Sydney Law School student team reaches semi-finals of the prestigious 2022 Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition.
A team of students representing the University of Sydney Law School recently reached the semi-finals of the prestigious Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition, ranking the team in equal third place out of 365 teams who competed in the Competition.
The exceptional result sets a new record as it is the best result a Sydney team has ever had in the oral rounds of the Vis Moot.
The Vis Moot is a global mooting competition for law students to foster the practice of transnational commercial law and international commercial arbitration. In 2022, more than 2500 students competed from 365 universities, representing 84 different jurisdictions around the world. It is a demanding competition, and requires many months of preparation and training.
Although the oral rounds of the Vis Moot took place in April 2022, the Competition began six months earlier, in October 2021, when the Vis Moot problem was released.
Sydney Law School’s team (Aoife Hogan, Nicole Leong, Olivia Maley, and Caroline Xu) was required to submit a 50-page Claimant Memorandum and Respondent Memorandum over the course of December 2021 and January 2022. The team then embarked on a period of intensive oral advocacy training under the guidance of their exceptional coaches, Lucy Nason and Beata Szabo, both of whom are past members of Sydney Law School’s Vis Moot team.
Prior to the oral rounds, Sydney Law School’s team participated in a number of online “Pre-Moots”, including one organised by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore, the Asian International Arbitration Centre in Kuala Lumpur, the International Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, and the University of Hamburg. Sydney Law School also hosted a round-robin of friendly moots involving the other Sydney-based teams, namely the University of New South Wales, the Australian Catholic University, and Notre Dame.
Our mooting prowess is well known and the hard work behind the scenes is truly extraordinary. The time and commitment of everyone involved deserves our acknowledgement and praise.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vis Moot was again held remotely this year, with the moots being scheduled based on Vienna time (which is the usual location for the Vis Moot Competition). In the Sydney team’s moots in the General Rounds, the team had moots against Waseda University (Japan), National University of Rosario (Argentina), Luigi Bocconi University (Italy), and Yeditepe University (Turkey). At the conclusion of the General Rounds, the team learned that they were one of the 64 teams which had progressed to the Elimination Rounds.
In the Elimination Rounds, (which commenced in the afternoon, Sydney time, and continued through the night), Sydney Law School’s team won moots against the University of Lucerne (Switzerland), the National Law University, Jodhpur (India), the Dar Al Hekma School of Law and Diplomacy (Saudi Arabia), and Universidad Francisco Marroquin (Guatemala).
Having successfully navigated these moots, the Sydney Law School team progressed to the semi-final, where they met the University of Hamburg (Germany). It was an intense, high-quality moot and very even contest, in which both teams were subjected to relentless questions by the tribunal. Ultimately, the University of Hamburg was declared the winner.
The eventual winner of the 2022 Vis Moot Competition was Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski (Bulgaria) who won against the University of Hamburg. The other team ranked in equal third place was the University of Pretoria (South Africa).
In addition to the Sydney team’s excellent performance, we were delighted to learn that Aoife Hogan had been awarded a Best Oralist prize, which was announced in the Awards Ceremony at the conclusion of the Vis Moot Competition. This is a tremendous achievement, given the number of students who took part.
Thanks to the many past Sydney Vis Mooters, colleagues at Sydney Law School, and members of the legal profession who generously assisted with practice moots, including His Honour Justice Payne of the NSW Court of Appeal, who served as presiding arbitrator in the team’s final “Demonstration Moot”. I am also personally indebted to the team’s two excellent and dedicated coaches, Lucy Nason and Beata Szabo, for always going above and beyond in their support of the team.
The Vis Moot is the largest moot of its kind in the world. Launched in 1994, the aim is to foster the study of international commercial law and arbitration for resolution of international business disputes through its application to a concrete problem of a client and to train law leaders of tomorrow in methods of alternative dispute resolution.
The Vis Moot requires a huge commitment and long hours from the students who take part and is possibly one of the most challenging activities students undertake while studying at university. However, the rewards are high providing students with the opportunity of a lifetime to compete on a global stage, build life-long networks at a time when they are shaping their future careers, and strengthen their oral advocacy and research skills.
Banner image (left to right): Caroline Xu, Aoife Hogan, Nicole Leong, Olivia Maley, Lucy Nason (coach), Beata Szabo (coach).