Dual BA Students Compete in World’s Largest Moot Court Competition

A team of Sciences Po students, including four in the Dual BA Program, represented the Le Havre campus in the 2021 Jessup Global Rounds. The team ranked in the Top 168 teams out of 570 competing groups from 90 countries around the world.

May 12, 2021

Aditi Chatradhi, Nacha Rapeerattanakul, Ashley Tan, and Jeremy Zhang, Class of 2023 students in the Dual BA Program Between Columbia University and Sciences Po, recently represented the Sciences Po Le Havre campus in the 2021 Jessup Global Rounds. Jessup, a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations, is the world's largest moot court competition. The Sciences Po team also included students Gaute Øien Tollan, Paola Lupi, Sabariesh Ilankathir, Sachin Jhangiani, and Zion Lee and coach, Mr. Christoper Piranio.

“The preparation process began in September 2020 when the 2021 Jessup Problem was released to all participants. It was an interesting case that mirrored the COVID-19 pandemic, with a deadly, transmittable virus which involved different states and whistleblowers,” said Zhang. 

For several months leading up to the competition, the Sciences Po team met via Zoom to review international treaties and past cases from the ICJ. As they worked to master the case facts and legal principles, all nine students practiced the delivery of their oral arguments, taking turns to test one another on case law and knowledge of the facts of the case during practice sessions and spending many long nights reading and writing legal arguments.

“We looked at law cases ranging from phytosanitary measures of the WTO to extraterritorial jurisdiction. For months on weekends, we would meet sometimes with our coach or sometimes by ourselves to review and practice together,” said Rapeerattanakul.

The 2021 Jessup Global Rounds, which took place between March 9 - April 7, saw the participation of 570 teams from 90 countries. The team from Sciences Po was ranked in the top 168 teams in the competition and was one of the few undergraduate teams competing against law school and graduate students from other parts of the world. 

“Despite the format of the competition this year, the Jessup experience was not diluted by the online platform. After months of preparation, we were faced with world-class law students. The judges for the competition were all highly experienced in the field; they were all professors of international law, lawyers, or both,” said Chatradhi.

The team's competitors included Afghanistan (Balkh University), Australia (University of New South Wales), Bangladesh (BRAC University), Chile (Universidad de Chile), Georgia (Free University of Tbilisi), Germany (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg), Latvia (University of Latvia), Pakistan (Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology), Philippines (De La Salle University), and the United States (St. John's University). 

“For me, the best part of the competition experience was getting to bond over a shared intellectual experience with some of my closest friends, and being able to transfer knowledge gleaned from the classroom to a simulated experience. Many of us on the team have taken classes on public international law or EU law at Sciences Po, so it was quite fulfilling getting to map this knowledge to our arguments in our Memorials. There’s an inexplicable sense of satisfaction when you find yourself connecting the dots from one context to another,” said Tan. 

The Sciences Po team was also the only team from France to advance from the Friendly and Preliminary Rounds to the White & Case Advanced Rounds

“Shortly after the War, my father came by SS France to Le Havre—after serving with Elvis in Germany—to find a Europe exhausted, in ruins, yet with great anticipation of a wiser world. As we now find a world that has forgotten the wages of war, and the importance of liberty, how wonderful it is to see the spirit of competition that's best represented by Jessup. Since beginning coaching ten years ago, I am proud to see how many awards we've won, and how many students we've inspired to legal careers, among young undergraduates with little to no training in law,” said Piranio.