Team sets new record in Willem C. Vis Moot

15 April 2016
Willem C. Vis Moot From back left: Nikolai Santamaria (Greenwood Roche, Coach), Thom Clark (Meredith Connell, Coach). Front left: Jack Davies, Jovana Nedeljkov, Reuel Baptista, Taylor Gray.

A team of four students from Auckland Law School, supported by Bankside Chambers, represented New Zealand in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, Austria, the world’s largest mooting competition. The team put forward an outstanding performance, and in setting a new record for the Auckland Law School, placed third out of 311 teams.

Following months of preparation, students Taylor Gray, Jack Davies, Jovana Nedeljkov and Reuel Baptista, accompanied by coaches Thom Clark and Nikolai Santamaria, joined mooting teams from around the globe to compete for the international title. The team made it to the semi-finals, where it was beaten by the University of Buenos Aires, which went on to win the competition. Team members Taylor and Jack were each awarded an honourable mention for best individual oralist.

In the elimination rounds, the team successfully defeated the University of Munich, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Columbia University and the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.

The Moot involved the team analysing complex issues under the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), international commercial arbitration rules, and arguing its case before panels of arbitrators comprised of esteemed academics and practitioners.

The team also competed in pre-moot competitions at the London School of Economics (where it placed first), at Heidelberg University (where it also placed first) at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris (where it placed second); and at Eötvös Lorànd University of Sciences in Budapest.

Team member, Taylor Gray said the competition “tested me academically, technically and intellectually.  It was certainly hard work, but I felt that I came out of it with greater confidence and far more polished oral advocacy skills.  It was certainly a team effort to get the result that we did and in that respect the competition provided a fantastic opportunity to hone both teamwork and leadership skills for all involved.  Oh, and all this occurs in the fabulous setting of Europe, which is a pretty great bonus.”

The team wishes to thank the Auckland Law School and Bankside Chambers for their generous financial support in this competition.  The team is also grateful for the support of Dr Petra Butler, Isaac Hikaka and Martin Smith, who assisted with the preparation of the oral presentations. Finally, the team thanks their coaches for their guidance and support in preparing for the competition.