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A heroes’ welcome: MPL debrief of NLSIU Jessup winners Geetha Hariharan, Akshaya Ramadurai

MPL 4: The home of Indian mooting
MPL 4: The home of Indian mooting

India’s second-ever Philip C Jessup International Law Moot victory, brought home by NLSIU Bangalore again after 14 years, has done good things for the already healthy mooting culture at the college, shared 2013 Jessup winners Geetha Hariharan and Akshaya Ramadurai about the mornings after their historic win.

“As soon as we landed we heard cheers of ‘NLS!! NLS!!’. There were big posters. There were parties all around and we received many treats,” Ramadurai recounted about when they landed back at Bangalore airport.

“Almost half the college was at the airport. VC and professors were there.”

And it started even before they arrived: moot court society convenor Dheer Bhatnagar told the New Indian Express that “all of us were in front of our computers waiting for an update as there was no live streaming. One could tell we won it when the entire hostel erupted in celebratory shouts. It was unprecedented. Students were out till 5am celebrating”.

Regular life and classes will resume on Monday, though as most of the star mooters are fifth years, they have lower attendance requirements and might just get a tiny bit of well-deserved rest.

Academic mooting

Their win has done more than just give cause for joy - it has even revived academic interest in the exercise that some students saw as an unduly long drawn process earlier, claim the winners.

“People look at it as a process that goes on for half a year and some people are put off by that,” explained Ramadurai. “[But] keep going, it’s worth the effort.”

“Many people have told me they have been inspired to moot again. Students in the fourth year now want to go for Jessup next year.”

Hariharan added: “Mooting is generally seen at NLS as an academic pursuit that people love and are very passionate about.”

Ramadurai told Team MPL that they began preparing for the moot in the last week of September 2012 and it helped that four members of the team were in the final year with fewer classes to attend.

Expectations managed

Six months of preoccupation with one thing and the dream of winning what is often dubbed the world cup of mooting, can not have been a cakewalk. How did the team cope with the accompanying pressure?

“The thought never really came into our mind. We took it one round at a time. We didn’t realise we were in the finals till we saw the cup,” said Ramadurai.

But she admitted that the quarter final against the University of California did worry them a bit, and facing three-time finalist Columbia Law School was daunting.

Hariharan added this year’s finalists, Singapore Management University, to the list of intimidators.

The world cup refs

Facing the best international mooting colleges, which requires six months of preparation, can do with judges who engage commensurately, and the team sounded pretty satisfied there – the final saw sitting International Court of Justice judges (ICJ) preside.

“We could advance nuanced arguments and the depth of research we were able to display was proportional to the level of judges,” said Ramadurai. “They would talk to us, ask us for feedback, and tell us about their experience at Jessup. The discussions were very enlightening.”

Hariharan noted that some Jessup judges had been on the bench since the 1980s.

The rest of NLS’ star team – Shreya Jain and – now officially the world’s second-best oralist Raag Yadava – were not reachable at the moment for an interview.

For more on Jessup in the meantime, do read Team MPL’s interview with NLS’ moot court society head Dheer Bhatnagar.

Scores of housekeeping

The Jessup feat has put NLSIU in an even stronger position to win the Mooting Premier League (MPL) 4 sponsored by Herbert Smith Freehills, although its second place mooting rival, NLU Delhi, also performed outstandingly at Jessup, followed that up with a win of the Tier 2 Oxford Price Media Moot, and the scores are now within levelling distance (plus, we’ve received word of NLU Delhi success at the NLSIU Arbitration moot too).

Read Team MPL’s analysis of the scoreboard in the final leg.

The existing MPL scoring system for Tier 1 moots such as Jessup awards 10 honourable mention (HM) points for any speakers in the top 60 or so, as well as 10 HM points each for the top 32 teams and memorials. Do read our detailed deliberations and rationale for the system from 2011.

This year, Indian teams have performed particularly well at Jessup: apart from NLS’ win and Yadava’s second-best oralist citation, NLU Delhi broke into the top 19, picked up the third best memorial and 21st-best oralist.

There have been reasonable calls to make an exception to recognise NLSIU’s unprecedented feat, and award more than just 10 points for very high citations. (Several other citations that may attract honourable mentions are yet to be revealed – Yadava for one, apparently also picked up the Stephen M Schwedel prize for best oralist in the finals)

So we held two polls – one asking whether NLSIU should be given up to 15 additional points for second-best oralist, and another asking the same in respect of NLU Delhi’s third-best memo citation.

