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Tanja Sheikhi, the Vice President for Moot Court Competitions at European Law Student’s Association (ELSA) is the main coordinator for the ELSA WTO Moot Court Competition.
In this e-mail interview, Shreya Vajpei talks to her about the process of organising the moot, the importance of student-run organisations and her journey at ELSA.
Shreya Vajpei: What is the structure of the organizing committee for ELSA WTO Moot Court Competition? What is each member’s responsibility and how are they inducted?
Tanja Sheikhi: The ELSA Moot Court Competition on WTO Law (EMC2) is organized by ELSA International, in close co-operation with the WTO. The main coordinator of the competition and of the organizing committee, is the Vice President of Moot Court Competitions (VP MCC). This person is a member of the executive board of ELSA International. The committee also consists of 2 assistants who have been working very closely with the VP MCC since September and their main responsibilities are communication with teams and administration of written submissions and other information.
There are many important responsibilities and details which need to be considered when organizing such an immense competition as EMC2. Throughout the year, the promotion material and all financial matters are handled by the responsible person in the International board of ELSA together with the VP MCC. The Final Oral Round (FOR) in Geneva is mainly organized by ELSA International, the organizing committee consists of two assistants as well as of 4-5 members of the International board of ELSA, mainly the VP MCC and the board members who have been working with the promotion, sponsors and the financial aspect of the competition. Additionally, 3-4 people are elected to work on the FOR and their main tasks are logistics, administration, social program and support in Geneva during the FOR since the majority of the work will take place during the final itself.
Shreya Vajpei: What is the process of conducting the Moot Court Competition? How do you find sponsors?
Tanja Sheikhi: The competition has now been organized for almost 14 years. The EMC2 has been supported by the WTO itself from the very first edition, and ELSA is very honored for this successful collaboration.
Trade law experts from international organizations, institutions and law firms from all over the world have supported the process of conducting the competition in different aspects, such as finding the suitable case author and improving the academic aspect of the competition year after year.
ELSA has been lucky to secure financial support from different sponsors and as the competition is growing, we always seek for further collaborations.
Shreya Vajpei: Many Indian teams have praised the standard of judges in the ELSA WTO Moot. How do you select the judges ?
Tanja Sheikhi: ELSA has had the privilege to secure the academic quality of the competition by having numerous WTO law experts acting as panelists. After almost 14 years we are very proud to present the list of names of people acting as panelists in the EMC2.
Previous and current appellate body members, WTO staff, international trade lawyers and professors, and the list continues. Panelists should have a significant background in WTO Law and recently we established an application for people who are interested to act as panelists.
Shreya Vajpei: ELSA is a student-run organization. What is the importance of such organisations for a law student?
Tanja Sheikhi: “A just world in which there is respect for human dignity and cultural diversity”, is the vision of ELSA. The existence of ELSA makes it possible for todays’ law students to gain practical knowledge and experience – something which is missing in today’s education. ELSA offers international exchange, soft skills development and above all, we are proud to be one of the most diverse student organization in the world with 40 000 members in 43 countries.
Shreya Vajpei: How was your journey at ELSA?
Tanja Sheikhi: I took the decision to join ELSA the first day I started law school. I became a member of my local group in the northernmost law faculty in Sweden, Umeå University, and my first project was to organize a “Legal English course” for the law students. There the passion of organizing academic activities started and I was an active officer on both local and national level in ELSA Sweden. The international character of ELSA motivated and impressed me. Therefore I participated in international events and I was completely hooked!
In 2014 I took the decision to run for the International board of ELSA. Together with 7 other inspiring people from different countries, I have had the honor to coordinate our two international moot court competitions – The ELSA Moot Court Competition on WTO & The European Human Rights Moot Court Competition.
Shreya Vajpei: In your opinion how does mooting benefit a law student?
Tanja Sheikhi: Mooting in different competitions will give you the priceless experience to do legal research, write legal text and to argue and plead a case in front of experts. Practical experience is, in my opinion, the essence of legal education – mooting will prepare you for your future job as a lawyer and the experience will be unforgettable.