Campbell Law advocates advance to elimination rounds in virtual Vienna Willem Vis Moot Court Competition

Members of the Vienna Willem Vis Moot Court Competition pose in Dean's Conference room

You have to get up really early in the morning to catch Campbell Law advocates making their oral arguments. Or stay up very late.

Campbell Law students found out Tuesday afternoon they made it into the elimination rounds in the online Vienna Willem Vis Moot Court Competition.

Second-year law students Oumayma El Hamzaoui and Peyton Derrow will go up against law students from Heidelberg University in Germany on Wednesday, April 8, beginning at 2 a.m., according to the team’s coach, Professor Raluca Papadima.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our four oralists in Vienna: Adella Shaffer, Robert Pearson, Oumayma El Hamzaoui and Peyton Derrow,” Papadima wrote in an email update. “And Daniel Goldstein and our two Hong Kong oralists (Rebecca Skahen and Miller Capps) helped the Vienna oralists until the very last minute. We’ll come back tomorrow with updates as we are hopefully advancing through the elimination rounds!”

Campbell Law’s Willem Vis moot court team began tackling the oral rounds of the competition online starting Friday, April 3. In addition to El Hamzaoui and Derrow, the team includes Adella Shaffer, Miller Capps, Rebecca Skahen, Robert Pearson and Daniel Goldstein.

All members of the team and their coaches collaborate to solidify the legal arguments to be used in the oral rounds. However, Miller Capps and Rebecca Skahen are ineligible to compete in the 27th Vienna Willem Vis Moot Court Competition, having competed virtually last week in the 17th Hong Kong Willem Vis (East) Moot Court Competition.

The competition is expected to close with the final announcement of the awards on April 9-10.

Due to concerns around the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the moot, generally held in Vienna, is being held online, on Vienna time and in the usual Vienna timeslots. Teams and arbitrators are located all over the world, and consequently, some rounds will be held at odd times for either the students or the arbitrators.  For example, Campbell’s team will compete in several general rounds at 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., respectively.

The Willem C. Vis moot is the largest private law competition in the world.  It is held annually in Vienna and in Hong Kong, combining international contract law and commercial arbitration.  The previous edition of the competition brought together more than 3,000 students and 1,000 practitioners and academics, and was attended by approximately 380 universities (Vienna) and 128 universities (Hong Kong) from more than 80 countries.

The Vis Moot centers around a dispute arising from a sales contract concluded between two commercial parties from different countries, both signatory members to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). The dispute between the parties is submitted to settlement through arbitration under the rules of an arbitration institution, which vary from year to year (the London Court of International Arbitration for the 2019-2020 edition). The Vis Moot is divided in two stages. During the written stage, participating teams are required to submit a Memorandum for Claimant, followed by a Memorandum for Respondent. During the oral stage, held normally in Hong Kong and Vienna, the students present the arguments developed in their memoranda against other teams, in front of an arbitral tribunal.

The goal of the Vis Arbitral Moot 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.

Campbell Law obtained remarkable distinctions in the Hong Kong edition of the Vis Moot: an honorable mention in the “David Hunter” award category (4th place ex aequo out of more than 130 universities) for best memorandum on behalf of Claimant and an honorable mention in the “Fali Nariman” award category (4th place ex aequo out of over 130 universities) for best memorandum on behalf of Respondent. In the “David Hunter” award category, the winners were: Heidelberg University (Germany, 1st place), Göttingen University (Germany, 2nd place) and Hannover University (Germany, 3rd place). In the “Fali Nariman” award category, the winners were: City University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, 1st place), Freiburg University (Germany, 2nd place) and National Law University, Jodhpur (India, 3rd place).




Lisa Snedeker

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