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Project «Telders International Law Moot Court»

The purpose of the event is an international legal dispute between fictitious states, with the legal issues at hand having a high degree of actuality. The year 2011 case focussed on polluted international rivers and terrorists. Every participating team (2-4 students) represented both the plaintiff and defendant side. This constitutes the special allure but also the difficulty of the competition, which ultimately helped to establish the high-level international reputation of the Telders Moot Court. In simulated court cases (so-called Moot Courts), the representing plaintiffs and defendants from different teams meet their respective opponents to measure their presentation and disputing abilities. Prior to this, the quality of the legal documents to be submitted is examined (in terms of legal knowledge, argumentation technique, creativity and persuasiveness).

The entire competition is held in English. The panel of judges consists of high-level experts of international law, with ICJ-judges often themselves honouring the Telders Moot Court by attending.

Participating at the Telders International Moot Court allows students to make experience in practical application of law from an attorney’s perspective and to deal with international law on a deeper level. Deeply pursuing the case over several months, the intensive team cooperation and the high-level proceedings occurring during the final session in The Hague, allow students to progress in their specialist areas as well as individually. This makes Telders Moot Court a true highlight.

The Telders International Law Moot Court ist the most significant international Moot Court in Europe. Each year, more than 40 teams from different European universities participate. The final, during which the winning teams of the national pre-elimination sessions meet, traditionally takes place at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the base of the International Court of Justice.


The University of St.Gallen offers four students from the programmes MIA, MLS and MLE the possibility of participating in a two-semester course at the Telders Moot Court. The course is supervised by the Chair for International and European Law.

Students obtain ten credits and are selected via a special application procedure. The case is published end of September / beginning of October, giving students two weeks to engage in literature research and various case solving techniques. As soon as the case is known, the team begins to work on its argumentation. Principally, the team develops both lines of argumentation themselves. The coach is allowed to help with specialist questions. The weekly meetings are held in English. Alongside this, students do their own individual research to help their argumentation. From end of January till April, students prepare their pleas and practise rhetoric, argumentation technique and debating. In this phase, the team meets several times per week to practise the pleas.

In the national pre-elimination sessions and the final round in The Hague, students must persuade by means of rhetorical brilliance and confident mastery of their own argumentation. In addition, they must be able to flexibly adapt to the judge´s questions and counter the argumentation of their opponents. Only this will allow them to successfully present their standpoint to the panel of judges, resolve the judges´ doubts, and diffuse the arguments of opponents.

Goal of the Project

Participating at the Telders International Law Moot Court provides students of the University of St.Gallen with the rare opportunity of “playfully” building their competencies in a competitive environment on an international level. In her report, this year´s participant Annika Sonderegger elucidates how unique an experience can be gained at the Telders Moot Court.