Law and Method

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Access_open Moot Court Competitions, Experimental Moot Courts and Documentary Role Plays

Trefwoorden reenactment, moot courts, documentary theatre
Auteurs Wouter Werner

    To be an international lawyer is to perform international law behavior. As Schechner has put it, ‘Performance means: never for the first time. It means for the second to the nth time. Performance is twice-behaved behavior’ (Schechner, 1985, p. 36). Moot courts are a classical way to teach students ‘twice-behaved legal behavior’. In international law, moot court competitions have proliferated lately. However, the format of the moot court is copied rather uncritically, and not much attention is devoted to other, more reflexive theatrical means. In this article I try to open up space for such critical thinking beyond moot courts. I study moot courts as a form of performance, as a re-enactment. This perspective on moot courts allows me to focus on one of the core questions brought up in existing studies on re-enactments: who or what is re-enacted in such role plays? The equally main question is whether it is possible to reenact court cases differently. In order to answer this question, I will explore two alternative forms of reenactment of international law behavior: experimental moot courts and documentary role-plays. I examine what sort of behavior, what sort of character is restored in these two other forms of role-play.

Wouter Werner
Wouter Werner is Professor international law at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands and extradorinary professor at the University of Curaçao.