NUS Team Sweeps All Prizes at 2016 Jessup National Round

(L-R): Mehaerun Simaa ’16, Victor Leong ’16, Chin Jincheng ’13, Associate Professor Lim Lei Theng ’92, Joshua Hiew ’17, Hairul Hakkim ’16, Victor Yao ’17, Alvin Yap ’12.

NUS Law has emerged champions of the Singapore National Round of the 2016 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. The NUS Jessup moot team comprising Hairul Hakkim ’16, Mehaerun Simaa ’16, Victor Leong ’16, Joshua Hiew ’17 and Victor Yao ’17 decisively defeated the SMU team, making a clean sweep of all prizes at the National Round: in addition to winning the overall Round, the team also won the prize for Best Memorials, and Joshua was named Best Oralist. The team will now go on to represent Singapore at the International Rounds of the Jessup competition, to be held in Washington, D.C. in late March.

This victory represents the culmination of months of arduous hard work and rigorous training by the team and their dedicated coaches, NUS Jessup alumni Associate Professor Lim Lei Theng ’92, Alvin Yap ’12 and Chin Jincheng ’13.

In the short amount of time from the release of the Jessup Compromis in September 2015, the team had to master the wide range of cutting-edge international law topics canvassed in this year’s problem. These included issues of admissibility of evidence before the International Court of Justice, human rights law on terrorist detentions, the developing international law norms on cyber attacks, and the legality of mass surveillance. In addition to submitting written memorials on both Applicant and Respondent sides of the issue, the team then had to moot both sides at the National Round, held in the Singapore Court of Appeal. There, they appeared before a bench of esteemed international law experts from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, comprising Solicitor-General Lionel Yee, Director-General of the International Affairs Division Pang Khang Chau, and Deputy-Director General of the International Affairs Division Daphne Hong.

Best Oralist Joshua Hiew, describing the team’s journey to the National Round, said: “The National Round was a thrilling experience. The judges were very inquisitive, and we had to be on our toes throughout. Thankfully, our team spirit played a big part in helping us mentally prepare for that morning. We had spent hundreds of hours together talking each other through a variety of possible questions, and that allowed us to foresee most of the judges’ concerns – there were still curveballs, but that’s part of the joy of mooting. We were also blessed to have support from our dedicated coaches, and from throughout the NUS family, including the Deanery, the Faculty, and the librarians of CJ Koh Law Library. In particular, NUS moot alumni selflessly agreed to numerous practice rounds and consultation sessions in the build-up to the Round, and their feedback was invaluable in helping us improve our arguments from week to week. We were also very heartened by the strong show of support from the NUS audience at the National Round itself.”

Professor Simon Chesterman, Dean of NUS Law, said, “NUS Law has a rich tradition of mooting, including an amazing record at the Jessup that dates back to our famous team from the Class of 1982. The Singapore national round for the Jessup offers teams the chance to hone their arguments and present them in the Court of Appeal. In recent years, SMU has performed extremely well in mooting and gave us a real run for our money on this occasion also.

“My colleagues and I are tremendously proud of Hairul, Joshua, Simaa, and the two Victors, and we know how much time and effort they have already devoted to this project. As they head to Washington, D.C., we are confident that they will represent NUS Law with honour.”

The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world’s largest and most prestigious moot court competition. More than 600 teams compete in various national and regional rounds worldwide, before the winners of those rounds face off at the International Rounds in Washington DC. NUS Law has won the competition a record four times.

We wish the NUS Jessup team the very best as they fly the Singapore flag high at the International Rounds.