Vis Moot experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina – a truly amazing year!
“Senior year of my student life will definitely be remembered and marked out as a Vis Moot competition year. Looking back at the times of hardest preparations and commitments brings smile to my face today. Apart from knowledge on international sales of goods in general and CISG, documentary transactions and letter of credit, I have gained other skills i.e. from how to use different options of Microsoft Word to coping with my nerves in stressful situations. I will remember the Vis Moot experience as one that truly changed me as individual, in way that now I better understand myself, my future professional path, my ability to work as part of a team. But above all, Vis Moot has brought me friends and colleagues for a lifetime.“
Halisa Čengić, Vis Moot member, Sarajevo Faculty of Law
“My entire Vis Moot experience, starting from October last year to the Awards Banquet in Vienna was a life changing process. The knowledge and skills I have obtained are priceless and the people I have worked with have had a huge impact on me. I am truly thankful for being able to participate in this event.“
Fahira Brodilja, Vis Moot member, Sarajevo Faculty of Law
Start of Vis Moot in October
Association ARBITRI, in cooperation with the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP), Center for International Law Education (CILE) assisted Law faculty of University of Sarajevo and Law Faculty of University of Zenica in implementing Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis Moot). Work of the Association encompassed full assistance and active involvement in organization and coordination of preparations of teams from both faculties. In particular, members of the Association acted as coaches of both teams, gave lectures and workshops during trainings held in October and February, undertook several networking activities in order to promote Vis Moot among local legal community and finally accompanied teams to their trip in Vienna.
In terms of preparations students had two trainings. The first training was held in October and focused on developing skills necessary for legal analysis of a complex real-life case, research of relevant international legal practice and case law, and finally putting it all together in form of a formal legal memoranda. The second one, held in February was focused on developing skills of oral advocacy and students gained the first idea how it is to sit in front of an arbitral tribunal and present a complex case, while that same tribunal challenges presented arguments.
Preparations for oral advocacy – Pre moots and local networking
Almost immediately after the second training, students participated in the first official pre-moot online pre moot organized by the Institute for International Commercial Law. Being aware of benefits that modern technology brings, they continued their preparations through intensive practice rounds against teams from across the world (online pleadings), including Iran, India, Argentina, Great Britain, the USA, and many others.
Association ARBITRI and the Law Faculty of University of Sarajevo reached out to Karanović/Nikolić, Wolf Theiss, CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz and Marić Law Office, as the leading law firms seated in Sarajevo for their support in team preparations. As a result, we organized pleadings in their offices which gave students the opportunity to present their case before lawyers with a significant experience in international trade and dispute resolution. All pleadings were held in the offices of respective law firms; the overall concept was indeed a unique practical experience for students and a unique opportunity for the law firms to see new, perspective talents on the market. We are looking forward to future cooperation with the respective office during next year.
The second official pre-moot was held in Belgrade March on 21 and 22 March 2015. The pre-moot also offered some useful seminars and classes which were held by eminent professors and law practitioners from around the world, regarding topics which are in close relation to international commercial arbitration. Students pleaded against teams from other universities with a significant track record in previous Vis Moot competitions e.g. University of Belgrade, University of Pittsburgh, University of Bern, etc. Arbitrators of different backgrounds, judges, lawyers and professional arbitrators, challenged students’ arguments and provided them with useful comments in terms of their presentation and arguments.
The third official pre-moot in which students participated was held in Vienna, just two days before the actual Vis Moot started. This pre-moot is organized by University of Pittsburgh and it is also known as Pitt Consortium. It basically includes teams from countries in Europe and the Middle East with whom University of Pittsburgh has cooperated in the past and with which it continues to cooperate in development of Vis Moot at their respective universities.
Vis Moot in Vienna
After the useful practice rounds at the Pitt Consortium, students attended the opening ceremony in the Vienna Concert Hall, where were addressed by the organizers, distinguished professors and lawyers, as well as former participants in the competition.
The first official rounds started on Saturday, 28 March and ended four days after, on 31 March 2015. Teams faced opponents from Humboldt University (Germany), Masaryk University (Czech Republic), St. John’s University (New York), University of Montpellier (France), University of Gent, University of Cornell, etc. The arbitrators were of various profiles, which made the pleadings a bigger challenge, since they had different approaches and different expectations from each member of the teams. Although neither of the BiH teams advanced to round of 64, the comments and impressions of the arbitrators were favorable, and we are satisfied with both performance of the teams and feedback of arbitrators.
Aside the formal part of the Vis Moot, we had the opportunity to several conferences on international trade, arbitration and a seminar on advocacy skills in arbitration. More importantly, both teams and coaches used this opportunity to attend social events and establish connections some of the major decision makers, scholars and practitioners in the international commercial arbitration world such as professor Ronald Brand, Harry Flechtner, Ingeborg Schwenzer and Margaret Moses.
Post Vis Moot activities
Three days after arrival to Sarajevo, Association started with activities on forming a new team and the activities of promoting Vis Moot to all universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The post-moot events coming this spring are focused on making this year’s participants assistant coaches for the next year as well as active members of the Association ARBITRI.
The idea of the Vis moot is finally implemented in universities in BiH and it is gaining significance daily with the support of group of people whose hard work, expertise and enthusiasm is rewarded by improvement and growth of the Vis Moot idea in our country.