9th Leiden Sarin International Air Law Moot Court Competition

As Mallika Nawal has rightly put into words,

“A good lawyer, just like a good poker player, must always keep his cards close to his chest.” One can never agree more when Mooting comes into question. To quote Thomas Jefferson “brevity is best because it leaves no room for inattention by listener”. The challenge and the excitement that one experiences while mooting cannot be gained in classes, is a truth no less acknowledged.

As the time advanced, all of them got seated in the Multi-Purpose Hall. All clad in black suits, their eyes were skimming through the memorials that had probably taken months to be framed. While they fidgeted with their pens in one hand and flicked through the relevant case judgements with another, one could sense the nervousness dawning upon the participants. All of them had their eyes fixed on the radiant trophy of 9th Leiden Sarin International Moot Court Competition- with “WINNER” inscribed in golden words.

Army Institute of Law, Mohali organized the prestigious National Rounds of 9th Leiden-Sarin National Moot Court Competition on February 10th, 2018. It was an honor for the entire AIL fraternity and the scholars to witness such a great event, which was being organized for 7th time in a row in AIL Campus. A joint venture of the Sarin Memorial Legal Aid Foundation (India) and the International Institute of Air and Space Law of Leiden University (Netherlands), which finally collaborated with Incheon Institute Air Corporation in South Korea, this Air Law Moot Court Competition provided the young mooters a golden opportunity to gain experience in development of argument in the field of international law and international air law, while also establishing contacts around the world.

The Competition was inaugurated by Honorable Mr. Justice Surya Kant, a distinguished jurist. Born in District Hisar, Sir did his law from Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak in 1984 and started practice at District Courts, Hisar in July, 1984. In the year 1985, he shifted his practice to Punjab and Haryana High Court. Soon thereafter, Justice Surya Kant was regarded as an Eminent Service, Constitutional and Civil lawyer.

He was appointed Advocate General of Haryana on 7th July, 2000 and was designated a Senior Advocate by the High Court. He held the office of Advocate General till his elevation as Hon’ble Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court on January 9, 2004. He was also a Member of the National Legal Services Authority for two consecutive terms (2007-2011). He is also associated with various National/International NGOs and Law Associates.

Followed by the inauguration, Mr. Justice SS Sodhi addressed the participants and scholars. Mr. Justice SS Sodhi, also President of the Sarin Memorial Legal Aid Foundation, is a Barrister at Law from London’s Lincoln Inn with a distinguished track record as a lawyer. After serving as a judge at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, he was elevated as the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court from where he retired. Justice Sodhi in his address thanked the college for the utmost organization and efficiency, he too emphasized on the importance of mooting in the life of a budding lawyer and the utmost need for leadership and guidance from his seniors during the same. He narrated some instances of his’ from his days at the Bar and also, of his past experiences in the Leiden-Sarin Moot Court Competition. Undoubtedly, Sir’s every word delivered wisdom and enlightened the budding lawyers.

Subsequently, Mr. Manmohan Lal Sarin, senior advocate and Secretary General of the Sarin Memorial Legal Aid Foundation, took over the stage and delivered the Vote of Thanks. Extremely light-hearted and cheerful that he is, Mr. Sarin has pursued his LL.B. from Panjab University and LL.M. from Northwestern University, USA is a distinguished debater and has won over a hundred prizes in moot court and declamation contests. He initiated by wishing the Chief Guest a very happy birthday and further spoke about establishment of Sarin Memorial Legal Aid Foundation. In the fond memory of two highly-knowledgeable advocates of all times Late Shri H.L. Sarin, Senior Advocate and Late Shri. R.L. Sarin, Advocate, the foundation is dedicated to the cause of protecting public interest, and spreading legal literacy. Sir went on to announce that the Winners of this Moot Court Competition will be given an opportunity to pursue LL.M. courses absolutely free of cost abroad!

But this wasn’t all! He also announced that now Sarin Memorial Aid Foundation will annually facilitate two “Best Mooters of the Year” with an award and a cash prize. This year the prize was shared by Adhiraj Bhandari (4th Year) and Aafreen Choudhary (2nd Year).

Sir also expressed his gratitude to Army Institute of Law by presenting memento to the Principal for such efforts which are put in by Moot Society In-charge, Dr. Bajirao Rajwade, the Moot Court Society of AIL and all the on-screen and off-screen hands which have always contributed to make this event a huge success.

