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Live Blog: 4th NUALS Maritime Law Moot Court Competition 2017

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The 4th NUALS Maritime Law Moot Court Competition, conducted annually by the National University of Advanced Legal Studies in the major shipping port of Kochi, is a red letter day in Indian maritime mooting circles. The fourth edition of this moot court competition to be held between the 14th and 16th of July, 2017, promises to live up to the standard set by its predecessors.

Started in 2014 by the NUALS Moot Court Society, the competition has grown by leaps and bounds, and will be hosting some of the most prestigious law colleges and universities in India.

Additionally, the competition has in the past played host to some incredibly esteemed adjudicators and judges, including a former judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the Secretary of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, a Senior Legal Officer of the Ministry of External Affairs, the current Dean of the School of Law, SRM University, a sitting judge of the Kerala High Court and Sri. V.M. Syamkumar, arguably one of the best maritime experts in India, amongst many other luminaries in the field of maritime law. The NUALS Maritime Moot of 2017 should prove to be no different, as the adjudicators slated are some of the top lawyers from highly acclaimed maritime firms, both in Kochi and in India.

The list of colleges participating this year:

  1. National Law University, Odisha
  2. Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow
  3. Symbiosis Law School, Pune
  4. Amity Law School, Delhi, Affiliated to GGSIP University, Delhi
  5. School of Law, SASTRA University, Thanjavur
  6. West Bengal National University Of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
  7. National Law University, Jodhpur
  8. School of Law, Christ University
  9. Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar
  10. Central Law College, Salem
  11. Alliance School of Law, Bangalore
  12. National Law Institute University, Bhopal
  13. Government Law College, Mumbai
  14. Saveetha School of Law, Chennai
  15. Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat
  16. University School of Law and Legal Studies, Guru Gobind Singh IP University, Delhi
  17. S.D.M Law College, Mangalore
  18. University Institute of Legal Studies, Punjab
  19. Tamil Nadu National Law school, Trichy
  20. Government Law college, Trissur
  21. ILS Pune

In keeping with Kochi’s long tradition of hospitality, the NUALS Moot Court Society has taken care of everything from accommodation and food to intra-city conveyance for all the participants during the days of the competition.

Prizes worth up to One Lakh will be given, with the winning team awarded a cash prize of Rs.30,000 the runners Up taking home Rs.20,000 and other prizes for Best Memorial, Best Speaker of the Competition and Best Speaker of the Finals.

Stay tuned for live updates!

15th July '17

It's day two of the event and there is an unsettling calm amongst the participants.

1012 hrs - The preliminary rounds are commencing, and there is tension in the air.

1019 hrs - CU Salem v NLIU: The Applicant side, which is here after two months of preparation, feels that the moot proposition is highly challenging.

1040 hrs - NUJS v Alliance University: The judges are rapt, waiting to find all the loopholes they can to put the applicants at sea.

1045 hrs - UILS v SASTRA: The Bench has asked the agent not to seek permission unnecessarily. 5 minutes down, and no questions so far.

1050 hrs - Jindal v GNLU: The judges seem befuddled by the applicant's arguments and have requested the speaker to wind up.

1100 hrs - SDM v TNNLS: The second speaker failed to provide documentary support, so the Judges have redoubled their questioning. Cracks are beginning to show.

1133 hrs - CU Salem v NLIU: Surprise. The Applicant side decides not to go for rebuttals. The first round is officially over.

1145 hrs - The first preliminary round is officially over, and the teams are preparing for round 2. There's quite a bit of excitement; everyone is speculating on the results of their previous round.

1202 hrs - The second preliminary round is underway, the speakers are primed and ready.

1207 hrs - SDM v NLUJ: Whoops! The Applicant side just forgot to present their prayer.

1220 hrs - NLUO v Jindal: The Judge injects an element of levity into the proceedings, with a wise quip on the ship being blown up.

1300 hrs - Christ v TNNLS: Rebuttal time! The speaker for the claimants rattles off a series of rebuttals without any disturbance from the Judges.

1331 hrs - SDM v NLUJ: The applicants are alleging that the respondents are trying to incorporate fictional facts. The tension is building.

1341 hrs - GNLU v NUJS: The sea is calm as the second Respondent speaker recites his prayer, having delivered an uninterrupted speech.

1346 hrs - GNLU v NUJS: The Judges seem amused by the energy of the first Respondent speaker's sur rebuttals, and directs him to complete his speech.

1350 hrs - It's time for lunch. The participants have been invited to attend a seminar on Charter Parties and Maritime Arbitration by Mr. Ashwin Shanker, from the Chambers of George A. Rebello, Mumbai, to be conducted at 1500 hrs.

1500 hrs - The preliminary rounds have been completed, and the breaks for the quarter finals have been announced. After fierce competition, the following 8 teams have qualified:

  1. Government Law College, Mumbai
  2. Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar
  3. University School of Law and Legal Studies, Guru Gobind Singh IP University, Delhi
  4. ILS Pune
  5. National Law Institute University, Bhopal
  6. School of Law, SASTRA University, Thanjavur
  7. School of Law, Christ University
  8. Symbiosis Law School, Pune

1515 hrs - The judges are being briefed, and team match ups and memorial exchanges are taking place. The pressure is building.

