Video shot and edited by © Wyatt Rockefeller
Origins of the Programme
The Price Media Law Moot Court Programme was established in 2008 with the first International Rounds in Oxford in order to foster an interest in international law governing freedom of expression issues. The Programme is named in honour of Professor Monroe E. Price, the founder of the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP) at the University of Oxford’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, in recognition of his lifelong devotion and outstanding contribution to the development of media freedom and the rule of law.
Oxford International Rounds
Since its launch four years ago, the Price Media Law Moot Court Programme has increased in size and geographical diversity each year. In March 2012, we welcomed more than 150 students from 35 law schools around the world to the International Rounds in Oxford to argue a case regarding the rule of law and international norms for freedom of expression. In some cases, the students, coaches and judges deal with issues that are rarely debated or discussed in their own countries. Participants come from countries as diverse as China, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Georgia, Kenya and Korea. While we do not exclude participation from Europe and North America, the programme is focused on attracting and supporting students from developing countries or countries where freedom of expression is challenged. More than 65 individuals from media, NGOs, academe, law firms and courts were involved as judges for the oral rounds. In April 2013, PCMLP hosted the largest ever International Rounds with 40 teams from all over the world. For more information, or if you would like to apply to participate in this competition, please see the upcoming Oxford competition page.
The Programme is now becoming truly global. In December 2010 we launched the first of a series of national rounds for the moot court competition. The first ever Price Media Law Moot Court Competition – National Rounds in India was held in Delhi in collaboration with the National Law University, Delhi and the National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. In 2012, the competition held in India was expanded to include teams from not just all over India, but from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, making this competition into a Regional Round. Additional regional rounds have been established in the Middle East, South East Europe and the Americas; new Regional Rounds are about to be launched in Eastern Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) and Pacific Asia (Beijing, China) between December 2013 and January 2014. For more details about our many new and upcoming competitions, please see the Upcoming Competitions section of our website.
More than just a Moot Court
The Price Media Law Moot Court Programme is more than a moot court. More broadly, the Moot Court Programme is also a tool for raising the profile of freedom of expression by bringing informed and effective debate and discussion on significant issues of information flows and technology to many parts of the world. The Moot Courts themselves are a training exercise for all involved. Students must do extensive research on cases and law relating to freedom of expression. Participants that come to serve as judges, including actual judges, as well as members of advocacy organizations and practicing lawyers, are required to familiarize themselves with the issues at hand before they adjudicate. Each moot court is also accompanied by a seminar on an issue of international importance. For example, the 2011 International Rounds in Oxford included a seminar on the Wikileaks controversy led by a lawyer who had previously been part of the defense of Julian Assange. Many of our competitions also include detailed workshops. Our 2010 and 2011 National Rounds in India, for example, included a 2-day workshop on comparative perspectives on media regulation and society in India. The 2013 International Rounds hosted a workshop on the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression delivered with the Media Legal Defence Initiative and Garden Court Chambers.
For more information about the other research projects and workshops that we’ve done that make the Price Media Law Moot Court Programme more than a moot court, please see our section on this website on Research.