“The courtroom is not just a place for legal battles, but a sanctuary where the rights and freedoms of all citizens are safeguarded. Let us strive to uphold the integrity of this sacred space.” – Justice Edwin Cameron

Louis Koen



Organisation / Company

University of Johannesburg


Louis Koen, 28, loves the law, how it safeguards the rights of all citizens, and what changes it can achieve. He’s a lecturer in the department of public law at the University of Johannesburg, where he does research on how sustainable development, attaining dignified work and international economic law fit together. He has a particular focus on vulnerable groups, including those people working in the informal economy.

He’s also the head of the UJ Moot Court programme, which simulates court processes by giving law students cases to argue, as if they were in a real court. This helps students to gain skills and exposes them to new opportunities. Since Louis has run UJ’s programme, his students have won many competitions. Many of them come from less privileged backgrounds, and the programme gives them the chance to travel and see other countries for the first time.


  • LLB, University of Johannesburg
  • LLM (cum laude), University of Johannesburg
  • LLD candidate, University of Johannesburg


The UJ Moot Court Programme has given me the opportunity to have a direct effect on students’ lives. While we have won many competitions, the programme is about more than just winning. It aims to be an impactful programme that exposes students to new opportunities while also gaining practical skills. Since I became the head of the programme, we have sought to expand the breadth of the moot courts in which the University of Johannesburg participates in and added important moot courts such as the CALS/SLS Public Interest Law Moot Court Competition and the FDI International Arbitration Moot Court Competition. Under my tutelage UJ won the inaugural CALS/SLS moot. In 2023 UJ also became the first South African university to qualify for the global rounds of the FDI Moot, and in 2022 we were the best performing African university in the Philip C Jessup International Moot Court Competition.

However, my true source of pride is not the prizes but the journey I get to embark on with each group of students. UJ is a university with many first-generation students from less privileged backgrounds, which means that for many of my students moot court gave them the opportunity to travel for the first time, fly for the first time and see the ocean for the first time. It also shapes our students academically and many of them have returned to assist the next generation, even after they have gone into practice. In my view, this has transformed the programme into more than just a programme, but into an impactful community of mooters.


One of the people I look up to most and who has supported and coached me is Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi, vice-chancellor and principal of UJ, who is also one of my PhD supervisors. When I had just started my journey to become an academic, he encouraged me to take part in my first conference. He has given me wonderful opportunities to grow and expand my skills and guided me through daunting tasks.

He has given me feedback on academic papers, and gave me the opportunity to co-author a book with him in order to gain experience. He has also always made time to check in with me, even though I know how busy he is. I am very thankful for his support. His encouragement gave me the confidence to pursue my passion for teaching and becoming an academic.