Environmental Law Program

ELP Co-Hosts the 2020 WCEL Climate Justice Moot Court

The William S. Richardson School of Law collaborated with the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law (WCEL) and the Normandy Chair for Peace in early December to host the virtual 2020 WCEL Climate Justice Moot Court.

Unlike other Moot Court competitions, student teams from the University of Cebu School of Law (Philippines); Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand); University of La Rochelle (France); University of Oslo (Norway); Strathmore University Law School (Kenya); and Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil) had the opportunity to work closely with experts around the world on their legal analysis and oral arguments.

The 2020 Moot Court centered around the following hypothetical problem as if it were presented to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion:

What are states’ obligations under international law to protect and conserve forests under their national jurisdiction, as a response to climate change and for the benefit of present and future generations?

Student teams then presented their oral arguments panels of sitting judges from around the world including:

Associate Justice Robert J. Torres, Supreme Court of Guam
Justice Nicola Pain, Land and Environment Court of New South Wales, Australia
Justice Millicent Odeny, High Court of Kenya
Justice Michelle Weekes, High Court of Barbados
Associate Justice Michael D. Wilson, Hawaiʻi Supreme Court

ELP Director David M. Forman co-organized the Moot Court and had high praise for the many people involved in the event, which required multiple virtual sessions and coordination across distant time zones.

“In addition to the students, coaches, judges and experts who volunteered their time, another team of volunteers made up of WCEL members around the globe provided input from the beginning and WCEL Executive Officer Emily Gaskin’s assistance with the transition to our first virtual moot court was invaluable,” he said. “Collaboration and cooperation are infectious too!”

The following individuals served as subject matter experts and coaches at the Moot Court:

Christina Voigt, University of Oslo (Norway)
Catherine Iorns Magallanes, Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)
Agnes Michelot, University of La Rochelle (France)
Emmah Senge, Strathmore University Law School (Kenya)
Jose Rubens Morate Leite, Federal University of Santa Catarina (Brazil)
Rose-Liza Osorio, University of Cebu School of Law (Philippines)
Kristine Joy Argallon, University of Cebu School of Law (Philippines)
Harro van Asselt, University of Eastern Finland (Finland)
Irina Krasnova, Department of Environmental and Land Use Law, Russian State University of Justice (Russia)
Annalisa Savaresi, University of Stirling (Scotland)
Geneviève Motard, University of Laval (Canada)
Ali Mekouar, Université de Casablanca (Marocco)
Jérôme Fromageau, Université Paris-Sud (France)
Erin Okuno, Stetson University (USA)
Achinthi Vithinage, George Washington University Law School (USA)
Maša Kovič-Dine, Faculty of Law, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Richard Wallsgrove, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (USA)
Claudia de Windt, Founding Partner & CEO, Inter-American Institute on Justice and Sustainability (USA)
Shalanda Baker, Northeastern University (USA)

A recording of the Moot Court and written student submissions will be posted to the WCEL website in the near future.

JU 1/28/21

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