UWindsor to host Inaugural Transnational Moot Court Competition
On March 26th and 27th, 2022, The Faculty of Law at the University of Windsor and The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law is hosting the inaugural “Canadian and American Transnational Law Moot”. The Transnational Moot competition is a historic milestone for the Dual JD program, which is the only comparative law program of its kind in North America, where law students can obtain both a Canadian and American JD in only 3 years.
For those who are not familiar, a Moot Court Competition is a co-curricular activity, in which participants take part in oral advocacy in a simulated court setting. This year, sixty competitors from both institutions, across both the Single and Dual JD program will partake before an esteemed panel of Judges. The final panel will consist of current and former deans of both law schools. The winning team will have their names engraved in the Transnational Moot Cup which will be displayed at both the law schools. The top oralist award will also be given to the student who the Judges felt consistently demonstrated the strongest oral advocacy skills.
Typically, this competition would be geared for second and third-year law students, but an exception was made to allow first-years to expand their experiential learning opportunities in a virtual setting.
The Moot is founded by Nickta Jowhari, a third-year Dual JD Law student with the support of the former Director of the Dual JD Program, Christina Loebach (the Assistant Dean of Finance and Administration) and current Director Katharine Fisher, who has played an integral role as a Faculty Advisor and Executive Chair of the Moot. Jowhari is grateful to Former Dean Christopher Waters and Phyllis L. Crocker, current Deans Jalani Jefferson Exum and Reem Bahdi’s who have all been instrumental in seeing this ambitious initiative come into fruition.
Jowhari says, “The Dual JD program allows students to learn comparative and analytical skills that come from understanding both U.S. Law and Canadian Law in a broader context. Students are able to immerse themselves in two distinct legal cultures and establish a strong foundation for practicing law in an increasingly globalized world. Both institutions pride themselves on their experiential learning opportunities and I believe now is the time to take the next step in recognizing this unique relationship, by creating a moot that teaches students to think critically and apply their transnational knowledge into practice.’’
As an alumni, her goal is to offer aid to the next Planning Committee to help the Moot continue to grow, by advocating for the Moot to be offered as an option to fulfill one of the Transnational Law prerequisite courses that law students are required to complete.
Second year Dual JD student Lilah (“Lily”) Vasilenko is Jowhari’s Co-Chair. She also saw this Moot as an opportunity to be part of a team that sees something historic being built, and Jowhari had previously been a mentor to her. The long term goal is to expand this to other law schools all across Canada and the US, which will boost cross-border tourism. “I believe this Moot will increase opportunities for Dual JD law students to be able to showcase the unique skill set that transnational lawyers offer to the legal community on both sides of the border.”
Vassilenko shares and supports Jowhari’s vision that the transnational Law Moot would be an optional for-credit moot competition. “There are presently no moots in existence that are uniquely tailored to the Dual JD program. I hope with the university’s continued support, we can collectively work towards making this a possibility.’’
Cameron Ho is a second-year Law student at the University of Windsor and an invaluable Executive Member of the Student Planning Committee. Ho says, “he joined the Transnational Moot because he wanted to be a part of something new; he started off researching case law for the Canadian side.”
Both Dual and Single JD students on both sides of the border are able to compete, and the team aspires for it to be the competition that both law schools are known for; one-day drawing competitors from law schools all across Michigan and Ontario. There are countless volunteers, student directors, and clerks who have made this day possible. Other invaluable members of the Executive Planning Team also consist of Katarina Tatomir, Hailey McGillivray, Talissa Mohamed, Matthew Oliver, Klayvon Hermz, and Emily Nolan.
The Transnational Law Moot Student Committee focused the problem on the dual criminality element, which requires competitors to prove whether the accused is guilty of the same crime in both the United States and Canada.
The case is about a foreign national who allegedly committed a financial crime and was arrested in Canada at the request of the US government. Jowhari was inspired by the extradition case of Meng Wanzhou (Huawei CFO) because “ it was a compelling case that truly tested the relationship between our two nations and had a profound impact on international relations.” Onlookers are interested in seeing if the outcome of the case would have differed when in the hands of students.
In the future, the committee will also offer clerking volunteer opportunities to undergraduate students. This allows them to obtain a glimpse of the world of law, obtain valuable volunteer experience that links them to the profession and perhaps even inspire them to be Moot competitors one day!
Click here for more information on the Transnational law moot.