05 December 2012

Moot Courts: UC Davis Asylum & Refugee Law Competition

I reported in an earlier post on the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.  Another competition is the UC Davis Asylum & Refugee Law National Moot Court Competition.  Organized by the School of Law, it "provides law students from across the country the opportunity to participate in a hypothetical appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Competitors will write a brief as either respondent or petitioner on an issue related to asylum and refugee law. Shortly after submitting their briefs, students will participate in oral arguments. Students’ briefs and oral arguments will be judged by prominent judges, attorneys and scholars that specialize in the areas of immigration law and/or appellate advocacy."

The 2013 problem - "Vania Najjar, Petitioner, v. Attorney General of the United States, Respondent" - requires competitors to consider the following issues:

"1. Whether the Fourteenth Circuit Court of Appeals erred in denying petitioner’s application for asylum relief on the ground that her proffered group was not a ‘particular social group,’ as required under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”).
2. Whether the Court erred in holding that petitioner failed to demonstrate a “well-founded fear” that upon return to her home country she would be subject to persecution on account of her membership in this particular social group."

Briefs are due 17 January 2013; oral arguments will be held 15-16 February 2013.

Two items from UNHCR may provide useful guidance in this case:

  • The ‘Ground with the Least Clarity’: A Comparative Study of Jurisprudential Developments relating to ‘Membership of a Particular Social Group’, Legal and Protection Policy Research Series (UNHCR, Aug. 2012) [text]
  • Guidelines on International Protection: “Membership of a particular social group” within the context of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (UNHCR, 2002) [text]

[Image credit: © UC Davis School of Law]

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