A total of 76 universities representing 37 WTO members and observers participated in regional rounds held in February and May 2020. Two European rounds took place in person in February and early March in Kiev (Ukraine) and Brno (the Czech Republic). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, four regional rounds (American, African and South- and East- Asian) took place virtually. The top 20 teams from regional rounds qualified for the final round held on 22-28 June.

After four days of competition among the best in the world, four teams qualified for the semi-finals: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia), University of Geneva (Switzerland) and Government Law College, Mumbai (India).

The winning team for Government Law College was composed of Ms. Sharnam Vaswani, Ms. Urshila Samant, Ms. Drashti Gala, and Ms. Niyati Karia. They also won the prize for the best team from a developing country. The best orator of the Grand Final was Ms. Samant. National University of Singapore won the prize for the best overall written submissions.

The John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition is a simulated hearing under the rules of the WTO dispute settlement system involving exchanges of written submissions and adversarial hearings before panelists on international trade law issues. The competition is organized by the European Law Students' Association (ELSA) with the technical support of the WTO. In 2018, the competition was named after John H. Jackson, an eminent scholar and a forefather of the multilateral trading system.

As part of the competition, teams prepare and analyse a fictitious case and present their arguments both as a complainant and a respondent in front of a panel that consists of international trade law experts. This year the case, authored by Geraldo Vidigal, Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), touched on important issues arising under the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures Agreement, such as recognition of equivalence and application of SPS measures in the context of a regional trade agreement. The case also raised issues regarding most favoured nation treatment under Article I:1 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 and general exceptions under Article XX and the exception for regional integration under Article XXIV of the GATT 1994.

Winners of individual and team awards received prizes from the WTO and from the competition's academic supporters — Georgetown University, World Trade Institute, IE University and European Public Law Organization.

The WTO has been a technical sponsor and partner in the competition since its inception in 2002-2003. The Jackson Moot Court Competition is an example of the WTO's broad support for capacity building. The WTO sends legal experts to the regional rounds as panelists and traditionally hosts the final oral round at its headquarters in Geneva. This year WTO staff members participated virtually as panelists for written submissions and oral pleadings. Moreover, WTO SPS experts held an interactive session with students on the WTO's work in the SPS field. WTO staff members also advise ELSA on the logistical and academic aspects of running the competition.

For more information about the John H. Jackson competition, visit its website here.




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