What is the "Philip C. Jessup Moot Court"?

The Jessup Competition is the largest and most prestigious international moot court in public international law. In 1959, students from Harvard and Columbia University as well as the University of Virginia launched the first competition, named after the famous American legal scholar and judge of the International Court of Justice. Since then the International Law Students Association organises the Competition every year. Today, approximately 1,500 students from over 645  universities in 95 countries worldwide take part.

The term moot court refers to a competition in which law students, taking on the role of lawyers, simulate a fictional legal dispute. In contrast to law studies in Germany, moot courts form an inherent part of an Anglo-American lawyer’s education. Nevertheless, they are becoming increasingly pertinent for law students in Germany and other countries as well, as they give students the opportunity to practice free speech and arguing in a courtroom setting.

The ‘lawyer’ teams prepare oral and written pleadings in English, representing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case. They then compete against one another before a panel of judges, simulating a proceeding before the International Court of Justice. At first, teams from the same country compete in the qualifying rounds, the so-called national rounds. The best teams advance to the international rounds held in Washington D.C.

The national preliminary rounds of this year's competition will take place in Kiel.

Depending on the number of teams competing in the national preliminary rounds, two or three winning teams of the national rounds may participate in the international rounds held in Washington D.C. in March or April.

More information about the history of the Philip C. Jessup Moot Court and important dates of the international rounds are available on the International Law Student Association (ILSA) website.

Jessup Moot Court in Kiel

For several years, law students from Kiel University have been regularly participating in the Jessup Competition with great success: from 1989 until 1996 they won the national rounds and received awards for world’s best and best European pleading. In 2006, the team got awarded the first prize for it's respondent pleading and was ranked third for the pleading of the applicant. One year later, the team reached the semi-finales. Apart from that, the team from Kiel won the Spirit of the Jessup Award twice, in 2012 and 2016.


If you have any questions or would like to join the next Jessup's Kiel team, please contact Moritz von Rochow at jessupteam@wsi.uni-kiel.de.