Oxford University has been highly concerned to learn of complaints raised by participants in the Moot competition, which was not organised by the University but by the Oxford University Society India alumni group. We are ourselves urgently investigating competitors’ concerns with the leadership of the alumni society. We are asking them to explain what went on at the proceedings, and to respond to specific complaints.
The Oxford University Society India alumni group first proposed to the University in summer 2013 that it should organise a Moot competition in India. At the time, the University welcomed this initiative, and members of the Law Faculty discussed the problem to be set with the alumni group, and offered to provide one or more judges for the competition. The Faculty invited Indian law students to apply to the group to participate in the competition.
The planning and organisation of the competition itself was conducted by Oxford University Society India alumni group. The Law Faculty’s offer to provide judges for the contest was not taken up. On February 15, the alumni group notified the Law Faculty that they did not wish to continue any sort of association with the Law Faculty. The group subsequently did not respond to the University’s requests for information concerning preparations for the Moot. No members of the Oxford Law Faculty attended the event, or were involved in the arrangements made for competitors, in the conduct of the competition, or its judging. These were all the responsibility of the alumni group.
The University of Oxford is always happy to encourage and support events run by alumni groups. However, responsibility for event organisation rests with the groups themselves. These are autonomous, independently-financed groups run by volunteers, who undertake to the University to conduct themselves to a high standard and to keep us informed of the events they organise. The University can offer advice on the running of events but in this case, the India alumni group chose to make all the arrangements without such advice.
It is important to us that anyone attending an Oxford-related event should find it enjoyable and of high quality. We always welcome feedback about such events, including those organised by our alumni groups. Where it is established that events have clearly fallen short of the high standards we expect, we will investigate criticism and complaints and take up relevant issues with the organising group. In the case of this Moot competition, we are disconnecting any links to the Oxford University Society India from the University’s website until the full circumstances are established.