Leonard v.B. Sutton Writing Competition


Leonard v.B. Sutton (1914–2002), former Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, Denver Law School alumnus, and a man deeply devoted to the international rule of law, endowed an annual award to encourage and reward DU Law students for scholarly research in international law. The award is given for the best essay submitted by a Sturm College of Law student and, since 2013, provides a cash prize for the winner to study in the Summer Program of The Hague Academy of International Law in The Hague, Netherlands.

Application Criteria


The contest is open to any current student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Students must give written assurance that they will attend the Hague Summer Academy if selected.

Subject Matter

A contestant may write on any area of international or comparative law. Exceptional papers written as part of a contestant's law studies are eligible.

Determination of Award

Essays will be judged on originality, quality of research, and clarity of style. The director of the Ved Nanda Center for International & Comparative Law shall appoint a panel of three judges. At the discretion of the judges, no prize may be awarded. The decision of the judges shall be final.


A prize of $4,000 may be awarded in the form of tuition, travel, and stipend to attend The Hague Academy of International Law during the immediate summer term. If the winner is unable to attend The Hague Academy in the summer, the runner-up may be given the award. The winning essay is to be submitted to the Denver Journal of International Law & Policy for possible publication, subject to the editors' approval.

Right of Publication

Each contestant is required to assign to the Denver Journal of International Law & Policy all rights, title, and interest in the essay submitted, and shall certify that the essay is an original work and has not had prior publication or been accepted for publication elsewhere.

Formal Requirements

Essays must be submitted in English and be typewritten (double spaced) in 12-point font on 8.5" by 11" paper with 1" margins. Footnotes shall be placed at the bottom of the page and all citations must conform to The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation. The essay is limited to 40 pages, including text and footnotes. Only one submission per person is allowed. Multiple submissions are strictly prohibited.

Submission Requirements

Anonymous submission is required. The paper may not contain any identifying information in the title or the body of the essay. If the author's name is contained in any reference material, it is to be deleted and replaced with *** or ___. Submissions containing any identifying information in the title or body of the essay will be disqualified.

Submission Directions

One hard copy should be delivered in person to the Coordinator of the Nanda Center, Ms. Anne Aguirre, to be logged on a confidential list with the student's name and contact information. One electronic copy, in Microsoft Word format only, should be emailed to Ms. Aguirre at aaguirre@law.du.edu.

The first page should contain the following information only:

  • PAPER NUMBER _____, [leave blank]
  • List of Past Winners

    1967 – Lowell J. Noteboom

    1968 – Douglas A. Gross

    1968 – Jack A. MacDonald

    1969 – James R. Baarda

    1970 – Georgina Landman

    1971 – Gladys Oppenheimer

    1983 – Ellen Eggleston

    1984 – Marc Salzberg

    1985 – Todd Howland – Can International Law Prevent Another Bhopal Tragedy

    1986 – Nancy Louise Weingardt – Portugal’s Accession and Integration into the European Economic Community

    1987 – Fara Schenider

    1988 – Bryce Blegen – International Cooperation in Protection of Atmospheric Ozone: The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

    1989 – David Bost – The 1987 Soviet Join Venture Law: New Possibilities for Cooperation and Grow in East-West Relations

    1990 – Kevin Ryan – Knowledge and Justification: Humanitarian Intervention in Theory and Practice

    1991 – Dennis J. McElwee – International Merchant Law; Toward Clarification of the Lex Mercatoria

    1992 – Bradley Swenson – Intellectual Property Protection Through the Berne Convention: A Matter of Economic Survival for the Post-Soviet New Commonwealth of Independent States

    1993 – Gregory J. Ewald – The Kurds Right to Secede Under International Law: Self Determination Prevails Over Political Manipulation

    1994 – Sandra L. Jamison – International Criminal Court: War Crimes in Bosnia Outrage the International Community, Now is the Time to Commit: An Analysis of Problems, Perspective, and a New Proposal for a Permanent International Criminal Court

    1995 – Michael P. Roch – Military Intervention in Bosnia-Hercegovina: Will World Politics Prevail Over the Rule of International Law?

