Human Rights Competition

Regulations - Human rights competition

30th International human rights competition for lawyers

Final on 27 January 2019

The International human rights competition for lawyers is open to all lawyers willing to inform the public of the profession’s commitment to defend the human rights. The competition is only open to the defence of individual cases. Lawyers agree to not compromise or prejudice the defended person. Human rights are binding on all and concern all defendants, whoever they may be, under the fundamental right of defence.

Who can take part?

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Art 1: The competition is open to all lawyers registered with a bar, irrespective of their nationality, language or age.

Art 2: All the candidates must justify their registration with a bar.


Competition subject

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Art 3: Candidates must write a speech for the defence in French or English relating to a genuine, individual case of human rights' violation, taken from recent current affairs and proof of which must be provided and will be strictly required (internet, newspaper etc.).

Art 4: For the 2019 edition of the competition for lawyers, the organisers decided to choose a theme. Chosen in reference to an exhibition on the work of the painter and poster artist Norman Rockwell, which will be presented at the Memorial during summer 2019, the theme will be the following: THE FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS.

Art 5: The objective of the competition is to make a 12 minute speech for the defence, in front of a jury and a public. Speaking over the time limit would be unfavorable.


Calendar of selections

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Art 6: The registration for the competition must include the following items:

  1. Outline of the pleading (not the entire text)
  2. 3 minute video for the jury to assess the interest of the subject matter
  3. Justification of the registration with a bar
  4. Proof that the subject of the pleading is a genuine and individual case

Art 7: Friday 9 November 2018: closing date for submitting pleadings to the Mémorial de Caen museum.

Art 8: Process for sending the items:

  1. The video of the pleading must be sent via WeTransfer
  2. The outline of the pleading must be a text document attached to an e-mail
  3. The proof of the registration with a bar must be attached to the same e-mail
  4. The elements of proof evidencing that the pleading is in relation to a real case may be sent as electronic files or Internet links

Those 4 items must be sent to:

Art 9: Mid-December 2018: selection of 10 finalist lawyers. This selection will be made by a committee made up of representatives of the Bar of Caen, the City of Caen and the Mémorial. 10 pleadings will be selected for the final. The finalists will be told of the results of this selection over the phone or by email.

Art 10: Lawyers selected for the final shall undertake (where applicable) to set about obtaining a visa as soon as their selection has been announced.

Art 11: The 10 finalists commit to send the full text of their pleading (text file) to:

The file must be sent before Wednesday 12 December 2018.

Art 12: Pleadings written in English will be translated into French. Translation is provided by professional translators. The translation cost will be borne by the Mémorial.

Art 13: Sunday 27 January 2019: final of the competition at the Mémorial de Caen. The 10 lawyers selected shall be invited to plead in public in front of a jury made up of experts in defending human rights.


The final

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Art 14: On the day of the final, the lawyers shall go on stage to plead their case. The order in which they go on stage will be drawn at random before the competition.

Art 15: Candidates shall have no more than 12 minutes to plead their case; should they speak for longer, they may incur a sanction from the jury (barred from receiving a prize).

Art 16: The ten candidates selected can plead either in French or English. On the day of the final, a translation into French will be offered to the jury and the public.

Art 17: The candidates shall be judged on the subject matter (individual and real case), soundness of their arguments, strength of conviction, their oratorical skill and keeping to the le time limit.

Art 18: Lawyers are asked to appear in court dress or the clothing in use in their bar. Any other piece of clothing or accessory are strictly forbidden.

Art 19: After deliberation by the jury and the public's vote, a prize-giving ceremony will end the day.

Art 20: The Mémorial de Caen museum shall see to organising and paying for the finalists' travel and accommodation expenses (transport, meals and 3 nights in a hotel in Caen for the finalists). All other expenses, particularly visa costs, airport taxes, insurance and other hotel nights, shall be borne by the finalist.

Art 21: The candidate shall see to organising and paying for the travel and accommodation expenses of any guests accompanying the lawyer selected for the final.

Art 22: By participating in this event, candidates agree that pictures and videos may be taken during their presentation and during the entire event. The pictures may be used by the press, on social media or by the Mémorial de Caen Museum. They also agree that their text may be used in whole or in part for the promotion of the competition.

Art 23: The selected speeches will be published and available on the day of the final.


Cancellation of the competition and filing of the rules

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Art 26: In the event of major bad weather preventing half or more of the candidates from attending, the Mémorial de Caen museum is entitled to cancel the finale.

Art 27: The rules are filed with the S.C.P. Beaufils, Driquert & Ribeton Huissiers de justice associés - 42 rue Damozanne, 14067 Caen cedex 4.

Art 28: According to the data protection act of 6 January 1978, the candidates have a right of access and rectify their personal data.



The prizes

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Art 24: Two prizes are awarded by the jury

  • The Memorial and city of Caen award: € 8 000

Offered by the Mémorial and the city of Caen.

  • Bar award: € 4 000

Offered by the National Council of Bars (Conseil National des Barreaux), the Conference of Presidents of the Bar (Conférence des Bâtonniers), Caen Bar and Paris Bar.

Art 25: One prize is awarded after the public vote

  • Public award: € 4 000

Offered by the National Council of Bars (Conseil National des Barreaux), the Conference of Presidents of the Bar (Conférence des Bâtonniers), Caen Bar and Paris Bar.


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