Gide was again delighted to sponsor Oxford University’s French Law Moot (“Concours de plaidoiries en droit français”), which was held on Monday 13 March 2017.
After a break in 2016 this event returned, reinvigorated, to a refurbished Law Faculty for its ninth iteration. The event, which started in 2008 as an event purely for Oxford University students, now brings together teams of “Mooters” from some of Europe’s leading universities to debate a question of French law. The competition is organised by the university’s Institute of European and Comparative Law. Gide sponsors the event, which is also supported by the Association Henri Capitant des amis de la culture juridique française and the Société de Législation Comparée.
Dr. Michel Séjean, Co-Chief Editor of the Henri Capitant Law Review said: "The Association Henri Capitant des amis de la culture juridique française was honoured to support the ninth edition of the Oxford French Law Moot along with Gide. This important event shows how special our bond is with our long-standing partner Gide. The Mooters proudly represented their countries, their universities and more importantly the interests of their virtual clients with wit, talent and an impressive mastery both in French and in French law. The French legal culture is fortunate to inspire their interest and the Association Henri Capitant would like to thank them for it.”
Through the assistance of its supporting organisations, the reach of the event has extended from Oxford, not only to other English universities, but to universities from across Europe and now beyond, with institutions from Egypt, Turkey and Ukraine participating in 2017.
Rupert Reece, partner in charge of Gide London, head of Gide London’s Dispute Resolution practice and judge of the Moot final, commented: "The event attracted talented teams from universities as far afield as Galatasaray, Cairo and Kiev. To have francophone students from all these countries mooting a point of French law in Oxford University before judges of the French Supreme Court was an extraordinary cross-cultural experience."
The 2017 teams represented the Universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cairo, Köln, Exeter, Florence, Galatasaray and Oxford, as well as King’s College London, the National University of Kiev and University College London.
The participants presented arguments in relation to a challenging legal problem involving a five-star hotel, a broken door handle, a balcony and a guest with two fractured ankles. The finalists, from the University of Florence and the University of Oxford, battled it out in front of a judging panel comprised of Jean-Guy Huglo, from the Cour de Cassation; Professor Yves-Marie Laithier from Paris II – Panthéon-Assas University; and Rupert Reece, from Gide.
The judges commended the teams for their enthusiasm and the force of their arguments. The teams were reminded of the importance of concentrating on the facts of a case and of the benefits of adaptability in the face of opposing arguments.
The level of both teams was very high, and the University of Florence emerged triumphant. The Italian team comprised mooters Sara Scarpelli and Corrado Abate with their mentor, Antonio Musella.
Between the Moot final and dinner at Oxford’s historic Trinity College Hall, attendees of the event benefited from a presentation, led by Alain Lacabarats, Chamber President, French Court of Cassation, on the proposed reforms of the Court. The presentation was an interesting reflection on how the quality of the decisions of the Court could be improved, for example if it were able to select the cases to be judged, as the UK High Court does.
On the presentation, Rupert Reece added: "It was extremely interesting to hear the inside view from Mr Lacabarats and his fellow judges on the challenges they face day-to-day with their heavy case load, and how the proposed reforms can address that."