    1996 – David N. Whiting – The Spratley Islands Dispute and the Law of the Sea

    1997 – Margaret Curry – Jurisdiction Under Filartiga and the Alien Tort Statute: Good Law or Wishful Thinking?

    1998 – Christyne Vachon – Hong Kong’s 1997 Transition: U.N. Enforcement Mechanisms to Guarantee Hong Kong’s Human Rights Will Endure After the Transition

    1999 – Christine Juliet Sohar – The European Union’s Legal Integration: A Case Study Leading up to the Denver Summit of Eight

    2000 – Tanya Pooth – The Computer Piracy Superhighway

    2001 – Victor Ullom – Voluntary Repatriation of Refugees and Customary International Law

    2002 – Srecko “Lucky” Vidmar – Compulsory Inter-State Arbitration of Territorial Disputes

    2003 – Scott Grosscup – The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic: The Demise of Head of State Immunity and the Specter of Victor’s Justice

    2004 – Mark L. Rockefeller – The ‘Imminent Threat’ Requirements for the Use of Preemptive Military Force: Is it TIME for a Non-Temporal Standard

    2005 – Lars Meyer – Soft Law for Solid Contracts: A Comparative Analysis of International Commercial Contracts and Principles of European Contract Law’s Value for the Process of Contract Law Harmonization

    2006 – Shelly Rosnik – The African Elephant in 2006

    2008 – Sean Cumberlege – Multilateral Environmental Agreements: From Montreal to Kyoto-A Theoretical Approach to an Improved Climate Change Regime

    2009 – Tessa Mendez – Thin Ice, Shifting Geopolitics: The Legal Implications of Artic Ice Melt

    2010 – Megan Wells Sheffer – Bilateral Investment Treaties: A Friend or Foe to Human Rights

    2011 – Webster Cash – Sosa’s Silence: Kiobel and the Fallacy of the Supreme Court’s Limitation on Alien Tort Liability

    2011 – Jon Bellish – In Principle But Not in Practice: the Expansion of Essential State Interests in the Doctrine of Necessity Under Customary International Law

    2012 – Cassandra Kirsch – Science Fiction No More: Cyber Warfare and the United States

    2013 – Jean Yves Meyer – The Basin of the Danaides: How 3D Printing Will Push the Limits of International Gun Control and Digital Freedom of Speech in the Twenty-First Century

    2014 – Erin Schenk – Betting on Bowlers: This isn’t just Cricket

    2015 – Bradley Kloewer – The Spaghetti Bowl of Preferential Trade Agreements and the Declining Relevance of the WTO

    2016 – Quiwana (Nicole) Chaney – The Need to Reform Humanitarian Interventions Authorized By Security Council Resolutions and The Responsibility to Protect Doctrine

    2017 – Jeremy Goldstein – Bringing BITs Back from the Brink of Bad: A compilation of methodology for reserving policy space in investment agreements to meet international human rights obligations pursuant to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights Article 9

    2018 – Taylor Hannegan – Effective Engagement of Multinational Corporations to Address Existing Inadequacies in the Enforcement of Norms against Human Trafficking and Forced Labor

    2019 – Ruby Crews – Female Genital Mutilation in International Law: Approaches of International and Regional Law Frameworks

    2020 – Rachel Blue – Turning the Tide: Atoll Nations During the Era of Climate Change Emergency

    2023 – Marlene Pierce – And the World Watches: The Inadequate Response to the Unfolding Crisis in Myanmar and Where to Go from Here / Sophia Vander Kooy – Law Enforcement and the Human Right to Housing

    2024 - Rachel Crass - Not Woman Enough: How World Athletics’ Treatment of Women with Differences in Sexual Development (DSDs) Violates the Olympic Charter and the UN’s Conventions Against Racial Discrimination (CERD) and Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)