The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition


The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world's largest moot court competition, with participants from over 600 law schools in more than 90 countries. 

The first edition of the competition - back then simply named "International Law Moot" - took place on May 8, 1960, when two teams of students, all enrolled at Harvard University, discussed the very first Jessup Problem: "The Cuban Agrarian Reform Case". Renamed after Philip C. Jessup in 1963 and opened to non-US universities in 1969, the competition is today organised by the International Law Students Association (ILSA).

The Competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. Each Team, composed by 2 to 5 students enrolled at the same university, is requested to prepare written and oral pleadings arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case and to defend their case before a panel of 3 judges who will evaluate them based upon advocacy skills and knowledge of international law.


Who is Philip C. Jessup?

Philip C. Jessup was the United States representative to the International Court of Justice, who was elected by the United Nations to serve a nine-year term in 1961. Judge Jessup had a long and distinguished academic, judicial, and diplomatic career. He practiced law and taught at several American universities until 1961. Jessup was an assistant to Elihu Root during the 1929 Conference of Jurists on the Permanent Court of International Justice. He attended both the Bretton Woods and San Francisco Conferences, and played a key role in the formation of the International Law Commission.