International Rounds 2014

35 teams gathered in Oxford from 1-4 April, 2014 for the 7th edition of the International Rounds of the Monroe Price Media Law Moot Court Competition. Countries represented in the competition included the USA, Brazil, India, Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Croatia, Greece, Kenya and Australia among others. Thanks to the addition of two new regional rounds (East Africa and China) through the past year, the competition has been more engaging and selective than ever.

The participants argued a case concerning the legal safeguards for journalists vis-à-vis non-professional news disseminators, on-line privacy, data protection and Internet regulation before highly qualified benches of internationally renowned academics, practitioners and lawyers from the media and ICT industries serving as judges. After three days of passionate arguments, India’s Jindal Global Law School – winners of the Regional Rounds in South Asia this year – and the University of Oxford emerged as the two finalists over a roster of teams who qualified for the advanced rounds that included Brooklyn Law School (USA), Hugh Wooding Law School (Trinidad & Tobago), University of Technology of Sydney (Australia), Queen Mary University of London (UK), Singapore Management University and China University of Political Science and Law in the quarter-finals. The finals bench was chaired by Justice Elsie Thompson Nwanwuri of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and comprised Mr Desmond Browne QC, Mr Xiongshan Cai of Tencent, Mr Mark Stephens CBE and Ms Gill Phillips of the Guardian; after the oralists of the two teams deployed their most refined arguments, the eminent judges declared the team from India the overall winners of the competition.

The competition offered as usual a rich programme of academic and social events, supported by the Internet company Tencent, the Guardian newspaper, Shell International and the law firm Amarchand Mangaldas. The activities included a panel discussion on the Snowden case, the Twitter ban in Turkey and the future of journalistic ethics, and a workshop on how to submit complaints to the United Nations Special Procedures in order to secure freedom of expression facilitated by experienced lawyers from the Media Legal Defence Initiative, Garden Court Chambers as well as a Human Rights Officer.

The four days of the competition have been a chance for students, academics and practitioners with an interest in media and ICT law and in freedom of expression issues to come to Oxford from all over the world and advance their knowledge in a diverse and friendly environment.