1546 hrs - Proceedings have commenced in Courtroom No. 1, where USLLS, Delhi goes up against Symbiosis Law School, Pune; and in Courtroom No. 4, where GNLU takes on Christ University, Bangalore.

1554 hrs - GNLU v Christ: Judges nod in agreement to the forceful arguments of the first speaker of the Applicant side.

1555 hrs - NLIU v GLC Mumbai: Mines under the territorial sea seems to be a major point of confrontation between the Judges and the speaker from the Applicant. The speaker, aided by multiple authorities, attempts to persuade the bench but is heavily questioned on the facts and applicability of the cases.

1605 hrs - ILS v SASTRA: The first speaker for the Applicant has concluded his argument, while quite successfully maneuvering the minefield of questions posed by the Judges.

1610 hrs - USLLS v SLS: The speaker for the Applicant has been sternly warned against stretching facts and has been directed not to bring in "imaginary things" to back up his claims, and to present certified documents.

1620 hrs - ILS v SASTRA: Both speakers for the Applicant have concluded their arguments, and the speaker for the Respondent has taken the podium.

1632 hrs - GNLU v Christ: With no questions forthcoming from the Judges, it looks like the second speaker for the Applicant failed to impress the Judges.

1635 hrs - GLC v NLIU: Both parties seem to be arguing the same side, leaving the Judges perplexed. We're a little confused ourselves. Ah, the joys of mooting.

1645 hrs - USLLS v SLS: The Judges are very serious and stick to the point, mostly listening passively, depriving us of good old courtroom drama.

1647 hrs - ILS v SASTRA: The second speaker for the Respondent, despite having a good start, lost steam midway, when he was unable to recall certain facts of the case.

1651 hrs - GLC v NLIU: Remember when we told you that everyone, the teams included, was confused about which side they were arguing? The Judges tried to ask the speaker questions, but found that these were evaded, with the speaker moving on to the next submission, casually skirting the subject at hand.

1700 hrs - GLC v NLIU: After avoiding having to answer specific questions for the duration of her speech, promising to address the Judges' questions at a later time, the second speaker for the Respondent makes strong concluding remarks in the last three minutes of her speech. Phew. Crisis averted.

1705 hrs - GNLU v Christ: Speaker two for the Respondent has been speaking untinterrupted. The Judges seem delighted. Looks like the weeks of preparation paid off.

1713 hrs - SLS v USLLS Sagely advice from the Hon'ble Justices: The participants have been urged to find a median line between aggression and submission. It was suggested that the main point is to get the Judgement in your favor, and not to act smart at the cost of the client.

1721 hrs - All the sessions have been concluded. This brings us to the end of the Quarter finals. The teams disperse for tea, eagerly awaiting the results.

1800 hrs - The results of the Quarter finals have been announced. The teams that are ploughing through to the Semifinals are:

  1. School of Law, Christ University
  2. Government Law College, Mumbai
  3. ILS Pune
  4. Symbiosis Law School, Pune

1832 hrs - GLC v ILS: Even before the proceedings start, the Respondent side has approached the dias with a submission.

1848 hrs - SLS v Christ: The Bench has a slew of questions on the use of force, which the first speaker of the Applicant side is unable to fend off.

1850 hrs - GLC v ILS: The speaker is unable to substantiate his argument with relevant sources. An awkward silence prevails.

1856 hrs - GLC v ILS: The Respondent side is calm, with the exception of one member, who looks like he could use a fidget spinner right about now.

1919 hrs - Madam Vice Chancellor has graced the Courtrooms, equipped with a hard copy of the problem. Keenly observing the submissions of the speakers, she seems approving of the standard of competition.

1930 hrs - GLC v ILS: The Judge stops the speaker after her 3rd word, and moves right to the crux of the case. So much for being allowed an opportunity to make first impressions. The speaker, however, is thorough with the contents of her memo.

1935 hrs - SLS v Christ: The first speaker for the Respondent has been bailed out of a very dicey situation by his researcher. He struggles to get back on track, as the Bench seems to be putting him in quite the spot, just as he recovers from a question. 

1945 hrs - GLC v ILS: The second speaker has curated her arguments well and puts them across diligently. She is literally on her toes as she wards off the Judges' interruptions. Our Vice Chancellor is clearly a fan.

1950 hrs - SLS v ILS: The Judge asks the speaker a pertinent question on Dicey, only to receive a quick response, followed by an abrupt exit. The second speaker has raised the energy levels of the room with his confident speech. The Bench seems impressed.

2000 hrs - A butterfly just entered the room. Our PR reporter is finding it hard to concentrate, thanks to her Lepidopterophobia. We got this! Don't worry; no animals/insects were harmed in the making of this blog.

