The 11th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition will be held at  Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland from 15 to 19 July 2019

About the Competition

The Competition is open to undergraduate and master's degree students from all institutions of tertiary education in the world.

The final round is on 19 July 2019. The Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition is organised by the Centre for Human Rights based at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa, in partnership with the Academy on Human Rights, American University Washington College of Law, and the United Nations Human Rights Council Branch (HRCB) at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition:

Registration and preparation for the competition

1. What is the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition?

The Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition is an international human rights law moot court competition. In 2009 the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Regional Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Southern Africa (ROSA)), organised the inaugural World Human Rights Moot Court Competition. Participation in the Competition is open to students from all universities in the world. The Competition involves a written phase after which teams are selected for the oral phase.

Teams argue a hypothetical case on issues of international human rights law, as if they were before a world Human Rights Court, on the basis of the International Bill of Human Rights and other applicable (such as regional) human rights instruments. The Competition takes place annually around 18 July, which is Nelson Mandela's birthday.

2. How and when should the universities register?

Universities are invited to register once information is made available on the Moot website. Teams can register directly on our website at http://www.chr.up.ac.za/index.php/world-moot-registration.html.

3. What should the composition of the teams be?

Each university should register two students and one Faculty  Representative.

4. How should teams, representing their University Faculty be selected for the Competition?

It is the responsibility of the Faculty to select its students. As organiser of the Competition, the Centre for Human Rights cannot be involved in the selection of students.

5. Where can we find the rules of the Competition?

Universities that register for the Moot Competition should ensure that they read the Rules even if they are regular participants. The Rules can be found on our website at http://www.chr.up.ac.za/index.php/world-moot-documents.html.

6. How and by whom should the memorials be prepared and drafted?

The writing of memorials should be done by the students themselves under the supervision and guidance of the Faculty Representative. Under no circumstances should the Faculty Representative be directly involved in the writing of memorials. Memorials must be submitted strictly according to the guidelines provided in the Rules. Each team must prepare memorials for the Applicant and the Respondent. These memorials must be emailed to eduardo.kapapelo@up.ac.za and copied to ana.khatounian@up.ac.za by the relevant deadline which can be found on the Calendar.

7. How should students prepare their oral presentation?

Both team members must act as oralists during any round. No team may argue for longer than 30 minutes (including rebuttal) during the oral preliminary, quarter-final, semi-final or final rounds. One oralist may not use more than 20 minutes during the preliminary, quarter-final, semi-final or final rounds. Rebuttal may not exceed 5 minutes. Only the Applicant has the opportunity for rebuttal. Faculty Representatives should ensure that both students are prepared to deliver the full argument for the team. In the event that one of the students falls ill or unforeseen circumstances occur, the other participant should be able to argue the case ex parte.

Selection of teams to participate in the competition

1. What happens during the oral rounds?

The top 50 teams will be invited to participate in the pre-final and final rounds. Team memorials will be made available to the judges in advance. However, teams are not bound to their memorials when making oral arguments. Memorials will not be taken into consideration when the teams are scored in these rounds. Lots will be drawn before the pre-final rounds to determine sides.

The eight teams with the highest scores during the preliminary rounds in the English, French and Spanish versions automatically advance to the quarter-final rounds.In sequence, the winning team in each of the four quarter-final rounds advances to the semi-final rounds. The two best teams in the semi-final rounds advance to the final round of the Competition. These two teams may not be from the same UN region.

2. Can the organisers intervene at any stage during the preliminary rounds?

A Steering Committee is established to deal with all matters related to the Competition in interpreting the rules (complaints, procedural and substantive matters). Judges in the final rounds are human rights experts selected by the organisers. They receive a briefing about the Rules and the criteria of assessment which they are trusted to apply in good faith. The judges are independent. The organisers cannot change except for miscalculations. All marks are verified and certified by an independent auditor.

Practical arrangements

1. Travel-related matters

1.1 When do the students need to finalise their travel documents?

It is the responsibility of the universities to ensure the preparation of all travel documents. Universities should make sure that the students they select have a valid passport at least two months before the competition. The organisers will provide the necessary documentation for the visa application. The visa application process should be started as soon as faculties receive the relevant letters.

1.2 Flights and airport transfers

Participants are responsible for booking and funding their own flights to and from the Competition. Participants should provide the organisers with their arrival and departure information. In the event that a team misses its flight, the organisers should be contacted immediately, and the new itinerary should be sent to the organisers as soon as possible.  The organisers are not responsible for any delay, cancellation of flights or the failure of the participants to reconfirm their flights. If this involves financial costs, participants must take full responsibility and contact the airlines directly.  

All information relating to the Programme will be sent to participants a few weeks before the Competition. Participants should read this information carefully and note all the relevant contact details.

2. Funding and Fundraising

Although no registration fees are charged, participants must cover all their own costs (air tickets, accommodation, meals and medical insurance).

As participants have to cover all their costs, they are encouraged to begin fundraising as soon as possible. Donors may include embassies, the UN and EU, bar associations and law firms, corporate donors and their own universities.

3. Should we obtain health insurance?

When travelling abroad, health is one of the most important things travellers should bear in mind. The organisers are not able to take responsibility in case of any health problems. Participants should therefore ensure that they have the relevant medical insurance. Participants who take regular medication should ensure they bring this specific medication.