The ELSA Moot Court Competition entails a simulated WTO dispute involving exchanges of written submissions and hearings before panellists on international trade law issues. This year more than 100 teams of students from around the world sent in written submissions regarding a fictitious case dealing with measures affecting the agricultural sector.

After the regional rounds in Manila, Washington DC, Halle, Bucharest and Johannesburg, the best 20 teams came to Geneva to take part in the final round. These teams were from 12 countries across five continents.

West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences of Kolkata, India, emerged as the winner, with the team from National Law University, Jodhpur, the runner-up. The Final Bench of distinguished panellists was chaired by former Appellate Body member A.V. Ganesan while WTO Deputy Director-General Karl Brauner served as Master of Ceremonies.

The competition included students of diverse backgrounds who produced high-quality legal arguments on cutting-edge issues of WTO law. The final oral round provided them with the opportunity to meet their fellow students from around the world and to see trade law in action. One of the aims of this competition is to encourage and develop the next generation of WTO experts.

The WTO has been a sponsor and partner in the ELSA competition since its inception 13 years ago. It is an example of the WTO's broad support for capacity building over its 20 year history. In the regional rounds, the WTO sends legal experts on technical assistance missions to act as panellists. WTO staff members also advise ELSA on the academic aspects of running the competition and are integral to planning the final oral round held in Geneva. Through the contribution of Norway to the Global Trust Fund, the WTO provided funding this year to help the top African teams (University of Pretoria and Rhodes University from South Africa and the National University of Lesotho) attend the final round.

During the week, participants met with practitioners in law firms, delegations and the WTO Secretariat. As part of the capacity-building aspect of the competition, the WTO hosted a lunch for the African students to meet their ambassadors and African colleagues. The WTO also hosted a panel discussion – with representatives from the WTO, private practice, non-governmental organizations and other intergovernmental organizations - to discuss career possibilities in trade law.

WTO staff members from the Legal Affairs Division, the Rules Division, the Appellate Body Secretariat, the Institute for Training and

Technical Cooperation, the Development Division, and the Director General’s Office assisted with various aspects of the moot court. Private law firms, the Advisory Centre on WTO Law and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development  also made contributions to the smooth running of the African and final rounds. The World Trade Institute and IELPO at the University of Barcelona provided support by offering prizes to the winning teams while the Graduate Institute in Geneva hosted the preliminary rounds of the finals.

To learn more about the competition and the upcoming 14th edition see http://www.elsamootcourt.org

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