I have just returned from the Canadian Round of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. As many readers will know, this is an annual (and international) moot that revolves around a hypothetical case between two states that appear before a mock version of the International Court of Justice. The issues are all public international law-based and often quite timely in nature. I was coaching the team representing the Schulich School of Law, made up of Rebecca Critchley, Lara Green, Ian Hardie and Paul Neville. They acquitted themselves well and won prizes for both their written and oral advocacy.
This year’s problem touched on a number of interesting legal issues, and not least among them were the issues arising from the following fact situation: a national of state A steals a yacht from a port in state A and pilots it out to that state’s EEZ where he narrowly avoids a collision with a cruise ship flagged by state B. The near-miss causes the cruise ship to collide with an artificial island built by state A and over 100 people are killed—mostly nationals of state B but some state A nationals as well. The yacht flees into the contiguous zone of state B, where it is ordered to stop by a naval vessel; instead, it flees back into the EEZ of state A, pursued by state B’s naval vessel. The yacht rams the naval vessel and sinks; the individual is brought aboard the naval vessel and arrested.
Obviously some great TCL issues here, specifically within the maritime context: was the “hot pursuit” by the naval vessel lawful? Did state B have the jurisdiction to arrest? Which state had the better jurisdictional claim to prosecute? The students had a great time wrestling with these questions, and I heard a number of interesting and creative arguments made.
I was very pleased to see that quite a number of the student teams had cited our book in their written submissions, as authority on the jurisdictional issues. While one might construe this remark as another opportunity to promote the book (which it is), the fact of the matter is that both Joseph and I aspire for the book to be useful—useful to courts, practitioners and of course to the student audience. One does not get into Canadian legal publishing in order to make money selling books; unless you are Paciocco & Steusser on Evidence or Hogg on Constitutional Law there is really very little to be made. This book has simply been a labour of love and the most rewarding aspect is seeing it used as help for solving legal problems, hypothetical or real.