Pretoria - The Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world’s biggest and most prestigious of its kind.
It encourages students from different law faculties worldwide to compete against one another.
And this year, the University of Pretoria’s law moot team, consisting of Mamkhabela Mthembu, Liyah Singh, Jade Werner, Comfort Ayelomi and Nyasha Jawa, is headed to the contest after winning the national rounds of the competition.
The team will represent the institution and South Africa at the competition, which started on the weekend and will go on until Saturday in Washington DC.
The team began their preparations in September last year and had to work through Christmas and New Year’s Day, as they had to submit competition memorials by January.
In preparation for the competition, Werner said she organised a lot of external benches composed of alumni from the UP Moot Society.
“The UP Moot Society contributed significantly to our success, and it is an amazing organisational structure.
“Alumni such as Matikomborera Nyamadzi, Dunga Mashilo, and Kyle Cloete significantly impacted the preparation of the competition as they have also participated in previous Jessup competitions,” she said.
The team also consulted with Professor Babatunde Fagbayibo from the Department of Public Law, who consistently provided them with constructive feedback.
“During moot competitions, judges constantly criticise the students’ arguments at different stages, which can affect their mental health. It is, therefore, crucial to have mental health resources to help one stay healthy,” said Fagbayibo.
Asked about how the team had prepared for the international competition to ensure that they would win, they said they went deeper than how they competed in nationals, “because we are competing in an international competition and will be competing against the likes of Harvard and Singapore, and they have a long history of winning international rounds”.
“The judges in the international rounds have more experience in international law, and some of them have written books and theses on the issues that we are going to be arguing about.
“Thus, we have to be thorough in our arguments, accomplished and know our research.
“Yes, we know that we won but now we have to just amplify our standards,” Werner added.