Playing cards have been used as legal study aids for at least 500 years. Most famously the German Theologian and Philosopher Thomas Murner (1475-1537) crafted the Chartiludium institute summarie – a set of 121 playing cards designed to facilitate the study of Justinian’s Institutes in 1502. Although the cards were not very well received by Murner’s colleagues at the time, his students not only appeared to love them, but reportedly outperformed other students not using the cards. Nonetheless, the use of playing cards as legal study aids is nowadays much less common and there are only very few contemporary examples (see e.g. here, here or here).
The International Game of Justice aims to reintroduce card games as a tool to facilitate the study of law. There is no doubt that a game of cards cannot replace the detailed study of cases and textbooks. However, the International Game of Justice helps students to remember at least a few facts about a few key cases. More importantly, the card game brings international law to live allowing for the visualisation of the ICJ’s jurisprudence and introducing a playful, fun element to the study of law.
For all those fortunate enough to have completed their legal education, the International Game of Justice is an invitation to rediscover the most famous cases of the ICJ by playful means and to compete with others in this most geeky of games.
Finally, the card game can even be played by and with those who are completely ignorant of the ways of the world of law by treating it just like an ordinary game of top trumps (with or without the advanced rules).