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UCL students excel in European Court  of Human Rights moot

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Mooting students with ECHR judges

It was a long, but rewarding journey, for the four finalists from UCL. After months of rigorous preparation, on the 13 April 2012, before three distinguished judges from the European Court of Human Rights, where they would take part in the final round of the 2012 UCL European Court of Human Rights Moot.

Held in the Grand Chamber of the Court in Strasbourg, UCL’s four finest human rights oralists were given the privilege to plead before some of the most prestigious legal personalities from the continent, in the field of Human Rights Law. Presiding over the finals were, their Excellencies, Section President Dean Spielmann (Luxembourg), Judge Ledi Bianku (Albania) and Judge Julia Laffranque (Estonia).

Having to argue on the hypothetical case of the “Princess Royal”, on facts similar to those of von Hannover (No. 1), the finalists shaped their argument around two main grounds of appeal. The first involved a decision by the United Kingdom that pictures of the Princess kissing her partner were not within the scope of Art. 8 (1). The second involved Articles 8 and 10 ECHR, and the question whether the subsequent publication should have been restricted. All present to watch the moot agreed that it was as enlightening as it was entertaining. It was after all a rare chance for mere students to, not only practice their advocacy skills, but also test out their theoretical argument before members of the actual Court.

Mr. Justin Krahé was awarded Best Oralist, Mr. Daniel Viñas-Boreland Second Best Oralist, and LLM Students Mr. Daragh Gleeson and Mr. Gabriele Ruberto came in Third and Fourth respectively. All four speakers were commended by the judges for their insightful arguments; comprehensive understanding of the law; and their sense of collectedness as they calmly handled the intense scrutiny of the judges. In fact, so impressed were the judges by the caliber of the finalists, they decided to probe the four UCL students for their opinions on the very current and still controversial Brighton Declaration, right after the moot; like an impromptu ‘Final Question Component’ of the competition, which all the speakers rose to, without doubt or hesitation.    

The 2012 UCL European Court of Human Rights Moot was, for the fourth consecutive year, successfully organized by the UCL Students’ Human Rights Programme (UCLSHRP) in collaboration with the UCL Institute for Human Rights. The UCLSHRP has always provided various opportunities to UCL students to pursue their passion in human rights through a wide variety of activities and programmes. The European Court of Human Rights Moot, in particular, is unique as it not only promotes awareness of the ECHR, but has now turned into an established path of communication between academia and the highest level of judiciary.

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