Reflections 2024-07-09

Moot Court: Simulated case before the European Court of Human Rights

By Marína Machalová

On the 24th June 2024, our Generation 12 students all gathered in the Hearing Room of the Palace of Justice in Vienna to participate in a simulation of a Human Rights proceeding, also known as the Moot Court simulation.

Our change-makers have the chance to experience a simulation of legal proceedings in their second semester of the Vienna Master, which is as close as possible to real-life case proceedings that happen before the European Court of Human Rights. The court proceeding is part of the course entitled “Simulated case before the European Court of Human Rights” led by Manfred Nowak, the Co-Founder and Program Director of the Vienna Master programme and Walter Suntinger, the Academic Program Manager and Senior Lecturer of the Vienna Master programme.

In this simulation, the students develop a deeper understanding of the proceedings, strengthen their analytical, argumentative and performing skills in human rights cases, and have the chance to learn more about some highly controversial and contemporary human rights topics.

Here, students jumped into various roles: those of applicants, who allege a human rights violation, the state, which denies said human rights violation, or the European Court of Human Rights, which upon hearing legal arguments of both the applicants and the state has to decide and issue a verdict.

This exercise itself requires a lot of flexibility, in terms of coming up with arguments to the presented statements in court on the spot, but also a great deal of preparation, which can consist of reading the peer submissions or immersing in the European Court of Human Rights’ rhetoric through analysing the recordings of the real-life court hearings. This Moot Court exercise seeks to teach our students to act in accordance with their assigned roles, put aside their personal opinions and beliefs, remain neutral and act in accordance with the law.

Get an even better glimpse of the Moot Court experience of our students and watch the video from last year’s court proceeding:

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