About the Phillip C. Jessup Competition

The Phillip C. Jessup (Jessup) International Law Competition has been organized annually by the International Law Students Association (ILSA) with the support of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) since 1959. The Jessup problem is based on a fictitious pair of countries who have brought their (atypical) international legal dispute to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. They have also brought cases before the International Criminal Court.

ILSA releases the Jessup competition problem, known as a “Compromis,” each September. The memorials are submitted in early January. Once submitted, they cannot be revised should the team advance to internationals, and are reviewed by the judges at the regional and, if the team advances, at the international rounds. Past memorials from teams that advanced to the international rounds can be reviewed in the Law Library’s International section.

Teams prepare oral arguments and written briefs, the latter of which are known as “memorials.” Each team competes at the regional level, not only based on its oral advocacy skills, but also its legal writing skills. Each regional competition gives awards for the top oralists and best memorials, as well as the best team. The best team in a region also advances to the Shearman-Sterling International Rounds in Washington, D.C. each Winter.

The regional competition is held in late February at a different location each year. In 2005, the regional was held at the University of Alabama School of Law. Next year’s location will be announced during the Fall semester. Other teams in NSU’s region included the University of Alabama, Florida Coastal School of Law, Florida State, Franklin Pierce Law Center, the University of Georgia, Georgia State, University of Miami, University of Mississippi, St. Thomas University, Stetson University, and Tulane. Past competing schools in NSU’s region have also included the University of Florida and Emory University.

The international competition takes place in early March alongside ASIL's annual meeting. Competing teams come from the world over, with particularly fierce competition originating from Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Spain. For these reasons, participation in the Jessup competition is nationally appreciated, particularly among international law practitioners.Traditionally, the NSU Jessup Team is chosen in the Winter semester for the following year’s competition, after tryouts among the 1L, 2L, & 3L (evening) students. The team includes two, two-person teams and at least one alternate team member. Also, this year, for the first time in recent memory, the team will have a Brief Editor, who will have the responsibility of ensuring the briefs are of the highest quality of legal writing.

The team meets once in May and works, via the Internet and e-mail, during the summer to develop its knowledge of general international law. During the school year, the team will meet weekly, and as the competition gets closer, semi-weekly, to develop its oral arguments and memorials.

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