Jessup is the world's largest moot court competition, with participants from over 680 law schools in 100 countries and jurisdictions. The Competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. One team is allowed to participate from every eligible school. Teams prepare oral and written pleadings arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case.
The Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition is an advocacy competition for law students. Teams of law students compete against one another through the presentation of oral and written pleadings to address timely issues of public international law in the context of a hypothetical legal dispute between nations. The Compromis is the springboard for the Jessup Competition. Written by leading scholars of international law, the Compromis is a compilation of agreed upon facts about the dispute that is submitted for adjudication to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. After the Compromis is released, students begin researching and preparing arguments for both sides of the dispute, drafting and editing written pleadings, called “memorials,” and practicing oral presentations. Each team prepares two written memorials and two 45-minute oral presentations, one for each party to the dispute (the “Applicant” and the “Respondent”). Teams argue alternately as Applicant and Respondent against competing teams before a panel of judges, simulating a proceeding before the International Court of Justice.
The Jessup is one of those incredibly rare experiences that transcends law school and impacts your life for decades thereafter. It will undoubtedly provide you with the skills necessary to become a great lawyer, but it is the Jessup competition’s teaching of reason, civility, empathy, compromise and respect for others which will make you a better person and the world a better place.
Whether you are a student, lawyer, law firm or simply a friend of the Jessup, find out how you can get involved with the competition. Competitors, judges, volunteers, and sponsors are all an essential part of the success of the Jessup Competition.
Each year, Jessup competitors vie for several awards in addition to the Jessup Cup awarded to the winners of the White & Case International Rounds. Click below to learn more about these awards.
Hardy C. Dillard Award
This Award is named in honor of the late Judge Dillard of the International Court of Justice, who was a longtime supporter of the Jessup Competition. The Award is an extension of the US Rutgers Award, initiated at Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey, in 1973.
The Award is presented to Teams for excellence in Memorial writing by comparing top Memorials across participating jurisdictions. Memorials of the Teams scoring the highest at Qualifying Rounds, and Memorials of the Teams scoring in the top 20 at the White & Case International Rounds are considered for the Award.
Awards will be presented to the top five scoring Teams.
Alona E. Evans Award
This Award is named in honor of the late Professor Evans, the first woman to be elected President of the American Society of International Law, and a faithful supporter of the Competition.
The Award is presented to Teams for excellence in Memorial writing at the White & Case International Rounds. Awards will be presented to the top ten scoring Teams based on total Memorial scores.
Richard R. Baxter Award
This Award is named in honor of the late Richard Baxter, who served as Judge of the International Court of Justice, and who was an eminent and pioneering scholar of International Law.
The Award is presented to Teams for excellence in Memorial writing by comparing individual Applicant and Respondent Memorials. The Applicant and Respondent Memorials of Teams that receive the Alona E. Evans Award and/or the Hardy C. Dillard Award are considered for the Richard R. Baxter Award. One award will be given to the Best Overall Applicant Memorial and one award will be given to the Best Overall Respondent Memorial. Both winning memorials will be published in the ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law.
Stephen M. Schwebel Award
This Award is named in honor of Stephen M. Schwebel, a jurist and expert on international law who served as a Judge of the International Court of Justice from 1981 to 2000 and as the Court’s President from 1997 to 2000. In 1959, as a young Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard University, Judge Schwebel established an international law moot court competition, which we recognize today as the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.
The Award is presented to the best oralist of the World Championship Round.
The Steven M. Schneebaum Award
This Award is named in honor of Steven M. Schneebaum, an American attorney and scholar who specializes in international dispute resolution and complex litigation. Mr. Schneebaum has filled a critical role in the organization and administration of the Jessup Competition for decades. Among other positions, he has served as a Compromis Author, Chairman of the ILSA Board of Directors, Jessup Coach, and Jessup Judge. The award is presented to a National Administrator for outstanding service and dedication to the Jessup Competition.
The Francis Deak Award
The Deak Award is a prize provided by Oxford University Press for the best international law student article in a student-edited law journal. The award honors Francis Deak, a World War II veteran who wrote extensively on international law. The award is the student equivalent of the ASIL Deak Award, which is presented to the author of the best article of the year in the American Journal of International Law.
The Pamela M. Young Award
Created in 1993 in honor of Pamela Young, Assistant Jessup Administrator from 1974 to 1994, this Award recognizes the outstanding volunteer service of individuals to the Jessup Competition.
The Spirit of the Jessup Award
The Spirit of the Jessup Award was created in 1996 to recognize the Team that best exemplifies the Jessup spirit of camaraderie, academic excellence, competitiveness, and appreciation of fellow competitors. This award is voted upon by the Jessup participants themselves, and is intended to establish the standard to which all participants should strive to govern their performance and professional demeanor.
International Law Institute Award
This Award is given by the International Law Institute (ILI) to the top-ranked oralist from the non-native English-speaking Team with the Best Memorials in the White & Case International Rounds. The recipient receives a full tuition scholarship for ILI’s course “Orientation in the US Legal System.”
The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition has been held every year since 1960. Click below to learn more about previous editions of the Jessup.