The Willem C. Vis Moot
The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is a competition for law students. It simulates an arbitration proceeding, in which the participating students act as counsel for both parties, write briefs and prepare oral arguments. Nearly 300 student teams from all over the world compete every year.
The Vis Moot involves a dispute arising out of a sales contract concluded between parties that are subject to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sales of Goods (CISG). The contract provides for settlement of the dispute through arbitration. Thereby, the Vis Moot offers participants the chance to gain practical experience with international sales law and international commercial arbitration. Prior knowledge of any of these fields of law is not required, however, students must be hard-working and willing to engage in detail both with the legal framework and the facts of the case.
Throughout the preparation of the written memoranda and for the oral hearings, the coaches, who all have experience as previous participants of the Vis Moot, will assist you.
The problem is released in early October and consists of documents from both claimant and respondent and a first procedural order by the arbitral tribunal. The first brief (the Memorandum for Claimant, 35 pages of legal argumentation covering both the procedural aspects and the merits of the case) is due by mid-December. Each team will then receive a Memorandum for Claimant of another university and write its Memorandum for Respondent in response (due by the end of January). Arbitration professionals will score the written memoranda. Awards are given to the best memoranda for both claimant and respondent, with honourable mentions in each category.
After the written phase of the Vis Moot, teams will prepare their pleadings for the oral hearings in Vienna. In the weeks prior to Vienna, you will practice your pleading many times in Fribourg and take part in training rounds against other Swiss teams organised by major Swiss law firms. In addition, Swiss teams compete at the so-called Swiss Day as well as during longer practice competitions called Pre-Moots, where a large number of teams participates.
The oral competition in Vienna takes place during nine days prior to the Easter weekend. There, each team will plead four times during the General Rounds, twice for claimant and twice for respondent. The best 64 teams enter into the elimination rounds, in which only the winner of a pleading makes it to the next round. The final argument is followed by a ceremonial awards banquet. For the oral phase of the Vis Moot, awards and honourable mentions are given to the best individual speakers and to teams.
Next to the preparation and the pleadings, there remains enough time to enjoy the parties organised by the Moot Alumni Association (MAA) – the Vis Moot is also a great social experience during which you will meet many fellow students from all over the world.