Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court

logo Inter-American Human Rights Moot CourtIntroduction

The Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition is an annual competition for law students. Written on a cutting-edge human rights topic currently debated, the hypothetical case operates as the basis of the competition. Students argue the admissibility and merits of this case by writing a legal memorial and preparing oral arguments for presentation in front of leading human rights experts acting as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, i.e. the counter-part of the European Court of Human Rights on the American continent, thereby making use of all available sources of inter-national (human rights) law.


The Hypothetical Case is the starting point for the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition. Written by experts in international human rights law, the Hypothetical Case contains the facts of the dispute before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), the judicial organ supervising the compliance by states with the rights and freedoms under the American Convention on Human Rights, comprising more or less the same rights and freedoms of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Hypothetical Case reflects a present-day legal issue currently being debated in the region and more globally. The 2021 Hypothetical Case focuses on the topic of “Human Rights and Climate Change: Impacts, Responsibilites, and Opportunites”.


The Competition offers students a unique opportunity to learn about the Inter-American Human Rights System and the interesting case law of the Inter-American Court. Since Inter-American case law is, amongst others, also informed by the opinions of other universal and regional human rights adjudicators, the UGent team has the great advantage of already being well-acquainted with the vast jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. This intercontinental approach has seen UGent teams perform excellently in years past.


Teammates work together to perform research and write a legal brief - called the Memorial – either for the “Petitioners” or the “Respondent State”, and argue orally, usually two to three times, during the Preliminary Oral Rounds held in Washington DC, against competing teams before a panel of judges, simulating proceedings before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The Competition does not comprise national rounds. Consequently, the UGent team immediately proceeds to the international rounds, which take place in Washington DC.


The Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition is the world’s oldest and largest human rights competition. While participating in the Inter-American Moot Court Competition implies a significant workload, the amount of work invested depends essentially upon the student(s) concerned.


A Moot Court course goes beyond the traditional classroom setting, as it is the course ‘par excellence’ providing a student with the necessary written and oral skills. Whatever path students embark upon following their academic studies, having acquired such skills will prove invaluable and even quintessential in their future career. At the end of this course students will also have acquired an in-depth knowledge of international human rights law and more broadly public international law, including present-day issues of international (human rights) law. It is therefore by no means a surprise that Moot Court courses tend be seen by students as the highlight of their academic career.


In addition to participating in the Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition itself, students take advantage of the Competition’s location (Washington DC) and the fruitful legal and extra-legal interaction with students from the Americas and beyond.


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Apply / Questions


28 september 2021 (16h30) Introductory session Lokaal 7.1 Pleitlokaal (‘Pleading Room’)
TBC Application deadline (CV and letter of motivation) Online
TBC Interviews TBC

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