STU Moot Court Team Finishes in Top 8 at Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition

Two students, Laura Rea (left) and Graci Young (right) participating at the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot court competition at the United Nations in Geneva, July 2022

STU Mooters Laura Rea and Graci Young finished as one of the top 8 teams at the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Geneva, Switzerland last month.

The duo began preparing for the competition in January, by submitting written arguments.

“This year’s case took a lot of inspiration from very current world events,” Rea said.

“The case dealt with the legality of sanctions, the use of military tribunals, maritime law, refugee rights and abortion rights, which made it  super interesting and complex to study as it touches on many relevant and controversial legal conversations that are happening right now,” Young added.

Following the preliminary rounds—and a 12-day wait—Rea and Young learned they qualified for the in-person portion of the event taking place at the Palais Des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Both students said having the opportunity to compete in front of UN members and experts from other human rights organizations was impactful and encouraging. 

“Being in that setting gave a new weight to the arguments we’d been practicing and highlighted the importance of the topics we were discussing,” Rea said. 

“I’m so grateful for the confidence and skills STU Moot nurtures, and after working away at this case for so long with Graci, it was really exciting to be in the quarter finals.” 

Strength of STU’s Moot Court Program 

Young credits her team’s accomplishments not only to their hard work, but the strength of STU’s Moot Court Program and the support from their supervisor. 

“Dr. DiPaolo has a special way of inspiring students to believe in themselves and she brings out the best in them through her training,” Young said. 

“We were the only undergraduate team competing so having the judges affirm the quality of our research and arguments was encouraging.” 

Young said while she gained a lot of knowledge through this experience, the greatest lesson for her was one of self-confidence. 

“I learned to not doubt myself or discount any possibility from happening,” she said. 

Looking Forward 

Rea and Young completed their Bachelor of Arts degrees this spring—Rea with an honours in Great Books and double major in Criminology and Human Rights, and Young with an honours in Human Rights and major in Criminology. 

“The Moot Court program was a major reason I chose St. Thomas,” Rea said. 

“This competition is such an amazing way to end my time at STU. It truly is the small university of big opportunities, and I am so grateful to have spent the past four years here.” 

Young agreed. 

“I am incredibly proud to have represented STU at an international level. I could not have picked a better university for my undergraduate degree and I am very thankful for all the opportunities I have been offered throughout my time as a STUdent,” she said. 

Young will be starting her law degree at Dalhousie University this fall, and Rea plans to defer her acceptance to Osgoode Hall Law School for a year while she gains practical work experience in the field of human rights.