9th Annual UC Davis Asylum & Refugee Law National Moot Court Competition

Posted By Oscar Orozco-Botello, Mar 15, 2016

On March 12 and 13, 2016, the Moot Court Honors Board at UC Davis School of Law hosted the 9th Annual UC Davis Asylum & Refugee Law National Moot Court Competition.  The competition is the only one in the nation devoted exclusively to the area of asylum and refugee law, and the premier immigration law moot court competition on the West Coast.

Asylum Competition Chair Steven Vong '16 and Asylum Vice Chair Anita Barooni '16 coordinated over 60 competitors and 40 judges in oral arguments involving a hypothetical appeal to the United States Supreme Court. Competitors also submitted appellate briefs. The issues on appeal were:

1. Whether Petitioner's AB blood type places him in a protected particular social group for asylum purposes; and

2. Whether Petitioner's involvement with Senor Robot in a distributed denial-of-service attack against a government website in OPERATION BLOOD MONEY constitutes commission of a serious nonpolitical crime barring his asylum application. 

Jessica Malekos Smith '16 developed the problem.

This year, the competition had a record 23 teams from around the country.  DePaul, NYU, UC Hastings, Pepperdine, and several other law schools competed in the preliminary rounds.  The preliminaries narrowed the field to two teams.

On Sunday, two teams from Columbia (Chris Morel and Clare Tilton) and (Lauren Phillips and Elise Lopez) faced off in the final round.  In the end, the Petitioner team prevailed (Lauren Phillips and Elise Lopez).  

The judges in the finals had a wealth of immigration and asylum law experience: Judge Joren Lyons (San Francisco Immigration Court),  Dean Johnson (UC Davis School of Law), Professor Evangeline Abriel (Santa Clara law school), Professor Edward Telfeyan (McGeorge School of Law), and Audrey Hemesath (Assistant U.S. Attorney).

The Moot Court Honors Board would also like to thank the UC Davis Law faculty that were involved (Professors Chin, Soucek, Villazor, Green, Tanaka, Miltner and Chris Ide-Don), the alumni who helped judge rounds, and the bailiffs who are members of the Appellate Advocacy class.

Asylum Law Competition Chair and Vice-Chair