November 27 is European Law Students’ Day. The Council of Europe celebrates the day with a variety of events, including Moot Courts. Each year the Council of Europe proposes the Association’s direction in accordance with an article of the European Convention on Human Rights. This time, the right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, has been proposed. Therefore, the events are organized under the heading “Freedom of Expression Online”.
This year for the first time an inter-university Moot Court Competition on human rights was held with the participation of students from Armenian universities. The Moot Court Competition was organized by the “Armenian Association of European Law Students” NGO and the Bureau of the Representative of the Republic of Armenia to the European Court of Human Rights of the Office of the Prime Minister.
The main purpose of the Moot Court was to transfer and deepen knowledge on European Court of Human Rights and the mechanisms of protection of rights underlying the Convention among law students. Both the oral and written rounds of the Moot Court are as close as possible to the actual proceedings at the European Court of Human Rights.
The professional working group assessing the positions presented in the written round of the Moot Court and the judges evaluating the oral round include representatives from state bodies and NGOs, professors, lawyers, human rights professionals.
“The Moot Court unexpectedly aroused great interest among law students studying at Armenian universities,” said Arpine Arakelyan, President of the Armenian Association of European Law Students. We posted an announcement on the website and sent individual invitations to the deans of law departments at universities. As a result, 13 teams applied to participate. At the same time, from several universities more than one team applied.”
All teams were given the opportunity to participate in the written round of the Moot Court, where they were required to submit two positions: the applicant’s and the government’s. Only six out of the 13 participating teams have passed the threshold for this stage and have been given the opportunity to participate in the oral stage.
The quarter-final and the semi-final of the oral round took place on November 23th at the Public Administration Academy of RA.
Before the start of the Moot Court Arpine Arakelyan, President of the Armenian Association of European Law Students, welcomed the participating students and judges who were invited to judge the game. She expressed her special gratitude to the Bureau of the RA Representative to the ECHR for making the Moot Court come true.
In his speech before the students the Representative of Armenia to the ECHR Yeghishe Kirakosyan noted that acquisition of knowledge on the ECHR is actually very important.
“A number of moot courts have already taken place in Armenia, but this is the first time it has been dedicated to the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights. I am confident that this will be an additional impetus for students to study the field better and to better understand the European Court, the case-law of the Court, the peculiarities of the Convention.”
Yeghishe Kirakosyan thinks that everything students learn from textbooks while studying is not enough.
“Events such as the moot court have a very important advantage. Here, students deal directly with real-life situations, with the opportunity to apply legal frameworks and norms for those situations. It forces them to think and act like a real lawyer, facing the kind of problems that lawyers face to justify this or that position. This is one of the most important stages in establishing oneself as a lawyer.”
As a result of the semi-final round two teams with the most points scored made it to the final, both from Yerevan State University. Which of them will be the winner of the Moot Court Competition will be announced after the final round, which will take place on November 27, the European Law Students’ Day.