The International Law Students Association (ILSA), the organization responsible for administering the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, is soliciting proposals for issues to be addressed in the 2020 Jessup Problem (a.k.a. the Jessup Compromis). Proposals must be submitted to ILSA’s Executive Director, Lesley Benn, at LBenn@ILSA.org, by 1 February 2019.
Each year, the Jessup Problem presents a dispute between fictional countries, to be argued before the International Court of Justice. Proposals should take the form of high-level outlines of legal issues. They may include a short summary of facts, and should consist of no more than 1,000 words. ILSA accepts proposals from solo authors or from groups of authors. Proposals should identify four interesting, important, and timely issues of international law, along with any critical sub-issues or secondary issues, to be addressed in the Compromis. The issues should be balanced, legally and morally, permitting both sides to present strong arguments on each. For 2020, author(s) are encouraged (though not required) to include in their proposals an issue concerning jurisdiction/admissibility, or a similar important procedural element. Along with the proposals, authors should provide: (1) a resumé or CV for each member of the group; (2) one or more writing sample(s) on an international law topic; and (3) a list of legal experts who might be consulted on the topics being proposed. Complete draft Compromis are not appropriate at this stage.
A committee of international legal experts will consider the submissions in early February 2019. During its deliberations, the committee may request candidates to submit additional materials or to answer questions about their proposals. The committee’s selection criteria will include: (1) whether the proposal clearly identifies legal issues and sub-issues or secondary issues that will need to be considered in order for questions to be addressed properly; (2) the overall balance of the questions presented, permitting argument on both sides; and (3) whether the issues can be built into a fact pattern that is realistic, engaging and provocative, from both legal and narrative perspectives. Authors whose proposals are selected for further consideration in a subsequent evaluation phase will be notified and may be asked to submit more robust outlines and/or first drafts prior to a final decision.
Past authors have included international judges, international organization officials, and leading academics and practitioners. Although ILSA does not provide an honorarium or other compensation, the author receives recognition at the World Championship Round in Washington, DC, in the Jessup issue of the ILSA Quarterly, and in the annual volume of the Jessup Compendium published by William S. Hein & Co., Inc. Authors may also be invited to judge late-stage rounds or to speak on a panel at the International Rounds.
Following selection, the author(s) will be expected: (1) to create, with the guidance of the ILSA Executive Office, an initial draft of the Compromis, with full factual development, in the weeks following the 2019 International Rounds; (2) to work with the Executive Office and editorial committee to refine and rework the Compromis until its release to the public, typically in early September; (3) to create an initial draft of the Bench Memorandum, a guide to assist judges of memorials and oral arguments, during the fall of 2019; (4) to participate in the Corrections and Clarifications process; and (5) to assist in creating two lists of basic research materials to be provided to student competitors.
ILSA retains editorial control over and ownership of all Jessup Competition materials, including the Compromis.
Problems from recent years are available for reference in Jessup History, available on ILSA’s website.