After an illustrious opening ceremony, the first two sessions of the preliminary rounds of the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition started at the University of Ghana’s School of Law on 7 August 2018. The preliminary rounds involve all participating teams arguing the hypothetical case four times: twice for the Applicants, and twice as Respondent (the State).
The rounds are held separately in English, French and Portuguese, and panels of judges made up of law lecturers (faculty representatives) from participating faculties, and experts, award scores based on the following criteria:
- Knowledge of facts
- Articulation and correct analysis of issues
- Familiarity with international law, with preference for African authorities
- Ability to respond to questions
The last two sessions of the preliminary rounds take place on Wednesday 8 August.
The results of the preliminary will be announced at Miklin Hotel East Legon, where in accordance with the rules of the Competition, six teams will be announced to proceed to the Final Round: 4 English-speaking, 1 French-speaking and 1 Portuguese-speaking.
In the past, there was a rule that no two teams from the same country could proceed be to in the Final Round. This year the rules have been amended, allowing the best teams – irrespective of country of origin - to proceed to the Final. By the draw of lots, these six teams will be reconstituted for the Final Round into two new combined teams with 2 English-arguing and 1 French-arguing combined team, on the one side, and the a team consisting of 2 English-arguing and 1 Portuguese-arguing team, on the other side.
By a further draw of lots, each new combined team will be assigned a side of the case to argue this will in turn provide an important lesson of learning to bridge the artificial colonial divide of language and legal tradition is imparted. Teams will be challenged to work together to prepare new, combined arguments for the final round.