The top option by far in both was to award maximum additional points in each case.

However, understandably, an apparent majority of voters in favour of upgrading NLS and NLU Delhi, were actually from NLS and NLU D respectively.

So, the most fair options appear to be:

  • to give both colleges a total of 25 points for the high-ranking HM citations, which would make them equivalent in points to a semi-finalist place in a Tier 1 moot, or
  • to give neither college any extra points this season but to amend the scoring system for the next MPL season to reward and encourage future Indian mooting glories.

The latter option seems fairer, if honouring the Rule of Law’s bias against retrospective rulemaking. And although third-ranked NUJS Kolkata is more than 100 points behind NLU Delhi right now, why increase that gap further with a controversial decision?

If everyone is ok with this reasoning, next season let’s reward top eight oralists and the top four memos at Tier 1 moots such as Jessup with 20 points (equivalent to quarter finals, and double that of other HMs)?

Happy mooting,

Team MPL

Jessup update: NLS Geetha Hariharan gets 29th-best oralist, NLU Delhi's Deepika Sriram and Naman Joshi win 21st and 30th-best oralist respectively [link to speakers / Jessup results microsite]

International law firm Herbert Smith Freehills is sponsoring the Mooting Premier League (MPL) and will contribute a prize pool of Rs 60,000 for the top three winning colleges.

