Students compete in world's largest moot

29 June 2017
Willem C. Vis Moot team
From left; Michael Smol, Honor Kerry and Jovana Nedeljkov with coaches Thom Clark and Finn Lowery. Absent: Josh Suyker.

A team of top mooters from the Auckland Law School travelled to Vienna recently to compete in the world’s largest competition, the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

This year’s Auckland Vis Moot team comprised University of Auckland law students Michael Smol, Honor Kerry, Josh Suyker and Jovana Nedeljkov. They were coached by Thom Clark and Finn Lowery and generously sponsored by Bankside Chambers.

This is the second year that Bankside Chambers has supported the Auckland Law School Vis Moot team, assisting students to compete internationally on the world stage.

Established twenty four years ago, the goal of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is to foster the study of international commercial law and arbitration for resolution of international business disputes. This reflects the growing preference for resolving international commercial disputes by this method.

The Vis Moot problem this year was one of contractual interpretation involving two parties in the aircraft industry.

The team members spent their summer preparing written and oral submissions before taking part in pre-moot rounds in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Prague, Stockholm, Belgrade, Brussels, Paris and Heidelberg. They placed an impressive first in the Paris competition, and were runners-up in the Heidelberg competition.

Bankside Chambers recognised the teams’ efforts with a morning tea function. Roydon Hindle, an expert arbitrator, warmly welcomed the team and recognised the work that has gone in to the Vis Moot this year, complimenting them and the coaches on their demonstration of the ‘self-starting DNA’ that is needed to become a leader in the profession.

“Being part of the Vis Moot is the best thing I have ever done,” said team member Michael Smol. “Despite the different backgrounds of the teams, sharing the same experiences as part of the Moot was an unforgettable, and very special, memory,” he says.

Professor Warren Swain, the Auckland Law School’s Associate Dean (Academic), thanked Bankside Chambers for their sponsorship of the team and the help and encouragement that members of Chambers also provided.

“As mooting becomes an important element of the law student experience, this year’s team is part of a growing tradition of success in the competition, placing first in the Paris pre-moot and runners up in the Heidelberg pre-moot stages, while being unlucky not to reach the final stages in the overall competition,” said Professor Swain.

“Taking part itself was a formative experience, enabling them to further develop their skills in arbitration as well as making important contacts,” he said.