NUS Law Students Beat Top Schools in Europe at Inaugural International Moot Competition

From left to right: NUS Law students Jeremiah Lau, Lisa Tan, Benjamin Wong and law professor Associate Professor Burton Ong

Singapore, 23 June 2015 – A National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (NUS Law) team has won the inaugural Herbert Smith Freehills Competition Law Moot 2015. The competition was held at King’s College London from 12 to 14 June 2015.

Final-year law students Jeremiah Lau, Benjamin Wong and Lisa Tan beat teams from University of Helsinki, Maastricht University, University of Leeds, as well as the competition’s host university King's College London, to reach the finals where they triumphed over the team from University of Amsterdam to clinch the champion title. The team also impressed the international panel of judges, recording the highest score among all 12 teams at the end of the preliminary rounds. Lisa Tan also won the Best Oralist prize, achieving a perfect score of 50 out of 50, while Jeremiah Lau and Benjamin Wong followed closely as joint runners-up.

Over two days, the NUS Law team fought through jet lag and fatigue to demonstrate the depth of their mastery of the legal subject matter against multiple panels of judges. They were put through two preliminary rounds, one quarter-final, one semi-final, culminating in a gruelling hour-long session in the Finals before a distinguished panel of seven judges that included senior competition law enforcement officials from both sides of the Atlantic. In the crucial final round, they successfully argued why businesses would be unfairly penalised if the court did not accept the Defendant’s submissions.

NUS Law Associate Professor Burton Ong, who coached the trio, was immensely proud of their achievements. He said, “Given that the moot problem was based on European Competition Law, many would not have expected an Asian team to outperform the ‘native’ teams. I am not surprised at all by the team’s achievement - Jeremiah, Benjamin and Lisa are among the best students I have encountered in my years as a law tutor, and it was very satisfying to see them demonstrate what I already knew they were capable of to an international audience.”

In the lead up to the competition, the team had put in a lot of hard work and research to prepare for the written submissions for the competition, despite having to study for their final examinations. After their final examinations, they were immersed in intensive preparation for the oral rounds of the competition over two weeks, including practice rounds with competition lawyers from Drew & Napier, Baker & McKenzie, Rajah & Tann and the Competition Commission of Singapore, which is also a corporate sponsor of the team.

The students were delighted with their win in the inaugural competition. Lisa shared her experience, “This competition was a particularly gruelling one, especially since we were still jet-lagged and fatigued during the competition. We also had to rush from the semi-finals to the finals in less than an hour! On top of this, we were up against our European opponents, who were eloquent and charismatic graduate students with much greater exposure to EU competition law. However, we were not put off by the challenges, and were determined to do our best.”

“The Finals lasted twice as long as the previous two rounds, with a panel of judges including European Commission officials, CMA officials, and academics. The questions came fast and furious, but our team managed to keep our unified stance. Thanks to Associate Professor Eleanor Wong, Associate Professor Lim Lei Theng and Lecturer Ms Elaine Chew for sharing their oral advocacy skills, the competition lawyers who provided invaluable feedback in our practice rounds, and Associate Professor Burton Ong for facilitating and organising this journey with us,” Lisa added.

Lisa Tan joins a list of best oralists and speakers from NUS Law. Others who received similar awards this year include Jeremiah Lau for the D.M Harish Moot Competition, and Kelvin Chong who was the first Singaporean to receive the Martin Domke Award at the 22nd Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.