UP Law Moot Society wins regional international rounds of Monroe E Price Media Law Moot Court Competition

Posted on May 11, 2021

The University of Pretoria’s (UP) Moot Society team recently emerged as regional winners of the 2020/2021 Monroe E Price Media Law Moot Court Competition.

The competition is coordinated and hosted by the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights in the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford. According to Price Media: “The competition aims to foster and cultivate interest in freedom of expression issues and the role of the media and information technologies in societies around the world.”

The team prepared for almost seven months for their maiden participation in April 2021. The Faculty of Law (UP Law) Price Team beat the University of Malaysia in the final international regional rounds, and was placed first for memorials. To top it all, UP Law’s Julia Tosi ranked as second best oralist. The UP Law team competed in the international rounds of this grand slam moot, attaining an average of 83% for their oral advocacy skills and 87% for their memorials.

“The peer training of mooters in UP Law remains highly effective and a feather in the cap of all previous and current mooters,” said Dean of UP Law Professor Elsabe Schoeman. “Transferring research and advocacy skills from generation to generation is key. Not only does it prepare and motivate our students for the actual work world, but it also inspires and motivates them. The proof is in the UP Law mooting legacy – reaping the harvest from the past and planting the mooting seeds for tomorrow.”

At internationals, the Price Team competed against the 30 best teams globally, achieving convincing scores across the board. “The 2021 Monroe E Price Media Moot Court Competition was a great competition and it was an honour to participate in one of the world’s grand slam moot court competitions,” said coach Kyle Cloete. “Being a co-coach for the Price Media team was an extremely valuable journey,” said Dindendri Pillay. “Few things are more fulfilling than witnessing the development of a team, one that is enthusiastic to work hard and sacrifice the time it takes to make a great moot. Having to grapple with nuanced and topical issues about freedom of expression and assembly during a health crisis was especially interesting.”

The Price was a whirlwind of an experience, said team member Lauren Webber. “It was a challenging but phenomenal journey, and proved to be very rewarding. I have grown as an individual and mooter, and cumulated noteworthy skills and knowledge to assist me moving forward. I can only imagine how extraordinary it would have been to travel to and interact with different countries.”

“It has been the most rewarding and enjoyable experience as well as the most challenging one!” added Julia Tosi. “This team has pushed me beyond my limits, in the best way possible. I believe we have all grown, not only as mooters, but as people. The personal growth and reflection required during a moot is like nothing I have ever experienced.”

Researcher Heinrich Nienaber notes that in late October of 2020, the Price Media team began its journey into the world of international law. “In the midst of a tumultuous academic semester, we were scrambling through the internet, reading treaties, United Nations General Comments and Special Rapporteur reports, as well as searching for the golden nuggets in international cases. At the centre of this vast legal landscape of international law, sources were the facts of the case, and of course, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Enshrined in this Covenant are the rights to freedom of expression and freedom to peaceful assembly, respectively. These are rights that so many around the world cannot enjoy, and rights that so many governments stubbornly infringe upon.

“Looking back at the nearly seven months we spent forming arguments, doing research, fixing up footnotes, rehearsing oral rounds and formulating answers to potential questions from the judges, I now realise that, at the heart of it all, the 2020/2021 Price Media moot was about the fundamental rights of human beings around the globe, rights that all people should enjoy and rights that all governments should guarantee. In our team, Price Media has instilled a passion for international law, a steadfast belief in civil and political rights and a burning hope that every country will recognise these rights as fundamental to a just, fair society.”

The team extends its gratitude to UP Law and the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa for its generous support, and a special thank-you to the late Prof Christof Heyns.


Click here for a full breakdown of the results of the final international rounds of this competition.

Below:  The UP Law Price team after their victory in the Africa Regional Rounds in March 2021.

- Author Elzet Hurter

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