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Rhodes > Latest News > 2014 Archive

I put it to you, they'll win

Date Released: Thu, 3 April 2014 09:45 +0200

Four Rhodes University students have just over a month in which to prepare to represent Africa at a law competition in Switzerland.

Final-year law students Oscar McGown-Withers, Deanne McKersie, BK Taoana and Jamie Foreman have been named as the African region winners of the European Law Student Association's International Moot Court Competition on World Trade Organisation (WTO) law.

The competition to select the representatives of the newly established African region was held at Wits University yesterday.

The Rhodes students will be joined in Geneva for the final round of the competition by students from the first and second runners-up, Haramaya University, in Ethiopia, and the National University of Lesotho.

The students said that adjusting to the court setting and arguing the case was challenging.

"It was the first time we have interacted with trade law in this way. We knew it only as a subject and from our textbooks," said Foreman.

The competition takes the form of a simulated hearing in a WTO court. Participants represent either the complainant or the respondent in a hypothetical case.

The case before the panel at Wits yesterday involved a developing country that complained about the failure of a developed country to honour a commitment to provide sewerage and water services.

The Rhodes students - who represented the respondent - argued that their client could not deliver the services because of changes in the regulatory environment of the developing country (complainant).

"It was difficult to gauge in advance the intensity of the competition, but we were well prepared," Taoana said.

The Rhodes team spent the Christmas holidays on Facebook and WhatsApp, and using e-mail, to practise with their coach and lecturer, Vicky Heldeman.

Their opponents from the Ethiopian university were not as fortunate and had to prepare on their own. Getahun Tuji, Barnabas Bernahu, Delil Hussen and Yidnekachew Tekle said that representing Africa in the competition was a privilege and that they were looking forward to returning to raise awareness of trade law both on- and off-campus.

Wits law lecturer Engela Schlemmer said students should be more aware of trade law "to help trade and development, and strengthen the African voice".

The competition takes the form of a simulated hearing in a WTO court. Participants represent either the complainant or the respondent in a hypothetical case.

By: Poppy Louw

Article Source: Times Live

Source:Times Live