Concluding the show with memento distribution to the judges, the teams dispersed to their respective Moot Court Rooms and attempted to give their best in front of the three-judge bench, consisting of the highly respected members of legal fraternity from Punjab and Haryana High Court.

As the tough competition between 18 teams came to an end and results compiled, the judges declared the National Law University, Jodhpur victorious over others, whereas Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala and Army Institute of Law, Mohali emerged as the 1st Runner-Up and 2nd Runner-Up respectively. These Top-3 teams will participate in the International Rounds which are to be organized in Seoul, in South Korea, from April12th-15th, 2018.

The Blue Pencil congratulates all the winners and wishes them all the best for their future endeavors. We are sure that Ananya Sharma (3rd Year), Trisha Sharma (3rd Year) and Tanushree Tanwar (3rd Year), the participants from AIL, will keep making us proud!

TO READ MORE: AIL wins big at South Korea

This write-up was prepared by Nishant Tiwari (1st Year)


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Col JPS Malhi says:

    Well done AIL and good article Nishant.
    Keep up the good work Blue Pencil.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. AnanyaSharma says:

      Thank you so much Sir!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Nishant Tiwari says:

      Thank you, Sir!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jagteshwar Singh Sohi says:

    Many congratulations to the team and everyone at AIL. Not to dampen the mood, but I would also urge you all to strive for better performances in moots other than those hosted by ‘us’. It is coming up to a decade since I left the place; and in this period we have qualified Leiden-Sarin twice, but failed to leave a similar mark at some of the other moots (Jessup, Stetson, Lachs, William C Vis, Dunant to name a few).

    While I am sure that the present team was a deserving one, and I can personally attest for the mooting pedigree of the previous one; victories at ‘home’ always seem that slight bit doubtful when success eludes one away from home.

    I write this fully conscious of the fact that this comment might make me unpopular with the present student body; it will hurt the team and the faculty members who worked hard to win/organize the moot. However, I do feel this is a concern that best be raised by someone who still considers himself an ‘insider’ (both to AIL & to mooting), than by others.

    Full disclosure – I graduated from AIL in 2009, and have been associated with NALSAR since 2013. I am ‘on leave’ since May 2017 and this comment is made without knowledge whether my current institution participated in the competition this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AnanyaSharma says:

      Hi Sir.
      Thank you so much for the vote of confidence! It was much needed. I’m sure your advice will hold us in good stead in Seoul.
      I was a part of the team, and we understand your concern. I assure you, that we will endeavour to leave a mark on other similar moots such as the ones you’ve listed. For me personally, this is the first step towards it. You and your team serve as a constant reminder to all of us here at AIL who wish to participate in Moots of this nature and apprise us of the fact that we can do well at these moots even without the resources that an NLU might possess.
      Rest assured, the whole process was absolutely fair and transparent. I cannot write enough to express the same. I assure you that we shall work our best to not let success elude us when we move away from home.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Jagteshwar Singh Sohi says:


        Firstly, many congratulations on your achievement. Secondly, many congratulations on providing a measured response to what might have come across as inflammatory.

        Further, I do take your word on the fairness of the competition. It do not believe it to be ‘bent’. My position was that continued lack of success in other places will ultimately require facing hard questions. I also accept the vast difference in access to resources that AIL faces when coming up against institutions with deeper pockets and/or greater interest in improvement (I don’t think the administration’s [not those in the institution itself, but those outside] of our alma mater have ‘invested’ in excellence, but that is conversation for another occasion with another audience.).

        I would advise for one alterations in attitude (of the place generally). Do not only use those who walked through the halls before you as ‘reminders’. Use them instead as ‘resources’. On a personal level, I would love to coach a team for Stetson/Jessup, but no one has ever approached me from AIL over the last decade. I would be willing to share my time, my books, and my access to other databases with any team, not just the ones working with me. But again, I have never been approached! More generally, I would state that access to greater resources can be created outside the four walls of institution, in the intellectual capital of your alumni.

        Further, the likes of Vaibhav and IshPuneet stay not even an hour from AIL. Have many teams sought a meeting with them on a regular basis, troubled them to breaking point? The likes of Vikramshil Tiwari (2008) could teach any mooter to do better as an orator as he/she could imagine (he helped me a ton in one small session in 2006); the likes of Sahil Sethi (2010) and Alok Mittal (2013) would be very valuable resources in areas they excelled as mooters and beyond. I hear you when you speak of limited resources, but have AILians really pushed those limits?

        I hope you guys do is Seoul, and after.

        Liked by 2 people

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