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Chaitanya Safaya’s comment has bought my budding dilemma to a sharp focus.

For the last month, the most popular post on my blog has been my post about the new 2009 Jessup problem. It’s getting a lot of views, and I suspect I know what people want.

They’re looking for insight into the law and facts of the problem.

That’s my dilemma.

Under the rules and regulations of the Jessup, teams are meant to work through the problem themselves. They are expected to think  and play around with the facts and the law themselves and come to a coherent argument on what the law should be.

I don’t want to help people subvert those challenges, and find easy answers (that may well be wrong!) in my analysis of the facts of the problem and the legal avenues down which I take that analysis.

I don’t want to do their thinking for them.

On the other hand, I’m not a competitor. I’m not bound to the rules of the competition. Neither am I officially affiliated with any team this year in any capacity.

I’m a lone wolf who looks at the Jessup problem because it intrigues me to learn something new about the boundaries and limitations of international law, and the cracks in the law that are highlighted by Jessup.

There are other people out there who could benefit from a third voice thinking about the problem and I’m sure I would gain a lot from discussing aspects of the problem with all those who visit, and like Chaitanya Safaya would be willing to share their own insight, research and benefit. I’m thinking of practice judges, coaches and others like me who enjoy the challenges that the Jessup brings.

The question for me boils down to this:

Does the act of blogging the Jessup problem, the law,  the facts and their interaction, undermine or otherwise diminish the true joy, challenge and value of the Jessup?

Is it in harmony with the true spirit of a great mooting competition?

My own inclination is that I would be just another secondary source. One amongst many. That I specifically deal with the problem, can be balanced  if I don’t deal with particular facts of the Compromis, just the law. Teams would then be free, even if they read this, to decide whether and how they should use the information.

Does that sound about right? What do others think?



    • Chaitanya Safaya
    • Posted October 21, 2008 at 9:39 pm
    • Permalink

    Feels really nice to see that my comment inspired a post.

    I think you raise an interesting question. At the outset let me make it very clear that I intend to take part in Jessup this year too, but the team from our college has not yet been formed, so as of now I am not a part of a team. But keeping that aside, your post made me look up the international rules of Jessup. The relevant rule reads:

    2.4 Outside Assistance to Teams
    2.4.1 General Rule
    Each Team must research, write, edit, and develop its own legal and
    factual arguments without the assistance of persons who are not
    members of the Team.

    What’s interesting to note is that the teams must also “develop there own legal and factual arguments”. So I suppose my yesterdays comment would be covered under the phrase developing the arguments.

    But on the contrary I feel that the comment was in harmony of the ‘true spirit’ of the competition. Jessup if any thing is a clutural melting pot of ideas. Its about interaction and exchange among students of international law (be it participants or judges). And why should the process begin only in that one week in DC. If anything it begins with the beginning of the jessup year with the release of the problem

    However as any student of intrepretation could tell you, the spirit of the jessup could hardly amend the express rules. Which i guess still leaves your question unanswered?

    • Chaitanya Safaya
    • Posted October 21, 2008 at 10:04 pm
    • Permalink

    I though it over …………..
    I guess i have to take my words in my previous post back. I dont think it would be in harmony with the spirit of jessup, atleast for me, to discuss the jessup problem with you. would have been awfully fun though!!!

    • mtalib
    • Posted October 21, 2008 at 10:16 pm
    • Permalink

    I believe you’re right.

    Wherever the line does lie, discussing the problem with people who are participating as competitors would seem to be on the other side of it.

    Personally, much of the joy I had as a competitor was the process of thinking about, and manipulating, the law and facts. That process of discovery is one of the many rewarding aspects of Jessup as an intellectual challenge. I wouldn’t want to take that away from anyone.

    My current instinct, is that the proper thing to do would be to drop ILSA an email and see if they have a problem with a person blogging about the problem. Perhaps within reasonable limits, they might be willing to take global participation in the competition in a direction that it hasn’t yet gone before.

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