The 12th Annual CCJ International Law Moot which was held from 17-18 March 2022 saw the Norman Manley Law School being adjudged the overall winner of the competition.
After a two-year hiatus caused by restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court decided to host a virtual Moot in keeping with the CCJ’s current practice of hearing matters virtually. Notwithstanding the feeling of digital meeting fatigue often experienced by most students, six (6) institutions competed in this year’s competition: The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Anton de Kom University of Suriname, University of Guyana, Hugh Wooding Law School, and Norman Manley Law School.
It is the fourth win for the Jamaica-based law school, which bested five other teams comprising regional law schools and law faculties, to take home the Moot Challenge Shield. Reflecting on their victory, the winning team, comprising students Shaquan Hill, Kimberly Blackwood and Iyka Dorival and adviser Taneisha Brown, dedicated their win to the late Ms Nancy Anderson. Ms Anderson previously served as a Tutor and Course Director at the Law School before passing away in 2021. Ms Blackwood, the Lead Advocate for the team, described the Moot experience as a “tremendous opportunity”.
In a press statement, it was noted that the competition was established in 2009 as an in-person activity to orient law students in the processes and procedures of the Court while helping them become more familiar with the Court’s Original Jurisdiction (OJ), the Moot focuses on the interpretation and application of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC).
This year’s Moot question was argued before a panel of three judges, including the Honourable Messrs. Justice Wit and Anderson and the Honourable Mme. Justice Rajnauth-Lee. The scenario concerned Article 214 of the RTC, which deals with referrals from national courts to the CCJ, where the matter in question requires the interpretation and application of the RTC. Senior Counsel for the Claimant were to argue that the Defendant is liable for the failure of its courts to refer the classification issue while Junior Counsel were to contend that there was no discretion in the courts not to refer. Senior Counsel for the Defendant were to contend that there can be no state liability for the actions of its independent courts generally and certainly not for the actions of the Privy Council while Junior Counsel were to argue that the domestic courts have a discretion whether to refer and that the Claimant ought to have assisted the courts by raising the issue (which it had not done). The second-place prize was awarded to the 2019 winners, Hugh Wooding Law School, while the Anton de Kom University of Suriname received the prize for “Best Team from an Academic Institution,” a first for that university. The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill won the “Social Media Spirit Prize”, a new aspect of the competition that engenders camaraderie and increases digital support for the participating teams.