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2013 Niagara International Moot Court Kicks Off Feb.

Boasts Stronger Canadian Representation and Gripping Topic
The 2013 Niagara International Moot Court kicks off Feb. 28, bringing together law students, international legal scholars, and practitioners in Toronto, Canada. Niagara not only permits law students to debate pressing issues of international law, but has those students adopt the perspectives and legal traditions of Canada and the United States. This years moot court topic probes competing international legal obligations in the context of combating international terrorism. In the problem, the United States seeks to reverse Canadas decision to grant refugee status to an individual listed on the UN Security Councils terrorism roster. Meanwhile, Canada contends that the United States violated international law in seizing the property of a Canadian corporation which was in business with that individual. "The 2013 problem concerns the fairness of the Security Council Terrorist list process, and the implications of being placed on the list, which has been subject to scrutiny by domestic and international courts in recent years," stated Professor Michael Scharf, one of the co-authors of this years moot court problem. Canadian and U.S. law students from over a dozen schools will advocate the respective positions of Canada and the United States before a simulated International Court of Justice. The close diplomatic, economic, and cultural relationship between the United States and Canada presents opportunities and challenges that we do not see anywhere else in the world, Professor Michael Peil, the other co-author of the problem, explained. The Niagara Competition has long used that relationship as a basis for challenging hypothetical disputes that are designed to teach law students from both countries more about international law in general and about these two countries whose legal and political destinies are so often inextricably linked. And Professor Scharf stressed the unique setting Niagara provides for students to discuss pressing issues in international law before a distinguished roster of judges. We are honored to number among our judges this year practitioners, scholars, civil servants, and judges who deal with these issues on a day-to-day basis, stated Scharf. Our elite corps of judges is headlined by a final bench that includes the UN Security Council Ombudsperson, Kimberly Prost, a former Justice of the Canadian Supreme Court, Ian Binnie, C.C., and the former head of the U.S. Department of Justices Office of International Affairs, Judge Thomas G. Snow. And Niagara continues to build on its reputation as the premier venue for Canadian and American law students to tackle ambiguities in international law.

Steven Paille, the competition director, highlighted Niagaras role in linking Canadian and American law schools. With 15 teams stretching from California to Ontario, this years Niagara tournament promises to be an incredible opportunity for students on both sides of the border to compete, discuss, and learn from each other. Were proud to have Osgoode Hall Law School participate for this first time, Paille added. David Kocan, Managing director of the Canada-United States Law Institute (CUSLI) that sponsors the tournament, placed the tournament within the context of the Institutes other activities. The Institute fosters the Canada-United States relationship by acting as a forum where people can discuss emerging legal issues and their impact of this vital bilateral relationship. "The Niagara plays a very special role in the Institutes mission. There's something about the intensity of a moot competition that brings competitors together like few other experiences in life. It creates a strong bond between students that transcends international boundaries. I meet alumni all the time who still keep in touch with past former competitors. Except now they're colleagues, opposing counsels, or on opposite sides of policy negotiations." Kocan also noted CUSLIs unique status as a bi-national institute operated by Case Western Reserve University School of Law located in Cleveland, Ohio, USA and the Faculty of Law University of Western Ontario located in London, Ontario Canada. With the addition of another Canadian law school, and creation of the Guardians of Niagara, a group dedicated to support and enhance the competition, this year promises to be fantastic opportunity for students showcase their legal writing and advocacy skills. Kocan added, this years Niagara tournament owes so much to Ian A. Laird, the chair of the Niagara Moot Court, the work of the competition problems authors, the tournament director, and all our volunteer judges. Perhaps Professor Scharf summed up Niagaras longstanding and continuing impact the best. "For more than three decades, the Niagara Moot Court has been providing Canadian and U.S. law students an opportunity to learn about cutting edge cross-border legal issues, and meet students and practitioners who share their passion for international law."