Official Rules

For the 2015 Official Rules, please click here.


We would like to bring to your attention some important changes to the Competition rules. These changes are based on feedback from teams, judges, and coaches, and are meant to make the Competition experience more fair and enjoyable for all participants. Please note some of the important changes below:

3.1.2 Fee for Current Year

The Team fee for the current Competition is listed in Appendix B. This fee covers the cost of two (2) Competitors and one (1) Coach.  If the Team sends a second Coach, the fee will increase by an additional amount (see Appendix B).  Teams, observers, and coaches are responsible for paying the wire fees should they choose to pay by bank transfer. If their payment arrives with less than the required amount due to wire transfer fees, the individual or university will be required to pay the difference upon arrival at the Competition.

3.2 Team Notification

Participating Teams must include valid email addresses for all participants on the Registration Form for all Team notifications. Notice to any email address in a team’s registration account shall constitute notice to all Team Members.

3.6 Housing

Participant Competitors, Coaches, Judges, Bailiffs, and Observers who register to stay in American University dormitory housing may do so at the rate negotiated for the purpose of the Competition and will be notified as to the dates of availability. If Participant Competitors, Coaches, Judges, Bailiffs or Observers choose not to stay in American University housing, their housing accommodations will be their own responsibility. The Housing department is run separately from the Competition office. The Competition organizers are not responsible for any issues that may arise involving the housing at American University.

4.1 General

Individuals who are registered neither as Competitors nor as Coaches may attend the Competition and participate in all the various activities associated with the Competition as Observers. Observers may not submit Memorials or present oral arguments. Observers are not considered Official Team Members and may not assist Participating Team Members with any research. However, throughout the Competition, Observers who attend the same school as a participating Team will be treated as extensions of the Team and are subject to the same scouting rules as their school’s Team Members as outlined in Rule 10.5.

4.2.1 Limit to Number of Observers per Participating Institution

Participating institutions may bring the number of observers necessary for education purposes. The Technical Committee reserves the right to limit the number of Observers from any individual institution due to limited space in the Competition venue or other considerations in the best interest of the Competition.

8.4 Length of Memorial

The Memorial shall not exceed forty (40) pages in total. All pages in the document will be counted including the Title Page, Table of Contents, and Index of Authorities. The Team must fit all required sections within the forty (40) pages allotted to them. Failure to submit a Memorial within the designated length will be penalized (see Rule 8.8).

8.5 Format of Memorial

All pages of the Memorial, including the Title Page, shall be in Times New Roman, size twelve (12) font, double-spaced, have one-inch margins, and be set to U.S. letter size paper (8 ½” x 11"). The character spacing should be set to normal (condensed or expanded text will not be accepted). Failure to submit the Memorial in proper format will result in a penalty pursuant to rule 8.8.; additionally, Competition organizers will change the format to meet requirements.  If, in this instance, the document exceeds the forty (40) page limit, the document will be subject to the designated length penalty (see Rule 8.8).

8.8.2 Length

Memorials that exceed forty (40) pages in length will be penalized 10 points. All sections are included in the forty (40) page limitation. (See Rule 8.4).

8.8.3 Format, Organization, and Penalties

A total of two (2) points will be deducted for Memorials submitted on paper size other than that stipulated in Rule 8.5. A total of two (2) points will be deducted for Memorials written in the wrong font and format, including the footnotes. A total of two (2) points will be deducted if the official Team Number is not located on every page of the Memorial, including the Title Page. One (1) point will be deducted for every section omitted or for each section that is out of order according to Rule 8.3 (for a total possible deduction of six (6) points). One (1) point will be deducted if the file is not titled correctly (the Team Number). Two (2) points will be deducted if the character spacing is anything but normal (expanded or condensed).

8.8.6 Publishing of Penalties

The penalties assessed will be emailed to each team approximately two (2) weeks after the submission of the memorial. One (1) week after the team has been notified, the penalties will be considered final.

9.1 General Information

Prior to the start of Oral Rounds each year, the Competition organizers will hold an Opening Ceremony. This Opening Ceremony is mandatory for Teams, and Judges are encouraged to attend. At this Opening Ceremony, the Competition organizers will convey final instructions to participants and important announcements. If a Team realizes they will be unable to attend the Opening Ceremony for unexpected reasons, they need to immediately alert the Competition organizers. Any Team that fails to attend the Opening Ceremony and does not contact the Competition organizers in advance may receive substantial penalties, may not be ensured participation in one or both of their preliminary rounds, and may be disqualified from semifinals.

10.5.1 General

Individuals wishing to attend more than one round (who are not participating as a Judge or member of a Team) must be registered as observers. With the exception of Rule 10.5.3, the Competition is open to the public. At any session, there may be other participating Team Members, Observers or others witnessing the oral round session. Individuals who are not registered for the Competition as a Judge, Observers, Bailiff, Coach, or Team Member must check-in at the Competition Headquarters to receive credentials. No one will be allowed inside of a courtroom without credentials.

11.1 General

Judging of the Oral Argument Sessions will be based on the organization of the presentation, quality and clarity of legal arguments and the ability to respond to opponent's arguments and questions from the Judges. Judges should complete all score sheets at the conclusion of each round prior to deliberating with each other. After all score sheets have been delivered to the Bailiff, Judges are allowed to give feedback to the Teams, in so long as it is not substantive argument assistance. Feedback from the Judges cannot exceed more than ten minutes so that the subsequent rounds are able to continue. Coaches are allowed to be in the room while the team members are receiving feedback from the judges.

11.6 Scoring of Individual Orators & Selection of Best Individual Orator

The scores and rankings for each individual orator in the Competition shall be determined by averaging the individual oral scores from the Preliminary Oral Round sessions. The highest-ranking individual orator in English, in Spanish and in Portuguese will each receive the Best Individual Orator Award for the Competition. There will also be an award for the Highest Orator Overall.