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DICTUM: the first vLex
Legal Research Competition

Welcome to DICTUM: The first vLex legal research competition which invites students to answer legal questions. Taking part in this competition will help any student prepare for a career in the legal industry. This new competition is open to students studying at universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

DICTUM meaning a ‘formal pronouncement from an authoritative source’, is more than a competition. It is the first step a student can take in realising their legal research potential.

1 x Grand Prize £500 + Remote Internship

2 x Runners-up Prize £100 each

Certificate of achievement

The overall winner will receive a grand prize of £500, and be offered a 3-month internship at vLex, one of the world’s leading legal research technology firms. Two runners-up will each receive a cash prize, and notable entries will also receive certificates of achievement.

What do I need to do?

First, complete the form above.

We use this information to communicate important information about the competition to you, including guidance on the two stages of the competition and the submission form. Don't panic! Completing the form does not mean you are expected to submit an entry. This will ensure you have the right information if you choose to enter.

Then, read stage one and stage two below. 
Once you've completed your 500 word answer to the set question for stage one of the competition use the submission form to enter.

Lastly, submit your entry before the 1st February 2021.

How to enter?

Terms and Conditions

Everything you need to know to enter The vLex DICTUM Competition 2021

The Legal Research Competition: DICTUM 2021 (hereafter, DICTUM)  is open to students aged 18 and over within the United Kingdom and Ireland, with the exception of employees of vLex, their family members, or anyone else connected to the competition. All information detailing how to enter forms part of these terms and conditions.
It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final, and that the entrant agrees to abide by these rules. Submission of an entry will be taken as an acceptance of these terms and conditions.
To enter the competition, you must write an answer to a legal question in 500 of your own words. Please do not include any pictures. Entries with photos, diagrams or illustrations may be excluded.
A maximum of one entry is permitted per entrant.
Submissions should be entered using the form provided on the competition page in Word format only. You must include your full name, email address, university or college and country of residence. Failure to include valid information, or excluding information, may void your entry.
Entries must be the original work of the individual submitting them and must not have been published before in any other publication (or on any website), they must not contain any third party materials and/or content that you do not have permission to use, must not promote your own or third party goods or services, or include any trademarks and must not promote inappropriate or dangerous behaviour, or otherwise be obscene, defamatory, distasteful, offensive or in breach of any confidentiality obligations owed by you to any third party. Joint submissions are not allowed.
If you have any questions about how to enter or otherwise in connection with the competition, please email us at with “Legal Research Competition” in the subject line.
The competition closes at 23:59 GMT on the 1st of March 2021. Entries beyond this time will not be considered. vLex reserves the right to extend the closing date for a reasonable period of time where an insufficient number of entries have satisfied the entry and judging criteria.
You own the copyright to your submission as its author. However, by submitting an entry to the competition you grant a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual license to vLex and their partners to feature any or all of the submission in any of its publications, its websites and/or in any promotional material connected to this competition listed on this page or otherwise. You also grant vLex and their partners the right to use your name, academic institution and country of residence for the sole purpose of identifying you as the author of your submission and/or as a winner or runner-up of the competition.
We may disqualify your competition entry for the following reasons: your entry does not comply with these terms and conditions; you are not eligible to enter the competition; you are unable to provide proof of your student status; you cannot be contacted. In the event of disqualification(s), we may reselect winners in accordance with the selection and/or judging processes. Should you wish to withdraw from the competition for any reason, please email us at
The competition will be judged by a panel of representatives of vLex. The judges will choose 15 students to advance to stage two of the competition. Then in stage two of the competition, the judges will choose one winning entry for the competition, and two runner-ups. The judges’ decision will be made on or before the 5th of May 2021, with this date subject to change at any time. The winner and runners-up will be contacted by email after this date. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
The overall winner will receive a prize by BACS and the two runners-up will each receive a prize by BACS or other suitable payment method approved by vLex, and have their submission published in the company newsletter, on the blog section of the vLex and vLex Justis websites, and published by vLex partner(s) in accordance with the benefits stated on this page.
Each entrant is only eligible for a single prize. vLex reserves the right to substitute the prizes with other prizes of similar value.
vLex reserves the right at any time to modify these terms and conditions, or to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, this competition with or without prior notice due to reasons outside its reasonable control (including, without limitation, in the case of anticipated, suspected or actual fraud). The decision of vLex in all matters relating to the competition is final and no correspondence will be entered into. vLex will not be liable for any failure to comply with its obligations relating to this competition where the failure is caused by something outside its reasonable control. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed under the laws of England and Wales, and entrants to the competition submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

January 2021

Shortlisting Announced

March 2021

Winner Announced

The judges

About the Competition

The vLex International Law and Technology Writing Competition is designed to enable students around the world to showcase their writing ability to an international audience and to give a voice to the lawyers of the future. Following three successful competitions in 2018, 2019, and 2020 the competition now draws entries from students at 98 universities from 30 countries around the world.

