STU Mooters Julia Evans and Elisha Gunaratnam Finish Second at the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition

STU Grads Julia Evans and Elisha Gunaratnam at Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition

STU graduates Julia Evans, BA’23 and Elisha Gunaratnam, BA’23 performed exceptionally well at the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition today in Geneva as they finished as runner-up to India’s National University of Advanced Legal Studies.  


Following the preliminary round, Elisha was named the #3 speaker and Julia was named the #1 speaker in the competition. In their comments, the judges remarked on the very difficult decision they had to make after a close competition and noted the voices and skills of these students were needed in the field of international human rights.  


STU Moot advanced to the finals after defeating Oxford University Law School in the quarterfinals and the University of Sydney in the semi-finals. Forty-six students from 23 universities in 19 countries competed in the event at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, July 17-21. The competition was adjudicated by judges from the International Criminal Court, United Nations and Commonwealth officials, and international legal academics.


STU Moot was the only North American team. It was also the only team competing from a school that does not have a law school. 


“I am so proud of Elisha and Julia. They worked hard all year to prepare for this opportunity and were up against top students from around the world,” said St. Thomas University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Nauman Farooqi. 


“A world Moot Court Championship and Rhodes Scholar in one year reflects well on our students, faculty and education at STU. Congratulations to Julia and Elisha and Professor Amanda DiPaolo who leads the Moot Court Program. There are also many alumni and donors who support the program and they will be very excited with this achievement and as proud of these students as we are.”


“The World Moot is an incredibly tough competition with several qualifying stages that competitors need to get through to even make the in-person rounds in Geneva. To excel in this competition takes a lot of work, skill, and practice. I could not be more thrilled for and proud of Elisha and Julia. They represented STU and all of Canada with such poise and grace,” said Dr. DiPaolo.


Evans, from Grand Bay-Westfield, NB, and Gunaratnam, from Toronto, have been preparing for the competition since January. After submitting a written brief in May, they were chosen to compete in the preliminary oral rounds. The top teams from the preliminary rounds were invited to Geneva.


Evans and Gunaratnam recently graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees with Honours in Human Rights and are starting law programs in the fall. Evans will attend the University of New Brunswick, where she will pursue her Juris Doctor, while Gunaratnam will pursue her Master of Laws in European and International Human Rights Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands.