Jena's 2022/23 team: coach Maira Sophie Müller, Paul Naumann, Katharina Preller, Anna Lochte, Saskia Hitschold, coach Polina Kulish and coach Maximilian Beyer (f. l. t. r.)

The Jessup Experience

Jessup Moot Court Team 2022/23
Jena's 2022/23 team: coach Maira Sophie Müller, Paul Naumann, Katharina Preller, Anna Lochte, Saskia Hitschold, coach Polina Kulish and coach Maximilian Beyer (f. l. t. r.)
Foto: Maximilian Beyer

The Jessup Moot Court is an international public law competition, simulating a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. Teams from over 100 countries compete against one another through the presentation of oral and written pleadings to address timely issues in the context of a hypothetical legal dispute between nations.

Since Jena had not fielded a team in recent years, it came as a nice change that this year, for the first time again, four ‘agents’, with the support of their ‘advisors’, entered the arena for the FSU at the national rounds in Berlin.

The Competition

The luggage was packed, the shirts ironed and the folders full of material, when we rolled towards Berlin on the 2nd March 2023 in order to compete against the other German universities. At the welcome reception at the Hertie School of Governance we had the opportunity to meet the other teams and some of the judges and organizers for the first time. Later in the evening we received the written submissions of the other universities against whom we would compete over the course of the next two days. Immediately, we started to examine them, trying to identify weak arguments or mistakes. It turned out, more than once, that the other teams took very different roads to defend their states, making it difficult to counter their arguments under time pressure. On Thursday and Friday we competed four times in total and in each round we collected points and received feedback from professional lawyers and academics who acted as judges.

On Friday evening we would finally learn which of the 17 teams would advance to the next rounds. Before that, the federal minister of justice gave a speech, talking about the increasing importance of public international law and how it affected his line of work specifically. When the advancing teams were announced, Jena was sadly not among them.

The next day, the final rounds would take place and although we would not compete in them ourselves, we, and all the other teams who had not advanced to this point, took the opportunity to observe the final match in the Kammergericht in Berlin, a wonderful match in which the participants showed their significant legal knowledge before judges from the ICJ and BVerfG, like Prof. Georg Nolte and Prof. Andreas Paulus. At the final gathering on Saturday, the three winning teams, which would advance to the International Rounds in Washington D.C. were announced as were the awards for best oralists, best memorials and many more. Although we did not reach one of the most coveted places, we did bring home the award for the most balanced team, which honors our fair play. We spent the rest of the evening celebrating with the other teams and returned to Jena the next day.

For all of us, the Jessup was a thrilling experience, and we highly encourage you to also use this opportunity, if you want to improve your skills in research, legal writing, and oral pleadings.

We are very thankful for the sacrificial assistance and commitment of our coaches Maximilian Beyer, Maira Müller and Polina Kulish, the suggestions from Prof. Alejandro Rodiles and the generous financial support from the Ernst-Abbe-Stiftung, without which our participation would not have been possible.


If you are interested in participating in the next Jessup competition for your university, please send an e-mail to Maximilian Beyer ( Further information about Jena’s 2022/23 Jessup Moot Court participation can be found on the homepage of the Chair for International Law.