Major injection for international law education in South Africa

The President of the South African Law Deans’ Association, Professor Letlhokwa George Mpedi, recently announced a partnership with global law firm White & Case LLP to support students from law faculties throughout South Africa to participate in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition (“Jessup”) for at least the next two years.

With more than 3,000 law students from 100+ countries participating annually, the Jessup is the largest moot court competition in the world and widely regarded as the most prestigious.

Teams must first compete in the South African National Rounds and the winning team will advance to represent South Africa in the White & Case Jessup International Rounds, or world championships, which take place in April every year in Washington, DC.

South African teams have been successful in the competition over the years—winning the coveted World Cup in 2002 and placing second and fifth more recently. However, many teams lack the funds to participate.
Participation by South African law faculties, especially those based outside the metropolitan areas, has dwindled in the past couple of years.

“The Jessup Competition teaches the next generation of international lawyers important skills they will use throughout their careers,” said Jacquelyn MacLennan, White & Case partner and Global Pro Bono Practice Leader. “We are pleased to help ensure that more law students throughout South Africa have this opportunity.”

Professor Hennie Strydom from the University of Johannesburg, who is also the President of the South African Branch of the International Law Association, said: “the Jessup competition is not only a premier educational and practical skills development event, but also a unique networking opportunity for students of international law”.

Prof Letlhokwa Mpedi, commented as follows: “We are immensely grateful for the kind and generous support provided by White and Case. This funding opportunity is undoubtedly going to make a significant contribution towards developing capacity in the field of international law in South Africa. I will most definitely encourage fellow deans of law faculties and heads of law schools in the country to ensure that their students enthusiastically take advantage of this opportunity and participate in the competition.”

Professor Christof Heyns from the University of Pretoria, who approached White and Case for the support, said: “There is exceptional talent to be found in all our law faculties. We need to make sure they are exposed to international law. Our goal is to ensure all 17 law faculties in South Africa get the benefit of participation at least in the national Jessup rounds this year – and in the future.”

The Jessup team registration deadline is 15 November 2019 (reduced rate). For more information on the Jessup in South Africa and how to get involved, please contact Natlie Rajah ([email protected]).