Open for registration - New grand prize!

As featured in


FAQs Common questions we're asked...

I am a recent graduate, can I still enter?

Unfortunately, the competition is only open to current students. This means you need to be a student at the time of submitting your entry.

Can international students enter?

If you are an international student studying within the United Kingdom or Ireland you are eligible to apply. Unfortunately, all other international students are not eligible to apply.

I don't have a university email address, can I still enter?

Yes! You will just need to submit a proof of student status along with your submission, supplied by your university or college.

Can I write about a different subject?

To ensure the competition is fairly judged, you need to write about the topics provided in each stage of the competition.

Can I enter more than one submission for stage one?

Only one submission per student will be accepted.

What referencing style should I use?

You should use OSCOLA referencing and provide a link to the vLex Justis webpage you used to access the information.

2021 Judging Panel

Richard Tromans

Founder and CEO of Tromans Consulting and Artificial Lawyer

Dr. Shaun Wallace

Barrister and The Dark Destroyer on ITV1’s The Chase

Emily Allbon

Senior Lecturer, Director of Mooting, Assistant Dean Student Experience and Communication, City, University of London

Dr Liz Dowthwaite

Research Fellow in Horizon Digital Economy at the Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Hub at the University of Nottingham

Students that have registered for the competition will be given free trial access to vLex Justis.

Along with the trial a recorded presentation introducing the competition will also be sent to each student. The presentation will cover the stages, rules, and scoring criteria for the competition. 

A one-hour recorded training session explaining the features and functionality of the vLex Justis platform will also be provided.

How will we prepare students for the competition?

Please ensure that you have read the entry requirements in full. 

Open to students around the world:

  • All entries must be 1,000 words or less, excluding references
  • All entries must be in English
  • Please ensure you follow the referencing guidelines, which are email to you once you sign-up to the competition
  • You must be a current student (undergraduate or postgraduate)
  • Entries must be submitted before December 7th 2020, Midnight GMT
  • A maximum of one entry may be submitted for each category
  • Your entry must include your full name within the document
  • All entries must be submitted in Microsoft word format (Do not submit a PDF)
  • Entries must not include any photos, diagrams or illustrations
  • Sign-up and submit your entry using your valid university email address if possible (see below for more details)

Email address: If your university or college does not provide you with an email address you can submit a proof of student status, such as an ID, or letter from your university when you submit your article. On our submission form, there is a field for you to attach a proof of status alongside your article.

Entry Requirements

Prof. Roger V. Skalbeck

Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Library and Information Services for University of Richmond School of Law

Masoud Gerami

Managing Director for vLex Global Markets

Register your interest 

Everything you need to know about DICTUM

First, complete the form above.

To enter you must be a current student at a university in the UK or Ireland. We use this information to communicate important information about the competition to you, including guidance on the two stages of the competition and the submission form. Don't panic! Completing the form does not mean you are expected to submit an entry. This will ensure you have the right information if you choose to enter. You must enter as an individual, not as a team.

Access your account 

Sign-up for a free student account to vLex Justis, or check that you have access through your university. Many universities in the UK and Ireland already subscribe to vLex services. If your university does not have access, sign up for your free account here. Once you have signed up, you can learn how to use vLex Justis using the video guides on our resource page. You are also invited to join a special DICTUM webinar on January 27, 2021 05:00 PM (UK time - Register).

Stage one: Answer a legal research question (Deadline 1st March 2021)

After registering using the form above you will reveal the competition's legal question which you will need to answer in 500 words or less using vLex Justis as your sole resource. Using footnotes, you must link to the documents on vLex Justis referenced in your answer. If you use a feature such as the Precedent Map to help answer your question, we also recommend you include this within the footnotes, which are not included in the word limit. Register to reveal the research question. Then submit your answer here.

Stage one shortlist: The top 10 answers proceed to stage two

Stage two: Final presentation

The entrants with the top 10 scores will be able to choose an area of law they would like to compete in from a set amount of topics (i.e Criminal Law, Tort Law, Contract Law, Public Law). Once the students have chosen their area of law, they will be presented with a case study question which they will need to answer by preparing a thorough presentation. More information will be provided at this stage.

Winner announced!

Register for the competition

Judges announced soon...

New to vLex Justis?

vLex Justis is unlike any other legal research database. While our intuitive interface provides familiarity and ease of use, we enable you to access more information on one location than any other provider. Whether you need to access local and national authorities or international precedents, vLex Justis helps you find information and details to a level not possible elsewhere. Trusted by organisations worldwide, we process millions of documents every month to ensure you have access to a growing and up-to-date source of primary and secondary materials.

Deadline 1st March 2021

New deadline 1st March 2021

Submit your entry here