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Lieneke Louman is currently the Project and Research Officer at the Grotius Centre, and is responsible for organizing the ICC Moot Court Competition, the Jessup Qualifying Rounds, conferences and seminars, and other events.
In this interview, Bar & Bench’s Shreya Vajpei talks to her about the organisation process behind the moot, and the success of the ICC Moot Court Competition.
Shreya Vajpei: The ICC Moot has established itself quite quickly over the last ten years. How was your journey as the organiser for the Moot?
Lieneke Louman: I’ve been there since there were about sixty participants and now we have over 400 participants. And that’s only the international rounds. So if we include all the regional rounds and national rounds, it will be a lot more.
It’s been great. I enjoyed seeing how it developed and how more people became involved.As you grow bigger, there is, of course less contact with participants but we do try to interact as much as possible.
Shreya Vajpei: What is the structure of the organising committee for the ICC Moot Court Competition?
Lieneke Louman: Only two teams per country are allowed to participate. It used to be three but that became too much. It might be three again when we have the new university building but for this year, it’s two. When there are more than two teams, there’s a preliminary round to decide which teams go to the international rounds. In India, where we have many teams, we organise a regional or a national rounds.
Shreya Vajpei: What is each member’s responsibility and how are they inducted?
Lieneke Louman: The organisers of the regional rounds are not involved in organisation of the international rounds. But they are involved in the quality of the bench memorandum, the case, the clarifications, so they are a soundboard for the quality of the competition.
Shreya Vajpei: This is the first time that the National Rounds for the Moot are being held in India What drove this decision?
Lieneke Louman: The main reason is the number of teams. But the second reason is that, Indians are a bit crazy for moot courts (laughs). So we were sure that moot court competition like a national rounds in India would be hugely successful and would be also a lot of fun for the Indian teams. We didn’t like the fact that so many universities had to miss out on the competition because there was no national rounds. So now, more teams in India can be participants.
Shreya Vajpei: What is the process of conducting the Moot Court Competition? How do you find sponsors?
Lieneke Louman: The sponsors are mainly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Luxembourg has been our sponsor for a very long time; the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Hague Municipality, and the Netherlands Ministry of Security and Justice have always been great supporters of the competition. So they support the competition financially.
We also have sponsors who organise parts of the competition such as the reception, or who donate awards and stuff like that. So that’s how we get our sponsors. But it is always a huge hassle. I mean there are so many great events and projects that need sponsorship. So yes, it is difficult but uptill now we have managed to get it supported every year.
Shreya Vajpei: Can you tell us a bit about the judging process at the ICC Moot.
Lieneke Louman: Right now everybody is writing their memorials; it is a lot of work because [the memorials] are about 10,000 words each. I always notice that people are very happy when their memorials are submitted; it is as if they can breathe again.
And then there will be hundreds of people who will evaluate [the memorials]. The jury is from all over the world because it’s just not possible to have people in the Hague evaluating the memorials. In May the selected teams come to the Hague, with the competition starting with a big reception.
For the next three days, we have the Preliminary Rounds. Everybody will be pleading every role twice, so that’s six sessions. Then the quarter finals, then the semi-finals and finally the final rounds. This year, the finals will be held in the new ICC premises for the first time.
Shreya Vajpei: In your opinion, how does mooting benefit a law student?
Lieneke Louman: I’m pretty sure that in India it happens a lot during the university. However, it is different in the Netherlands. I studied law in the Netherlands and we had one subject that was mooting. And for the [the other subjects], it was just something you saw on the television.
So, I think for a lot of teams, it’s the first time they can show in practice what they learned. And when you put stuff in practice, you learn it even better. You go deeper into it than by just reading about it.