“Modern problems require modern solutions” – adapting ELSA UK’S MCC to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 28th, 2020, the ELSA United Kingdom Commercial Law Moot Court Competition (COMMOOT) held its Final Preliminary Rounds.
Like all other social activities, the planned event was largely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing up to the growing governmental restrictions while advocating for the importance of social distancing and self-isolation, the Organising Committee of the competition explored the opportunities of digitisation. This led not only to the first-ever digital edition of COMMOOT, but also to one of the first fully digitised moot court competitions.
In order to achieve this, the Organising Committee modeled the competition on ELSA International’s amendments to the Regional Rounds of the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition (JHJMCC). Thus, within the span of a few days, ELSA UK was able to produce the amended regulations reflecting the updated version for the Final of COMMOOT.
As a result, the Final of COMMOOT is now divided into two parts, with the Final Preliminary Rounds already held online through the Microsoft Teams software. In the form of a video call, two opposing teams presented their submissions arguing for either the Claimants or Respondents much like they would have in a physical event. With no technical issues arising, the Judges provided judicial interventions and feedback to the teams while also scoring their abilities. Clerks ensured the smooth running of the process. This process would then be repeated for a second time, where each team pleaded for the opposing counsel to what they had in the previous Round.
The online Rounds revealed a number of positive surprises. Despite taking away some aspects of physical mooting, the online edition allowed to make the best out of today’s digital opportunities, all from the comfort of one’s home! One such benefit was the expansion of the judging panel so as to include international judges. As such Mrs. Begüm Durukan Özaydın, Founding Partner of the International and Turkish law firm, Durukan + Partners, did ELSA UK the honour of taking part in the Competition.
We were just as honoured to welcome Mr. Michael Field, Barrister and Partner at Freemans’ Solicitors; Mr. Mohammad AlZibdeh, an alumnus of our network; and Mr. Sham Khan, a trainee solicitor at Macfarlanes. Ms. Ruth Whittaker, once again, joined us to judge our Moot Court Competitions, describing ELSA UK’s efforts as “plenty” yet “seamless”.
The success of the event was further confirmed by the participants’ positive feedback. Amongst others, Team 1’s Umaar Kazmi was “glad” his initial skepticism of mooting via webcam was rebutted by the fact that his Team’s “performances weren’t hindered”.
ELSA UK is proud of having immediately risen up to the challenge and allowed the competition to continue regardless of the present circumstances. We hope to inspire our network to use technology to develop and improve during these times. We are also thrilled to soon discover which two Teams will access the second part of COMMOOT 2020’s Final!
The Grand Final will be held in person and, for this reason, is postponed indefinitely. Whenever it may be, we hope to have many of you connected through our Facebook Livestream and wish the participating teams the best of luck!