The Vis Moot Court in Vienna is organized by the Association for the Organization and Promotion of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in collaboration with UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law), renowned arbitration institutions and the Faculty of Law of Vienna.
The arbitrators in the competition arejudges, lawyers and professors from around the globe. The aim of the moot is to promote the studies of international civil and commercial law and to learn about arbitration in the international economic arena via the concrete application of a problem.
Over a period of six months the students participating in the competition focused on International Sales Law and Arbitration Law and had to prove their research abilities, excellent argumentation and quick learning skills, as well as their ability to work in a team.
The students jointly drafted two complex English memoranda which were presented to an international jury. Subsequently, they focused on developing concise and detailed presentations of the legal arguments.
Practice pleadings, exercises and preparatory competitions for the Moot Court in Vienna are regularly held in different European cities.
Participation in the VIS Moot Court is only possible after the completion of the course at the Europa-Institut.
About the Vis Moot
Each year, the Vis Moot involves a dispute arising out of a contract of sale between two parties in different countries that are party to the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. The parties agreed to resolve their conflict through arbitration. The applicable arbitration rules change annually. In 2019, the rules of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre were applied.
From October to February, the participating teams drafted two memoranda – one for Claimant and one for Respondent in response to a claimant memorandum of a competing team. Students proved their legal knowledge and skills not only by studying and applying the legal framework, but also by finding the most convincing way to present the arguments. An international jury evaluated the memoranda on legal argumentation, style and presentation.
As from February, the competition moved to the oral phase. The students (two for each side in a hearing) improved their oral advocacy skills by presenting their arguments in well-timed pleadings of 15 minutes. To learn and deepen their pleading technique, the students competed against teams from other German, European and international universities in Frankfurt, Cologne, Stuttgart, Zenica (Bosnia) and Belgrade in law faculties and local law firms during practice rounds.
The final hearings took place in Vienna from 11 to 18 April 2019, in which the team took part in a total of four oral hearings against universities from France, Brazil, the Netherlands and Spain. They slipped into the role of lawyers and delivered pleadings in English before a three-member arbitral tribunal.
Participation in this international moot competition allows students to perfect their legal skills and personal appearance. It offers a possibility to develop as an international lawyer. In addition, students are also able to establish contacts and long-term friendships on the international stage, thus making Saarland University and the Europa-Institut known across many national borders.
The team was supervised by Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Helmut Rüßmann, Dipl. iur. Anja Neufing and Pieter Van Vaerenbergh, LL.M.
The participation and the journeys were made possible by a donation of the University Society from the estate of Wilhelm Pelletier, funds of the Law Faculty Saarland University as well as by a donation of the Foundation ME Saar, a donation of the Moot Team 2017/18, donations of the SHS Stahlholding Saar, Noerr LLP and Flegl Rechtsanwälte GmbH. Professor Stefan Weber, lawyer in Vienna and lecturer at the Europa-Institut, actively supported the team on site. Furthermore, faculty professors Stefan Weth and Markus Würdinger supported the activities of the moot team generously. The team would like to take this opportunity to thank all supporters, without whom participation would not have been possible.
Report by Pieter Van Vaerenbergh
At the opening ceremony of the Europa-Institut, the participants of the Vis Moot Court 2018 received the ASKO-EUROPA-STIFTUNG prize, which was endowed with 1,200 euros this year. Klaus-Peter Beck, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ASKO EUROPA-STIFTUNG, presented the prize to the four members of the Vis Moot Team 2018, former students of the Master's program in European and International Law Aliz Káposznyák from Hungary, Andrés Eduardo Alvarado Garzón from Colombia and Pieter Van Vaerenbergh from Belgium together with the student of German law Selina Stachowitz. The team was supervised by Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. em. Helmut Rüßmann, Ass. iur. Ben Köhler and Dipl. iur. Anja Neufing. Aliz Káposznyák was awarded an "honourable mention" for particularly outstanding individual speaker performance by a team speaker and was able to stand out from the crowd through outstanding speaker qualities and negotiation skills. She was one of the best speakers of the competition.
Just like last year, the team immediately donated half of its prize money to the new team, which will participate in the 26th Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in 2019, so that they can participate in even more Pre-Moots. We wish the new team all the best and thank the "old" team for the generous donation!
Filip Matković : "The Vis Moot is a great experience for anyone who aspires to work in the field of arbitration. It gives an insight on the workload expected, research and knowledge required and time needed to be sacrificed in orderr to fully analyse a case and represent your client as best as possible. This year we have received an "honourable mention" for our Respondent memorandum which made us very proud and has shown us once again that hard work does pay off".