In September 2013 I spent five weeks at the Chakrabarti Law College in Kathmandu, on a teaching and research trip organised by the Mountain Trust. It was a fantastic trip, intense but very rewarding. The college entrusted me with the third years LLB students, teaching a series of lectures on international humanitarian law.The students. once they had got over their initial shyness in speaking english in class, proved enthusiastic, knowledgeable and eager to learn. Spirited discussions on issues as diverse as cyber warfare, the legality of US intervention in Iraq and Afghan drug running took place. Students were also eager to apply some of the humanitarian legal principles to recent events in Nepal, and it is hoped that this will lead to future academic work on Nepali legal issues.
In addition to teaching undergraduates I held two seminars with the LLM students, one on the UK common law system and the other presenting my research on the issue of transitional constitutionalism in Nepal. This is a fascinating topic, but one that has attracted little academic scrutiny. The LLM seminar proved a valuable exercise in clarifying some of the ideas in my research and suggesting new avenues to explore. I hope to publish the research in the new journal currently being planned by the Chakrabarti Centre for Human Rights and Democracy.
I was also able to help coach a team of third years, who were preparing for their first ICRC moot. The team worked extremely hard, in a very tight timeframe and were up against some very experienced teams. So it was very gratifying when they go through to the final round of the moot, and hopefully their participation will have inspired them to enter more mooting competitions and encourage others to do so.
Everyone at the college was incredibly welcoming and went out of their way to be helpful. My internship coordinator, Apurba, was fantastic and was always on call for help, information and contacts. Apurba organised meetings with the Nepal Bar Association, Advocacy Forum and the former Chief of Armed Police. He was also a mine of information on Nepali legal developments and politics.
When I was not working I explored Kathmandu, and spent my spare hours exploring temples, wandering around (in a clockwise direction of course) stupas, and seeking out the best momos in the city. There is so much of Nepal still to be explored, and I felt that on this trip I only scratched the surface, both geographically and in terms of understanding the current legal and political developments. I am already planning my next trip.