New York, April 2, 2009 — Columbia Law School’s European Law Moot Court team won the regional competition in Bangor, Wales, and will advance to the finals before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. This marks the second year in a row that Columbia has advanced to the finals – and the third time an American team has reached that stage in the competition’s 20-year history.
This year’s problem, Prell AS v The Royal Treasury, concerns the tax liability of a public limited tobacco production company in a fictional European Union state. The case deals with issues of state aid and business law, which competitors must negotiate in the context of European Community law. Competitors plead three parts: defendant, applicant and commission.
A coin toss in the final round determined that Dunin-Wasowicz would plead for the defendant. After almost two hours of arguments, during which time teammates served as co-chairs – researching the law on the spot and supplying Dunin-Wasowicz with notes if needed – the 10-judge panel declared Columbia the winner.
All team members argued in both English and French and drew high scores, prevailing against teams from European schools.
Gastard is a veteran competitor who represented Columbia last year in the Bangor regional round. He said he chose this moot court to learn more about EU law and gain skills arguing against teams from all over the world. He had such a good experience that he returned as a coach.
Columbia fielded two teams in the European Moot Law Competition this year. The first team took silver in the regional round in Sofia, Bulgaria, where it was the only non-European law school team of 12.
The Bangor team looks forward to a tough competition in Luxembourg, where they will argue against three top teams before the judges of the European Court of Justice, on April 22 and 23.