What is the Willem C. Vis Moot Court Competition?
Every year thousands of law students from around the world meet during March and April for the Willem C. Vis Moot court held in Vienna alongside its companion, the Vis Moot East taking place in Hong Kong.
The purpose of the Moot is to study and experience international commercial arbitration in the context of a hypothetical contractual dispute.
Sequence of events
Typically, the hypothetical problem will be released in early October, allowing students some time to submit questions for clarification of the facts and/or legal issues.
Students will research and prepare a written memorandum for Claimant, which is due in December, followed by a memorandum on behalf of Respondent, due in January.
Following the written submissions, students will focus on improving their arguments and oratory skills. Informal practice rounds, organized Pre-Moots and simulated pleadings with the help of local law firms prepare students for the competition in March-April.
Research in International Commercial Arbitration
Researching the law in international commercial arbitration is different from what you are used to in litigation. U.S. case law will not suffice to make a convincing argument to the panel. In fact, many sources will be used to support your arguments and make them persuasive, including arbitral awards, foreign case law, international treaties and scholarly writings from several different jurisdictions.
FIU subscribes to many useful databases that make research in this area a lot easier. Those are: Wolters/Kluwer (http://intelliconnect.cch.com/) , UNCITRAL case law (http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/case_law.html), and Pace CISG database (http://www.cisg.law.pace.edu/cisg/text/caseschedule.html).
Every year the hypothetical problem has been divided into procedural and substantive issues. Often the parties have chosen an arbitral institution to administer their dispute. Such institutions have promulgated procedural rules that may govern the dispute. The Moot will announce, with the publication of the problem, which rules have been chosen.
In addition, the substantive issues will be governed by the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG). While these laws will be the primary source, it is up to the team to bolster the arguments with a host of other sources as listed above.
More on research in international commercial arbitration here: http://www.cisg.law.pace.edu/cisg/moot/Strong.pdf
Join the FIU Vis Moot Team – email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Official Vis Moot Website
Writing the memorandum – Vis style guide