From 7 to 10 April 2013, students and academics from the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Liège, Trier, Athens, Vienna, Tübingen and Naples gathered in Oxford for the Sixth International Roman Law Moot Court Competition – the first time this event has been held outside of Greece. Professor Tony Honoré, formerly Regius Professor of Civil Law in Oxford, graciously opened the event with some remarks connecting Roman law mooting with civil law litigation and instruction in Oxford.
At moots conducted in the St Cross Building (where the Cube particularly impressed the Tübingen delegation) and at All Souls College (where the Old Library impressed everyone), teams presented submissions in relation to an alleged servitude, the applicability of the interdictum de fonte and a damnum iniuria claim arising out of the blocking of an underground watercourse in factual circumstances strongly reminiscent of the plot of Marcel Pagnol’s Jean de Florette.
The parties, Iohannes and Ugolinus, also contested contractual claims connected with the loan of a mule and a hypothec granted to secure a loan over the former’s now dried-out farming property.
The University of Athens was awarded the first prize (a silvered antoninianus from the reign of the Emperor Gordian), narrowly defeating the Oxford team of James Fisher (St Catherine’s), Nicholas Kamlish (St Catherine’s), Benjamin Ong (St Edmund Hall) and Alyssa Stansbury (Magdalen) in the Grand Final.
This is the second victory for an Athenian team in the contest. The Oxford team’s performance was, nonetheless, a very strong one across the competition, with three of the team members placing in the top ten oralists, and the runner-up prize of a silver denarius from the reign of Caracalla will now adorn the trophy shelf outside the Dean’s office.
Oxford’s IRLM team (l-r): Alyssa Stansbury (Magdalen), Benjamin Ong (St Edmund Hall), Nicholas Kamlish (St Catherine’s) and James Fisher (St Catherine’s)
Although presently limited to the eight universities that have historically shared in the competition – held for the last five years in the Imaret of Kavala and in the Justinianic Roman forum at Philippi – the IRLM has generated a great deal of interest, with universities from four continents approaching the organisers to participate this year.
This interest attests to the wide influence of Roman law as well as the enthusiasm of law students, even from outside the common law tradition, for mooting. After a very successful event in 2013, sponsored by Clifford Chance LLP, the Oxford Law Faculty will look forward to hosting the Seventh International Roman Law Moot again in April 2014.