Headed Back to World Moot Court Competition

For the second year in a row, students from St. Thomas University qualified for the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Geneva, Switzerland.

Williams and Xavier submitted two legal briefs to the competition that were selected among the top ten in the Western European and Others region to earn a spot at the international event.

Last year, STU’s team—represented by LeBlanc and Navy Vezina—won first place at the competition and were the first Canadian team to do so.

Williams and Xavier, who compete as partners in the American Moot Court Association, will represent St. Thomas this summer in Geneva. Fellow student and American Moot Court participant Emma Walsh will be their coach.

“I’m extremely proud of what we have managed to accomplish,” Xavier said. “It just goes to show that STU really teaches its students how to think critically about issues from multiple perspectives, which is invaluable when it comes to building innovative and well-structured arguments.”

The pair received its case in late 2017, but couldn’t begin working on the file until after the American Moot Court Association National Championship in January 2018. After much research, and a first and second draft, they established their arguments and submitted the briefs with high hopes of returning to Geneva.
“Brief writing is very technical, and I’m glad we get to do it because we learn legal citation skills that normally you don’t learn until law school,” Williams said. “It’s especially interesting for students who do American Moot Court and International Moot Court because they’re two different styles of brief writing.”

The 2018 Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition takes place July 15-20 at the United Nations and will have competitors arguing cases involving the right to life, the use of torture, and the right to found a family and related rights.

The ability to think on their feet and form persuasive and creative arguments, while communicating effectively will be essential for Williams and Xavier during the event.

“Our liberal arts education will really help with analyzing information and creative thinking,” Williams said. “The Human Rights background we have from STU will also be very helpful.”

Aside from delivering their arguments on these issues, the STU duo is looking forward to being at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

“I’m excited to learn,” Xavier said. “The competition includes a day-long event focused on the mandate and activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council, which is a great opportunity to learn more about international law.”

As the defending champions of this event, the STU team has high hopes heading into the event.

“We want to go as far as we can in the competition,” Williams said. “They also have a brief competition, so we’re hoping to place in that as well.”

The STU moot court experience has been made possible, in large part, thanks to a generous donation from Frank and Julie McKenna to create an endowment fund in the name of McKenna's longtime assistant Ruth McCrea.