Strathmore, Kabarak set for global moot race

Kabarak University VC Prof Henry Kiplagat with Kabarak University students who emerged second in the John H Jackson moot competition on April 21, 2024. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Law students from Kabarak and Strathmore Universities will represent Africa in the world John H. Jackson Moot Court competitions in Geneva, Switzerland in June 2024.

The two were picked after Strathmore emerged at the top and Kabarak as the runners-up during the competition’s 11th edition of the African Rounds held at Kabarak University last week.

Speaking during the awards ceremony, Kabarak University Vice Chancellor Prof Henry Kiplagat lauded the institution’s School of Law performance in the week-long competitions.

“I am delighted in the performance of our Law students who are now set for the global rounds of the John H Jackson Moot Court Competition to be held in Geneva,” said Prof Kiplagat.

The competitions are organized annually by the European Law Students Association (ELSA) in collaboration with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

During the competitions, the law students participate in simulated hearings of cases which serve as a platform for exposure and bolster their interest in international trade law litigation.

Prof Kiplagat noted that hosting the regional event at Kabarak’s School of Law was a great honor to the university, Nakuru, and the country.

“Your presence on our campus exemplifies the eminent position our School of Law has taken as a leader in legal education in this country and the East African region,” he said.

Maciej Lodzinsk, the vice president in charge of competitions at ELSA noted that the participation of the law students was inspiring and an assurance of a next generation of lawyers in international trade matters.

“This was an unforgettable event. The coaches and panelists have made the participants and winners ready for the global challenge coming up in Geneva,” said Mr Lodzinski.

Dr Paul K’angira, a director at the Ministry of Trade and Industry termed the moot court as relevant for the country noting that it honed the skills of upcoming Kenyan lawyers at the international level.

“As a Ministry, we do trade negotiations, and with skills from competitions such as this one, we are assured of a valuable team of future lawyers to stand for Kenya in international negotiations,” said Dr K’angira.

The Director noted that the upcoming legal practitioners and advocates have to uphold principles of justice, fairness, and rule of law in international trade practice.

“In today’s interconnected world where global trade has become the cornerstone for economic prosperity and development, the importance of understanding and interpreting international trade law cannot be overstated,” he said.

K’angira added that rules governing international trade play a crucial role in shaping and resolving disputes between and among states.

“As you head for the global competitions, always note that the moot court is not just about winning or losing. Rather it is about learning and pushing the boundaries of your skills and embracing the skills of collaboration, respect, and intellectual curiosity,” he added.

Georgiadis Khaseke from Mohammed Muigai Advocates who were among the sponsors committed to continue supporting events of mutual interests with Kabarak saying that this will help churn out valuable legal practitioners for the country.

“We also challenge participants who qualified for the global competitions to carry the African flag even higher and bring the trophy home,” said Mr Khaseke.

Nahom Teklewold, a trade expert at UNECA underscored that the moot court will go a long way in changing the legal landscape of African countries.

“Moot court demands meticulous research and sharp legal minds. Africa is a land of rich culture, history, and immense potential and continues to evolve especially under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area,” said Mr Teklewold.

Pablo Moya, a legal officer at WTO described the competition as a key capacity-building activity that the organization will continue to support.

“Preparing for this competition takes a lot of time and resources. It is however a worthy investment from the many involved institutions. You leave here as different people,” said Mr Moya.