2015 hrs - GLC v ILS: The second Speaker has surmised his submission and breathes heavily as he thanks the Judges for their patient listening. He has drank an entire bottle of water. Hard work. Check.

2018 hrs - SLS v Christ: The rebuttals have commenced. The Applicant speaker picks faults in the written memorials. His teammate rises to support him, only to be shot down by the Judge. 

2021 hrs - The semi final rounds have been concluded.

2200 hrs - The teams that have made it to the finals of the 4th NUALS Maritime Law Moot Court Competition are: ILS Law College, Pune and School of Law, Christ University, Bengaluru. Congratulations teams!

16th July '17 - Christ v ILS

0925 hrs - The teams have arrived and the judges are being briefed. It's a beautiful monsoon morning, and there is excitement and restlessness on campus in place of the usual Sunday laziness.

0952 hrs - The Judges seem to be exceeding their laytime. We highly doubt they'll be paying any demurrage, however.

1003 hrs - The Court is being presided by Hon'ble Justive P.B. Suresh, Adv. V.M. Syam Kumar, and Adv. Tushara James. 

1007 hrs - The round has commenced. The first speaker for the Applicants has directed her attention to her maps to plot the course for the team's arguments.

For those of you who couldn't be with us to witness the finals, we have good news. Our Facebook page is live at https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1350365601679582&id=1206005749448902

1019 hrs - The first speaker for the Applicant is facing a barrage of questions with efficiency. The Corfu channel proved no challenge.

1028 hrs - Despite not pushing further, the Judges seem dissatisfied with the answers being provided. The Bench continues to question the Agent, who seems to be losing patience, a drastic change from her previous attempts at endearment.

1031 hrs - Adv. Tushara asks a relevant question with respect to knowledge. The Judge believes that the Applicant team has a very good imagination while interpreting facts. The Agent is flustered, a departure from her composed demeanour. She is unable to justify her contradictory arguments.

1033 hrs - The co-agent comes to her rescue as he hands her a chit with the correct answer.

1036 hrs - The Agent seems to be sailing a listing ship. The Judges are not satisfied with the agent pleading ignorance on the question of fatal accidents.

1043 hrs - The Judges are refusing to let the Agent float on with his arguments, engaging in some hard questioning on flotsam and salvage.

1048 hrs - The Judges hunt for specific details, and the second Agent does not disappoint, receiving a well earned compliment.

1053 hrs - The Bench shows no mercy, bringing up a plethora of cases outside the Agent's arguments. The Agent, however, displays an encyclopedic knowledge of maritime law as he rattles off the substance of every case mentioned. With the utmost confidence, he proclaims, "Fortunately, the Agent has the answer to this question also." The Judges seem impressed.

1100 hrs - The second Speaker is granted an extension "in the interest of Justice".

1104 hrs - The second Agent for the Applicant delivers his Prayer, having clearly ended on a high note. The ball is now in the Respondent's court

1111 hrs - The speaker from Christ seems to know Malayalis so well, he can foresee what the Judge is going to ask, even before he completes his question.

1116 hrs - The Agent deftly tackles his first submission and smoothly proceeds to his second argument.

1126 hrs - The Judge, Adv. Syam Kumar, bombards the Agent with his profound knowledge on maritime law and the flustered Agent reaches out to his reference books to give the Judge a fitting reply. The Judge, however, urged him to proceed if he didn't have the knowledge on the tip of his fingers.

1131 hrs - Judge Syam Kumar brings the attention of the Agent to the case of Tojo Maro to explain set offs, a subject on which the Agent had not satisfactorily elaborated upon in his submissions. With a disappointed tone at being asked too many questions away from the focus of his Respondent research, he concludes his submission and returns to his seat.

1141 hrs - The Judge has done what every mooter dreads - he has posed a question to the second Agent which relates to the Nottebom case mentioned by the firsst Agent, and has asked him to explain the intricate principles of the case. After stuttering for about 20 seconds, the Agent has succeeded in recollecting his knowledge on his co-agent's submissions. He seems to have satisfactorily answered the Judge, but Adv. Syam Kumar is relentless, pressing for substantive evidence for every statement made by the Agent.

1153 hrs - The Respondent team concludes their Prayer. The agent wants an independent investigation into the case.

1201 hrs - The Bench doesn't seem impressed with the rebuttal of the Applicant team.

1205 hrs - The respondent Agent takes the stage to tear down the rebuttals. He emphasizes that the questioned authorities used by the Respondents are codified customary law. Adv. Syam Kumar asks challenging questions that the Agent is unable to answer.

1207 hrs - And with that, the final round of the 4th NUALS Maritime Law Moot Court Competition '17 comes to an end.

1345 hrs - The results are finally declared after a nail-biting final!

                Winners:  ILS Pune (Apurva Shelka, Sahil Likhar, Anshritha Rai)

                Runners' Up: School of Law, Christ University (Niranjan Bhat, Kunal Naik, Adit Shah)


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