2021 Jun 29
The Moot Court Bench (MCB) team representing the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, emerged Champions at the Global Rounds of the 19th John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition, 2021. The John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition is the premier International Moot Court Competition organised annually by the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) focused on International Trade Law (ITL) and based on the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The prestigious competition is held in Geneva each year but migrated to a virtual platform to accommodate travel restrictions and attracts over 100 teams from across the globe, as well as WTO experts from legal academia and the WTO Secretariat.
The team comprised 3rd Year Students of the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo:
- Saheli Wikramanayake
- Avishka Jayaweera
- Adithya Ramanitharan
- Sandun Batagoda
In the Final Round, the team prevailed as the first Sri Lankan team to win the JHJ Moot Court Competition amongst 100 of the best international universities. They won several awards for both their written and oratory skills:
- The team was awarded the Overall Best Written Submission on Behalf of the Respondent.
- Avishka Jayaweera was awarded Best Orator in the Quarters.
- Saheli Wikramanayake was adjudged the Best Orator in the Grand Final.
The UoC victors commenced their journey after being selected for the MCB’s International Trade Law Program in July, 2020, alongside a team from the Sri Lanka Law College. The UoC team was coached by Harish Balakrishnan, Senior Partner at the MCB, and Harrison Mbori, while the Sri Lanka Law College team was coached by Senith Abeynayake, the current head of ITL at the MCB, assisted by Professor Rajesh Sharma.
The two teams were extensively prepared over the course of several months leading up to the West and South Asian Regional Round in May, 2020, and performed exceptionally well. The UoC team secured the Award for the Best Memorandum as well as the semifinalist position, which advanced the team to the Global Rounds in Geneva.
The UoC team was assisted by the Moot Court Bench (MCB). The Moot Court Bench is Sri Lanka’s first fully integrated training platform for advocacy in Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) and ITL in partnership with the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) of the United States Department of Commerce. The accomplishment at the JHJ Moot Court Competition is another highlight of the progress of the MCB, which has displayed consistent success in its endeavours since its inception in 2018, following the Sri Lankan team’s achievements at the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Today, the MCB strives to drive the conversation surrounding ADR and ITL in Sri Lanka forward while expanding its own horizons and establishing itself as the foremost advocate of reforming local and international Dispute Resolution Systems.
The team was also assisted by Prof Naazima Kamardeen (Senior Treasurer of the Moot Court and Debating Society, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo), Prof. Indira Nanayakkara (Former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo), Dr. Nishantha Sampath Punchihewa (Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Colombo), Shaya Tavaf and Melinda Zanner (Commercial Law Development Program [CLDP] of the United States Department of Commerce), Senith Abeyanayake, Purity Maritim, Christian Vidal-León, Mishael Wambua, Emily Wakesho, Akinyi Agutu, Professor Rajesh Sharma and Andrés Esteban.