Mooting Premier League 4 season standings

PosLaw schoolT1T2T3T4T5OrgWR/uS/FB SB M/RHMPtsDetails
1 NLSIU Bangalore 170   80 24 28   4 2 3 2 5 2 302 Rizvi Moot (Semis); Surana Trial - South (Gold); Manfred Lachs Space Moot World Rounds (Gold, memo, speaker); Stetson South India (Gold); Oxford Media Law National Qualifiers (Silver, speaker); KK Luthra Criminal (semis); Jessup South Rounds (Gold, memo, speaker); GIMC (silver); Kerala Law Academy (semis) NUJS Herbert Smith (Best Memo) NLU-J Antitrust Moot (Runners Up) (Best Researcher) (Best Memo); Vis, Vienna (Honorable Mention- Speaker) Jessup World Rounds (Winners) (Honorable Mentions- 2nd Best Oralist, Best Speaker in Finals)
2 NLU Delhi 30 90 90 16 22 1 5 2 5 2 1 6 249 HMMCC (Semis); Henry Dunant (gold); NLU Delhi Corp Moot (organiser); NLIU Juris Corp (Semis); Oxford Media Law National Qualifiers (Gold, memo); Commonwealth Moot Nat'l (semis); Stetson North Rounds (silver, speaker), Jessup North (Gold); Kerala Law Academy (silver) NUJS Herbert Smith (Semis) NLU-J Antitrust Moot (Semifinalist); Red Cross Moot (Winners)(Best Speaker) ; Oxford IPR Moot (Runners Up); Leiden Sarin Air Law Moot (Best Speaker)(Honourable Mention for Best Applicant Team) Jessup World Rounds (Honorable Mentions - 19th Best Team, 21st Best Speaker, 3rd best Memo); Oxford Media Moot (Win, 2nd & 3rd oralist for HM)
3 NUJS Kolkata 25 45   16 48 2 2 2 2 6   3 136 HMMCC (Best team)(speaker) (Nani Palkhivala (silver); (BR Sawhney (speaker);(SLCU Moot (Gold, speaker); Surana Trial North East: (silver); (KK Luthra) (speaker); DM Harish (semis & speaker); NUJS Herbert Smith (org); ELSA WTO Asian Rounds (Best Speaker) (Semis); Vis (East), Hong Kong, (Honorable Mention- Best Pan-Asian Team); Vis, Vienna (Honorable Mention- Respondent Memo and Octa Finalists)
4 NLU Jodhpur 20   30 35 30 1 2 3 5 3   2 116 (Henry Dunant) (silver); (Surana Trial Adv - North) (semis); (B.R Sawhney Moot) (semis) ; (NLIU Juris Corp) (Semis); (Oxford Media Law National Qualifiers) (Semis);(Commonwealth Moot National Rounds) (Gold) (speaker), Jessup North (semis, speaker);(KK Luthra) (Gold); ULC Bangalore (silver); NUJS Herbert Smith (Runners Up) (Best Speaker) NLU-J Antitrust Moot (Organizers); Vis East, Hong Kong (Honorable Mention - Respondent Memorandum, Honourable Mention, 2nd Best Oralist)
5 Symbiosis, Pune 40     35 15   1 1 1   2 2 90 (NLIU Juris Corp) Best Researcher; Kerala Law Academy (gold); Surana Corporate Moot (Semis) Amity Moot (Runners Up); GH Raisoni Moot (Winners) (Best Researcher); Vis (East) Hong Kong (Quarter Finalists) ( 2 Honorable Mentions for Speakers)
6 ILS Pune 10 15 5 27 33   2 1 3 1 2 1 90 (HMMCC) (Best researcher); (SLCU Moot) (silver); (NLIU Juris Corp) (gold); (Stetson South India)(Semis); DM Harish (semis) Surana Corporate Moot (Best Oralist) (Semis); ULC Bangalore (orator); GH Raisoni (Semis) ; NLU-J Antitrust Moot (Winners); Vis, Vienna (Honorable Mention- Respndent Memorandum)
7 RMLNLU Lucknow   30 30 4 20   1 2 1   2 3 84 (NLU Delhi Corp Moot) (gold, best researcher); (Surana Trial Adv - North) (memo);(Stetson North Rounds) (Gold), Jessup North (silver);GNLU International Moot (semifinalists); Stetson World Rounds (Semi Finalists) ( Honourable Mention - 2nd Best Memorial, 5th Best Speaker, 6th Best Speaker)
8 HNLU Raipur     10 32 41 1 2 2 2 1 6   84 Nani Palkhivala (Best Researcher); (Pro Bono) (Runner's Up, speaker, Best researcher, memo) (Rizvi Moot) (silver) (Justice Hidayatullah Moot) (organizer) (Stetson North Rounds) (memo); Surana Trial North East (winner, speaker) (KK Luthra) (memo); Kerala Law Academy (semis) Amity Moot (Best Memo) NUJS Herbert Smith (Semis)
9 Nalsar Hyderabad 30   5 8 25 1 1     1 2 3 69 (HMMCC (silver); (Rizvi Moot) (Best team); (B.R Sawhney Moot) (organisers); (NLIU Juris Corp) (speaker);(FDI Moot (memo);(Commonwealth Moot National Rounds) (memo); Jessup South (Semifinalists); Vis (East), Hong Kong (Honorable Mention- Claimant Memo); Vis, Vienna (Honorable Mentions- Speaker, Claimant Memorandum)
10 GNLU Gandhinagar     5 30 21 2   1 3 1   1 58 (Nani Palkhivala) (best team); (NLU Delhi Corp Moot) (Best team);(FDI Moot) (Honourable Mention);Jessup North (semis); GNLU International Moot (organizers) Surana Corporate Moot (Gold); GH Raisoni Moot (Runners Up)(Best Mooter) NLU-J Antitrust Moot (Semifinalist); Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot (Semifinalists)
11 RGNUL Patiala   20   32 5     2 1   3   57 (HMMCC (silver); (Rizvi Moot) (Best team); (B.R Sawhney Moot) (organisers); (NLIU Juris Corp) (speaker);(FDI Moot (memo);(Commonwealth Moot National Rounds) (memo); Jessup South (Semifinalists); Vis (East), Hong Kong (Honorable Mention- Claimant Memo); Vis,Vienna (Honorable Mentions- Speaker.
12 Jindal Global Law School     20 8 15   1   2 1 2   43 (Nani Palkhivala) (memo)(Henry Dunant) (best researcher, semis); (Surana Trial Adv - North) (gold); (Oxford Media Law National Qualifiers)(Semis); NLU-J Antitrust Moot (Best Speaker)
13 NUALS Kochi     10 23 5   1 1     2   38 (NLU Delhi Corp Moot) (silver); (Stetson South) (memo); Kerala Law Academy (memo) Amity Moot (Winners)
14 Faculty of Law, Jamia Milia Islamia University     10 8 10     1   1 1   28 Nani Palkhivala (speaker); Henry Dunant (memo); Surana Trial adv-North (Silver, speaker)
15 GLC Mumbai     10 8 8         1 1   26 (Surana Trial Advocacy South) (silver) (NLU Delhi Corp Law Moot) (Semifinalist); Jessup South Rounds (silver); GNLU International Moot (memo)
16 NLUO Cuttack       12 13       1   2   25 B.R Sawhney Moot (memo); NLIU Juris Corp (memo); GH Raisoni Moot (Best Memo) (Semis);Amity Moot (Semifinalists) ;

For more information please refer to the MPL 4 rulebook.

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