One of the two European oral rounds of ”EMC² ELSA Moot Court Competition on WTO Law 2011-2012” was held in Maastricht, the Netherlands between 5th and 9th of March 2012, where the student team of Szeged Law School has competed with success.
The ELSA International organized for the 10th time its English speaking moot court competition, the EMC², which is known as one of the most difficult moot courts, with the aim of driving law students into the global trade law of the World Trade Organization (WTO) by modeling the procedure of its Dispute Settlement System in a fictional case. Only the student teams of the University of Szeged Faculty of Law have participated in the contest from Hungary for many years. It shows the level of difficulty, that only approx. 25 teams can get through the written round and get into the oral round yearly from all over Europe.
The Szeged student team has been prepared by the Department of Private International Law within the framework of the Scientific Student Group on Private International and International Economic Law and was composed of KRIZSÁN Brigitta, KOVÁCS Anna Kaarina, KÁVÁSSY Tamás and KEREKI Ádam, coach: Dr. CSÁSZÁR Mátyás.
The team had been working from October, the time of publication of the case, until January on the written submissions of the two fictional countries in the case (this year Arachland and Zeltonia). The given cases are always dealing with current legal problems, on which the World Trade Organization itself is seeking solutions, currently in the so called Doha round. In this year the main legal problems in the case were: whether free trade areas, established by bilateral international agreements, make violations of the most favored nation principle legitimate; the legal grounds of safeguard measures and countervailing duties and also the appearance and management of environmental aspects in the conventional global trade legislation.
The teams were ranked at the end of the written round according to the cumulative results of their two submissions made on behalf of both countries given in the case, and then assigned to the oral round held in Münster and Maastricht. The Szeged team was very successful in the written round as their submissions were ranked 2nd out of the 12 teams qualified for the oral round in Maastricht.
On the first day of the Maastricht oral round the order of teams and team pairings were raffled. Each team had to argue as complainant (quasi plaintiff) and also as respondent (quasi defendant) against different opponent teams in front of the modeled WTO dispute settlement panel. The panels were composed of well-known and respected WTO lawyers, of whom some are even members of the WTO Appellate Body, such as Peter van de Bossche, Ricardo Ramírez-Hernández or Shotaro Oshima.
4 of the 12 teams passed into the semifinals, which were held on the last day’s morning and the final in the afternoon. The Szeged team got two heavy opponents in the draw, both of them got into the semifinals and one of them won the whole Maastricht round. So the team of Szeged stood strong against its massive opponents, but in the end did not get into the semi-finals.
The competition and its organization had very high quality and the beautiful old city of Maastricht served an ideal place for it. The panel members admitted themselves, that they interrogated the teams very strictly, because of the high level of the competition they sometimes even forgot that the teams were composed of “just” law students. During the competition, taking advantage of the presence of prominent WTO-lawyers, also a conference was held, which gave the students a perfect opportunity for further learning.
All in all, we could take part in an international-class student competition, in which - after the successful written round - we competed quite well among strong teams, mostly composed of students learning international economic law in English-language master-grade classes, sometimes speaking English as mother tongue. In the competition we gained a lot of experience and hopefully in the next years it will be helpful during the preparation, and the teams of Szeged will be as successful in the oral pleadings as we were in the written round.
KOVÁCS Anna Kaarina - KRIZSÁN Brigitta - KÁVÁSSY Tamás - KEREKI Ádám
Homepage of the Competition: www.elsamootcourt.org