Thank you for your interest in serving as a Judge for the 26th Annual Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition. Every year the Competition draws hundreds of attorneys from around the world with valuable experience in human rights or international humanitarian law. The Competition could not exist without the dedication and enthusiastic support of these individuals. We thank all of our judges for their important contribution to strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights, and we hope you will be able to join us this year!
Volunteer Judges for the Competition must be licensed to practice law in their home country, as well as have one year of post-graduate experience in human rights or legal fields. Many Competition Judges are ambassadors, international law experts, activists, practitioners and academics from around the world.
Judges may choose to evaluate oral rounds, written memorials, or both.
Oral rounds last approximately 90 minutes each. Judges sit on a panel of five to seven judges, and listen to oral arguments presented by two two-person teams, representing the State and the Victims. Judges may indicate their availability in their online registration, and may judge as many oral rounds as they wish.
Written memorials may be judged from home. The memorials shall not exceed twelve thousand (12.000) words in total.
Both the written memorials and the oral arguments are based on a hypothetical case. This case, along with the accompanying clarification questions and answers, is the sole source of all the facts of the case. The case itself is a dispute between a fictional State and the Representatives of the Victims to be argued in front of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. It is very important that Competition judges read the hypothetical case prior to evaluating the students’ arguments.
Judges are also allowed access to the Bench Memorandum. The “Bench Memo” discusses the legal issues addressed in the case for the purpose of briefing the judges. The content of the Bench Memo is strictly confidential, and will not be made available to Participant Teams, Coaches or Observers during the course of the Competition. Judges have access to the Bench Memo only through their registration page. We ask that all judges read the Bench Memo prior to evaluating student arguments.
Finally, it is important that Competition judges read and understand the Competition Rules, as many apply directly to judge conduct and scoring.
Registration and Selection
You may submit your application to be a Judge on our registration page. Please include your current CV or resume and a brief paragraph highlighting relevant experience. As registration forms are received, the Technical Committee will evaluate the applications and select the judges who will be participating in this year’s event. Once all teams have registered (in the middle of March 2021), the Competition’s organizers will request that you complete the second portion of the registration form, indicating all of the registered teams with whom you have conflicts, and listing your time availability for the week of the Competition.
Whether it is your first time judging at the Competition, or you will be joining us as a panel president, we ask that you take the time to read through a short slide show explaining the Competition and highlighting your role in it.
Benefits of Judging
Judging at the Competition provides a unique opportunity to network with leading scholars and activists in the field. It is a wonderful step in one’s professional development, and engages all participants in creative, cutting-edge dialogue. For these reasons, many judges return year after year.
Additionally, judges in the Competition will have the opportunity to receive a partial scholarship to attend the Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law that will be held on May 31 - June 18, 2021.
Please note that unfortunately the Academy cannot cover travel or housing expenses for volunteer judges.
Frequently Asked Questions – Judges
Can coaches be judges?
- No, coaches are not allowed to be judges during the same edition of the Competition.
Can judges evaluate students from their own university or country?
- The Competition tries to avoid conflicts of interests whenever possible. Judges are not allowed to judge teams from the universities they attended. However, judges are allowed to grade teams from their home country. While the Competition Organizers make every attempt to avoid scheduling judges to grade a team more than once during the entire Competition, it is not a Rules violation for a judge to grade a team more than once during the Oral Rounds. Judges are trained on the Official Rules of the Competition beforehand and score competitors without bias. In addition, teams remain anonymous to the judges during the entire Competition, including the Final Round. Team names are not allowed on the written memorials, and students are not allowed to mention their team name during their oral argument presentations.
When should I arrive at the Competition?
- Judges should check-in with the organizers at Competition headquarters at the WCL campus (4300 Nebraska Ave., NW) at least 20 minutes prior to judging their scheduled oral round.
How much will it cost to be a judge?
- Attendance: Volunteer judges may attend all competition events for free.
- Accommodations: Judges may stay on campus in the AU dormitories. Please look under “accommodations” on left for updated prices. Once a judge has been accepted, s/he will receive information on how to make reservations.
- Food: Competition organizers provide breakfast and lunch for the judges on the day(s) that they judge.
- In general: Competition organizers estimate that participation in the week long competitions costs approximately $750, not including the cost of airfare.
How do I get a visa to attend the Competition?
- Changing United States government regulations are making travel visas harder to get. It is extremely important that all participants start the application process as far in advance as possible. Backlogs at United States consulates are causing delays of weeks and months to schedule interviews. Contact the local United States embassy and apply for a tourist visa as soon as possible. Competition staff will provide you with a letter to take to the interview to aid you in describing your objectives when in the United States when and if your application to be a judge has been accepted. However, each visa applicant is personally responsible for providing all other pertinent information to the consulate in accordance with United States regulations. Contact the consular officer at the American Embassy in your country for more information. To obtain a visa, you must present documentation with your full name (include all of your last names) and an explanation of how your trip will be funded (travel, food, accommodations, etc). If your school is paying for all or part of your trip, you should obtain an official letter from the school stating their financial contribution. Please allow plenty of time for processing United States visa applications. Competition organizers will be happy to provide you with a letter of support for your visa application. We send these letters automatically if you are accepted to the Competition. However, you must make sure to fill out your passport information in your registration account.