Mock Trial Competition Organized by National Center for State Courts

Good morning.  Thank you very much for inviting me to the closing of the mock trial competitions.  The U.S. government is pleased to support the training and earlier rounds that led up to this week’s final mock trial competition.

Congratulations on all of your hard work to prepare for this final phase.  I understand that you spent several weeks learning oral argumentation techniques and participating in internal competitions at your own universities and with other universities in your area.  I’d also like to express my gratitude to the participating law schools for supporting these efforts. In so doing, you are supporting stronger rule of law in Nicaragua.

You will soon become lawyers, perhaps independent or perhaps as members of law firms.  Some of you may become prosecutors, judges, legislators, or magistrates.  You have a great responsibility to apply your legal education, the concepts you have learned about professional ethics, and rule of law principles. It is your responsibility to defend those principles.  A country guided by the rule of law requires that everyone, regardless of position, education, wealth or any other consideration, be bound by the laws of the land and entitled to the same benefits of those laws.  You are the next generation of legal professionals. You are the future guardians of the rule of law and of justice in Nicaragua.

A healthy justice sector guided by strong rule of law is a fundamental aspect of citizen security and economic prosperity.  When businesses and investors are confident that there is a fair playing field in which to compete and undergirded by strong rule of law, they will be more likely to invest and create jobs.  Today, Nicaragua is losing investment from the United States for the perception of lack of rule of law. When people know their crimes will be met with the full measure of the law, they will think twice before engaging in illegal activities.  And when people know that laws will be enforced, they will be less likely to take the law into their own hands. As legal professionals, you will have a heavy responsibility but also the satisfaction of engaging in such momentous work.

I hope this experience to test rule of law principles through practical scenarios will serve you well in your career.  I encourage you to continue preparing for an adversarial system.  This training is a beginning. Hopefully, it has given you the framework you need to successfully apply the law in an adversarial system.

I wish you all the very best in the future.