experience

For law student Lily Goddard the Jessup experience drew the team closer and they supported each other when the preparation got challenging.

“My highlight was my team and how quickly we adapted to tricky situations. There was a lot of reading and late nights. The research component for Jessup is never ending, we likened it to going down the rabbit hole,” she said.

But Lily says it was a ‘blessing in disguise’ because the work the team had put in, meant they weren’t surprised by the written memorials of other teams.

“I whole heartedly believe that the only reason we were able to do that was because of the support we gave one another and the support we received from our coaches and mentors,” she said.

Lily describes the award as a ‘shock’ and it has taken a few days since the competition for the news to truly sink in.

“I remember calling my mum after the oral moots but before we found out about the award, and telling her: I feel exhausted, a strange mixture of sadness and relief, but above all else I feel so proud.”

“So to find out we had won best applicant memorial was an added bonus, I think the best way to describe the feeling is elated,” she said.