Duke Law team to participate in WTO Moot Court Competition finals

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Duke Law School’s International Moot Court team of 2Ls Ben Mitchell and Justin Sommers, 1L Scott Thompson, and LLM Shinjiro Takeda has been selected through an open competition to compete at the finals of the WTO Moot Court Competition April 25-30 in Geneva. The team’s advancement marks the first time a Duke Law team has been selected to participate in the international competition.

With the help of Jan Yves Remy, team coach and SJD candidate, the Duke Law team competed against teams from North America and Africa in the international written round of the competition to earn a spot in the Final Oral Round in Geneva.

“Only 18 teams selected from all over the world compete in this mother-of-all-trade-law competitions,” said Professor Joost Pauwelyn, the team’s faculty advisor. “It truly is like reaching the ‘sweet 18.’ It offers a unique opportunity for Duke Law to showcase its prominence in international law.”

This year the WTO case focuses on a dispute between two WTO Member States, one that subsidizes its agri-industry and one that does not. The state that does not subsidize believes that for this reason it cannot compete fairly with certain agri-products in the world market and claims that the agri-subsidies of the first Member State are in violation of both the Agreement on Agriculture, which prevents a member state from paying out more in subsidies that its scheduled commitments permit, and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement), which aims to curb the use of government assistance that gives producers an unfair advantage in the world market.

As the team prepares for the competition, their spirits and enthusiasm are high.

“I’m thrilled,” said team member Scott Thompson. “As a green 1L, it’s been an amazing pedagogical opportunity thus far working with Professor Pauwelyn, Jan Yves, and my brilliant teammates. The opportunity to present oral argument in front of experts in the field is an unparalleled experience that will no doubt leave us well equipped for our futures.”

“I am extremely proud to work with this amazing group of students,” Remy said. “They are a diverse group, but share a common purpose, dedication, and ability to do what it takes to get the job done.”