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TuksLaw’s moot competition team will represent South Africa in the White & Case international rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The team triumphed over that of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in the South African leg on 25 February. They will travel to Washington DC in the United States of America on 7 April and return home on 16 April. The competition will be held at Hyatt Regency, a hotel on Capitol Park – a historically political neighbourhood.
The International Law Students Association (ILSA), a non-profit association of students and lawyers who promote international law, describes the competition as an “an advocacy competition for law students” on their website. The competition, which is also the biggest moot competition globally, was named after the late Philip C. Jessup, who once served the United States as a representative to the International Court of Justice.
There are two students who will represent the TuksLaw team: Mary-Ann Gettliffe, an LLM student, and Ashley Makgatho, a second-year LLB student. They will argue a case on international environmental law, state responsibility and international cultural property.
Under the guidance of their coach, Gift Kgomosotho, an LLM student and researcher at the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA), the team scooped three awards at the local leg held at White & Case, a law firm based in Johannesburg. These were best memorials, best overall team and best oralist, which was awarded to Gettliffe.
“We take advantage of transfer of skills,” Kgomosotho explained, attributing this as one of the main contributors to TuksLaw’s moot team’s reoccurring national success. Kgomosotho was a member of the 2014 TuksLaw’s moot team which represented South Africa in that year. “A high level of intellect and reasoning is crucial [for a moot team]”, Kgomosotho stressed, adding that being committed to the whole process, being open to learn and to be taught as key attributes of a successful moot competition team.
Kgomosotho also said that the team utilised guest judges to hone the team in practice rounds. In an article written for UP’s website, the Faculty of Law credits its professors, Prof. Dire Tladi, Prof. Frans Viljoen, Prof. Christof Heyns and Prof. Stuart Maslen from ILSA as the judges in the internal practice rounds before their victory in the local rounds.
“I expect a much more complicated process in the international rounds,” Makgatho said on his expectations. He added that there will be a higher level of subject matter, considering that it will be on an international scale. Gettliffe complemented his statements by saying they will be participating on a more competitive scale with possibly more experienced moot teams.
Kgomosotho expressed his gratitude to the various sponsors who are funding the team’s travel expenses and to the team members’ parents who paid for the travel visas. Among the sponsors, he credits White & Case, Prof. Christof Heyns and various departmental heads.
The moot competition team expressed their gratitude to their coach, Kgomosotho, whom they said has poured out his time in training them. Furthermore, they expressed their gratitude to the Law Faculty and UP as a whole for their continued support of their endeavours.