FOR THE second time in its history, Bratislava will host participants in the European Law Moot Court (ELMC) Competition, organised since 1988. Twelve teams composed of law students from the European Union as well as the US will demonstrate their ability to lead the proceeding and defend their arguments in a made-up scenario pertaining to the implementation of EU legislation.

The regional finals at the Comenius University’s Faculty of Law will take place from February 27 to March 2 and will host teams from the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the US, France, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg. This year they will discuss the application of the right to freedom of movement of EU citizens and their family members on the same-sex marriages.

“The principle of ELMC is that the competition is open to students of all cultures and nationalities,” Soňa Ondrášiková, one of the organisers of the regional finals in Bratislava, told The Slovak Spectator, adding that this in fact “also reflects in choosing the organiser of regional rounds”.

In addition to Bratislava, the regional finals took place at Universida de do Minho in Braga, Portugal (in which the Slovak team also competed); Aix-Marseille Université in Aix en Provence, France; and Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy.

The regional round in Bratislava is supported by Slovenská Sporiteľňa, Slovnaft, US Embassy to Bratislava, Allen & Overy, PwCLegal, DLA Piper, Sedita and Slovak Tourist Board. It has also received funding within the project Foreign Language Master Degree Programme “Law of European Integration and Globalisation”, which is co-financed by the EU through the European Social Fund within the Operational Programme Education.

How the competition looks

The competition consists of three phases. The students have to pass the written stage first, in which all teams have to prepare written pleadings for both the applicant and the defendant, based upon a hypothetical European legal situation.

The successful teams, selected on the basis of their written pleadings and a geographical criterion, will then advance to the oral stage, in which they will defend their arguments before a regional final court, pleading for both the applicant and the defendant, and as either an advocate general or a commission representative, the EMLC website reads.

The participants in Bratislava will face two juries composed of altogether 10 judges. These include Lorena Boix Alonso from the European Commission, Tomáš Buchta from the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry, Frank Emmert from the Indiana University, Peter Gjortler from Riga Graduate School of Law and from the Lexnet European Information, Andrej Králik from the Representation of the EC in Slovakia, Alina Lengauer from the University of Vienna, Luisa Lourenco from the European University Institute in Florence, Peter Pecho from the Court of Justice of the European Union, Christa Tobler from the University of Basel and the Leiden University, and Michal Tomášek from the Charles University in Prague.

The jury is chosen by the EMLC Society as well as the hosting faculty, Ondrášiková explained.

The final round is the finals in Luxembourg, at which the winning teams and the winning advocate generals and commission representatives of the regional rounds will meet and compete.

According to the organisers, though the participants discuss the hypothetical scenario, the whole competition is still very interesting, as the case “reflects the actual issue discussed in various laic and expert circles”.