The annual Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot seeks 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. Since its inception in Vienna in 1993, the Vis Moot has grown from eleven teams representing 9 countries to around 230 teams representing roughly 60 countries today, thus making the Vis Moot the largest and most prestigious of its kind around the world. The University of Basel is a participant in the competition since the second Vis Moot in 1994. To accommodate the growing numbers wishing to participate, a second event was launched in Hong Kong, a sister to the Vienna Vis. The Vis Moot has for most of the years been organised by Pace Law School, New York and is now organised by the Association for the Organization and Promotion of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.
Each year in October a case named 'The Problem' is published. The Problem presents legal questions both with regard to procedural matters and substantive sales law. The proceedings are always conducted under the rules of an arbitral institution which is a different one each year. The merits of the dispute are always subject to the 1980 United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). The task for students is to first write a memorandum for the claimant which is to be done usually until the first week of December. These memoranda are then distributed among the participating teams which then have to write a memorandum for the respondent against the memorandum for claimant they have received from another team. This phase of the competition is usually finished by the end of January. Finally, during the weeks before Easter the teams meet in Hong Kong and/or Vienna where the oral arguments are held. During the general rounds every team has four arbitrations representing the claimant and the respondent two times respectively. The teams meet before a tribunal of three arbitrators which award points to the individual speakers. Teams which have collected a sufficient number of points for their performances in the general rounds move on to the elimination rounds which culminate in the final arbitration.
Awards can be won in four categories: Best Oral Team, Best Memorandum for Claimant, Best Memorandum for Respondent, Best Individual Speaker.
Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot
Introduction to the Moot