Description of the Competition

The Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition is a unique trilingual (English, Portuguese, and Spanish) competition established to train law students how to use the Inter-American human rights legal system as a legitimate forum for redressing human rights violations. Since its inception in 1995, the yearly Competition has trained over 3000 students and faculty participants from over 310 universities throughout the Americas and beyond. Written on a cutting-edge topic currently debated within the Inter-American system, the hypothetical case operates as the basis of the competition, and students argue the merits of this case by writing legal memoranda and preparing oral arguments for presentation in front of human rights experts acting as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Hypothetical | Two Stages of the Competition


The Competition is based on a hypothetical case written by experts in the Inter-American human rights legal system and reflects a cutting-edge legal issue currently being debated in the region. 2016 hypothetical case.

Previous topics have addressed:

  • Extractive Industries and Human Rights
  • Rights of Persons with Disabilities and International Human Rights Law
  • LGBTI Rights
  • State of Emergency
  • Freedom of Speech
  • Gender Discrimination & Rape
  • Freedom of Press
  • Right to Life
  • Torture
  • Fair Trial
  • Labor Unions
  • Indigenous Rights
  • TerrorismTransitional Justice, International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Previous authors have included:

  • Inter-American Commission on Human Rights attorneys
  • Former Indigenous Rights Rapporteur to the OAS
  • Leaders of prominent NGOs



The Competition involves two successive stages:

Written Pleadings (Memorials)

  • Each team represents either the State or the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
  • Memorials must be submitted by teams in accordance with space and format limitations stated in the Official Rules
  • Timely submission of the memorials is required in order to avoid penalties
  • The team with the best memorial in English, Spanish and Portuguese will each receive a certificate in representation of their achievements

Oral Rounds

  • Held at the Washington College of Law campus in Washington, D.C.
  • Total of 3 rounds: Preliminary, Semi-Final, and Final
  • Teams must argue twice during the Preliminary Round
  • Attorneys from the international human rights community volunteer to judge the sessions and act as justices of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights 
  • The top 20% of teams representing the Commission and the top 20% of teams representing the State advance to the Semi-Final Round
  • The highest-ranking team representing the Commission and the State from the Semi-Final Round will advance to the Final Round
  • The Honor Panel of the Final Round is typically comprised of ambassadors to the OAS, members of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, and the author of the hypothetical