Walkers trainee, Mark Collier, recently represented Ireland at the prestigious Philip C Jessup International Moot Court in Washington D.C. in February.

While completing the Law Society of Ireland's Professional Practice Course 1 (PPC 1), Mark signed up to try-out for the Philip C Jessup Moot Court team. This involved preparing a draft legal submission and presenting oral arguments on a selected aspect of the previous year's moot court competition. Mark was choosen for the final team, which comprised four speakers and one researcher.

The Jessup competition is the largest and most prestigious moot court competition globally. Teams from over 100 countries and jurisdictions take part in a fictional dispute between two states in front of the International Court of Justice.

Over a number of months, Mark and his colleagues prepared written submissions for both the applicant and respondent in respect of the Jessup "compromis". This year's fictional dispute concerned state responsibility for corporate actors, transboundary harm, cultural/religious rights infringements, and intellectual property rights in the context of the Nagoya Protocol and traditional knowledge.

Following extensive research and the completion of the written submissions in early January 2019, Mark and his team undertook oral advocacy practice rounds twice a week in preparation for the national rounds. The national rounds were held on 23 February 2019 in the Four Courts. Mark's Law Society team defeated the teams representing Kings Inns and Griffith College Dublin to advance to the international rounds in Washington DC as the team selected to represent Ireland. After completing his exams, Mark flew out a few days before the competition in Washington DC to practice with his team. Overall, 124 teams made the international rounds in Washington DC. The rounds were judged by leading practitioners and academics in international law from around the world.

Upon arrival at the Moot Court, Mark and his team were provided with copies of the opposing teams written submissions, in order to assist with their arguments. Mark was the first speaker for the respondent and his team provided counter points. Over the course of the next few days, Mark's team competed against teams from Vietnam, Indonesia, and the USA (Fordham University), before being defeated by Hungary (Eötvös Loránd University), the eventual winners of the competition and the best speaker award.

While in Washington DC, Mark and his team were extended an invitation to visit the home of the Ambassador of Ireland, Dan Mulhall, and to lunch at the Irish Embassy, where they were given a tour by Deputy Head of Mission, Michael Lonergan.