On 24-26 May 2018, the Utrecht University team, representing the Netherlands, competed at the International Rounds of the Telders International Law Moot Court Competition 2018 in The Hague, the 41st edition of the most prestigious public international law mooting competition in Europe. The team performed very well, coming in 3rd place overall (applicant and respondent combined) out of 23 teams in Europe. Equally the applicants came 2nd place out of 23 European teams, missing a place in the finals only by 0.5 points. They won the award for Best Oral Argumentation Applicant. Vivian Aiyedogbon on the applicant side also won the Runner-up Best Oralist Award. This achievement was the result of a sustained team effort, lasting several months and demonstrated by their victory at the National Rounds. The case written for this year’s competition, ’The Plight of the Dandy Narwhals’, involved a variety of legal issues of public international law, including international investment law, WTO law, law on diplomatic protection, environmental law, use of scientific evidence before international courts, sustainability, obligations for cooperation and state responsibility.
The team was comprised of four Public International Law LLM students, with Vivian Aiyedogbon and Leo Van den Bussche representing the fictitious State of Alfania, and Sofia van Dijk and Riccardo Vecellio Segate representing the State of Barbarossa. The students were coached by Otto Spijkers (University Lecturer in Public International Law) and Karolina Aksamitowska (LLM Legal Research). The team found the experience invaluable, and it positively challenged them to experience and successfully engage with various areas and burgeoning issues in public international law. Alongside, it gave them the opportunity to develop oral advocacy, legal research and writing skills. The competition and the social events enabled the team to network with fellow students, coaches, and judges, from all over the continent, joining the ‘Telders Family’ of the competition alumni.