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University of Manitoba law students head to The Hague for Inter-University Law Debate Tournament Finals

May 29, 2023 — 

Not able to get enough of arguing with people during regular moot competition season, three intrepid law students: Liam Brown (1L), Diana Gutierrez (2L), and Stefan Leicht (1L), took the initiative to sign themselves up for The Hague Inter-University Law Debate Tournament 2023. After initially defeating the University of Melbourne team, they won against the French University of Armenia team in the Quarter-finals, and competed against Colombia in the Semi-finals on the Victoria Day weekend. They now face the University of Western Ontario in a competition for third place on Tuesday, May 30 in The Hague.

Headshot of law student Diana Gutierrez 2L.

Diana Gutierrez, 2L

When Dr. Richard Jochelson, Dean of Law, heard of what the Manitoba students were doing, he offered support from the Faculty of Law. Now, because the team has advanced this far, they have guaranteed the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law an official spot in the tournament for 2024.


The final stages take place in The Hague and are organized in cooperation with both the United Nations Institute of Training and Research and the Oxford University Press (OUP).

Gutierrez, Brown and Leicht got involved in the competition after the Robson Hall Debate Team shared the information with law students. “I was already a member of the Jessup moot team, and its focus is international law, which I really enjoyed learning about,” said Gutierrez. “I decided to sign up because I thought that an international event, where I would get to engage with this area of law, practice advocacy, and get to meet students from around the world, was an incredible opportunity.”

Stefan Leicht headshot

Stefan Leicht, 1L

Teams are typically given the various topics of debate for each round five to seven days in advance. “We won’t know what side of the topic we argue (for or against the motion) until five minutes before the debate starts,” explained Gutierrez, “so we have to prepare for both sides.”

As the three Manitobans prepare for their final debate, Leicht shared that his favourite topic so far was “Every state must notify the international community, or at least its immediate neighbouring states, with sufficient time reserve should it wish to start extraction of natural resources that may affect water quality in the region.”


To get an idea of what other kinds of issues the competition involves, check out the Manitoba team competing in the Quarter-Finals against the French University of Armenia on Youtube, debating the topic of “Direct-to-Consumer advertising of prescription medicines should be legalized.”

Liam Brown at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Liam Brown (1L) at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The Hague Inter-University Law Debate Tournament (THIULDT) is run by the Corax Foundation. According to information on the Corax Foundation website, “The purpose of the Tournament is to foster the study of international law in connection with current developments on the global and regional levels. THIULDT provides a practical opportunity for students to efficiently apply their knowledge in a time-limited setting, exchange experiences with their peers and network.  “The Tournament is held in English and focuses on the issues falling under International Law – both private and public,” the site states.

Watch the competition’s Youtube channel for recordings of the Manitobans competing against other teams from across the globe.


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