Global Win For Law Students

From left: Law undergraduates Peide, Zulhafni and Kelvin scored wins at the recent Jean-Pictet Competition and Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot

 A group of promising young law students won big at international moot competitions recently.

The 27th annual Jean-Pictet Competition saw the NUS team, comprising Year 3 students Huang Peide and Lee Ji En and Year 4 student Zulhafni Zulkeflee, emerge as overall champion.

The Jean-Pictet Competition, named after the former Vice President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, is the most prestigious international humanitarian law moot court competition. It aims to take "law out of the books" through simulations and role-play within fictitious but realistic scenarios of armed conflict. Adopting various roles from combatants to aid workers, students are trained to look at the same situation from different perspectives and assessed by leading practitioners and scholars in the field.

This competition differs from other moots in that the challenge topics are only revealed hours, sometimes minutes, before the final competition, leaving little preparation time. They competed in gruelling preliminary rounds, progressing to the finals held on 3 April in Virginia, US, which culminated in a victory for the NUS team.

“The competition focuses a lot on collaboration. At any point of time it’s usually a very supportive environment,” said Zulhafni, whose childhood dream was to be a criminal lawyer. Highlighting a close friendship formed with the African team, he added: “They were really excited when we won, even more excited than we were!”

In another moot competition—the 22nd Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot held in Vienna from 27 March to 3 April—Year 3 student Kelvin Chong took home the Martin Domke Award for Best Oralist. Kelvin is the first Singaporean and member of an Asian team to achieve this honour.

The Award, named after Martin Domke, a well-known scholar of international arbitration, aims to foster the study of international commercial law and arbitration for resolution of international business disputes.

The competition required Kelvin to write and file a memorandum from both the claimant and respondent on a case study dispute requiring arbitration before proceeding to the oral rounds in Vienna. He ranked highest across four preliminary rounds, leading to his win.

A dedicated member of the NUS Debate Team since 2008, Kelvin said that his debating experience may have contributed to his win. He has previously won the Asian British Parliamentary Debating Championship in 2012 and 2013.

Reproduced with permission from NUS News (