DePaul University College of Law > About > Centers & Institutes > Center for Art, Museum & Cultural Heritage Law > Our Work > National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition

National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition

Registration is now open for the 2017 National Cultural Heritage Law Moot Court Competition! 

The 2017 Competition will focus on the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA), which prohibits the taking of bald and golden eagles and eagle parts, including feathers. The competition problem will address challenges to BGEPA brought by a Native American tribe member, including a challenge under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

Oral arguments will be held February 24-25, 2017 at the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse, home of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in Chicago, IL.​

About the Competition

Co-sponsored by the Lawyers' Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation, the National Cultural Heritage Law ​Moot Court Competition is the only moot court competition in the world that focuses exclusively on cultural heritage law issues. The Competition provides students with the opportunity to advocate in the nuanced landscape of cultural heritage, which addresses our past and our identity, and which has frequently become the subject of contentious legal debates and policies. This dynamic and growing legal field deals with the issues that arise as our society comes to appreciate the important symbolic, historical and emotional role that cultural heritage plays in our lives. It encompasses several disparate areas: protection of archaeological sites; preservation of historic structures and the built environment; preservation of and respect for both tangible and intangible indigenous cultural heritage; the international market in art works and antiquities; and recovery of stolen art works.

Topics covered by the Competition in past years include: the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and the act of state doctrine (2016); constitutional challenges to the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (2015); statutory interpretation questions regarding the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (2014); the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment (2013); the constitutionality of the Theft of Major Artwork Act, which was passed under the Commerce Clause (2012); the Immunity from Seizure Act and the equitable defense of laches (2011); and the mens rea requirement and extraterritorial application of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (2010).

The Competition attracts teams from across the nation, including teams from law schools with top-ranked moot court advocacy programs, as well as those with art law programs. DePaul students participate in writing the bench brief, organizing the competition, volunteering as Bailiffs and Assistant Bailiffs and competing as ghost team members.

Attorneys from across the United States, including many nationally renowned leading experts in the art, museum and cultural heritage legal fields, serve as judges during the early rounds of the competition, and sitting and retired judges serve as the judges for the final round. In years past, the Competition was honored to have several federal circuit judges serve as final round judges, including: the Hon. William J. Bauer, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; the Hon. Paul J. Kelly, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; the Hon. Diane P. Wood, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; the Hon. David F. Hamilton, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; and the Hon. Richard D. Cudahy, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.