What is the Willem C. Vis Moot Court?
The goal of this master course offered by the University of Lucerne is the participation at the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. More than 360 university teams from all over the world compete against each other. Each team is representing the parties in dispute of a fictional case before an arbitral tribunal.
The case deals with typical issues in connection with the the UN-Convention on International Sale of Goods (CISG) and the field of International Commercial Arbitration. On the basis of the fictional case, the participants of each team draft a legal brief referred to as Memorandum for Claimant. Subsequently, the participants change their role from representing Claimant to representing Respondent. In the next phase, they draft the Memorandum for Respondent, in response to a Memorandum for Claimant drafted by the moot team of another University.
The week before Easter oral pleadings take place in Vienna. In four rounds (twice representing Claimant and twice representing Respondent), the participants will compete against four other teams from different Universities in front of arbitratal tribunals, consisting each of three experienced practitioners and experts on the subjects of the CISG and international commercial arbitration from all over the world.
To ensure an educational and successful participation, the University of Lucerne team has the chance to attend preparatory crash courses and will be supported by individual coaching by the professors and the coaching team throughout all the stages of the Moot.
As a preparation for the oral pleadings in Vienna, several test runs against Swiss and foreign teams will take place at Swiss law firms and pre-moots outside Switzerland, allowing the participants to reach out and get in contact with possible future employers as well as students from abroad.
The prerequisites for a participation at the Willem C. Vis Moot Court are:
- completion of Bachelor programme at the beginning of the moot
- a profound understanding of OR I-III, Juristische Methodik, ZPR/SchKR
- interest in new areas of law, i.e. International Sales Law and International Commercial Arbitration
- an advanced level of English
- ability to work in a team of ambitious students
- willingness to invest one full semester for participating at the moot
(In general, team members are allowed to attend one other lecture or work one day per week during the moot time)
Because the participation at the Willem C. Vis Moot Court is intensive and time-consuming, the careful planning of that exciting period is indispensible.
In the following, you will find some benchmark data of the Moot Court:
|Spring:||Applying for the participation at the Willem C. Vis Moot (Selection of team members by professors and coaches)|
|Summer holidays:||Brushing up your English by either attending an English Course (f.e. Legal English) in Lucerne or outside Switzerland|
|September:||Swiss Moot School in Zurich where you will have a one week crash course on the Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG) and on International Commercial Arbitration|
|First Friday in October:||The case – also called „Moot Problem“ – is unveiled on the internet|
|Beginning of December:||Submission of the Memorandum for Claimant|
|End of January:||Submission of the Memorandum for Respondent|
|Week before Easter (Passion Week):||Oral presentation in Vienna|
From a student perspective it is certainly important to learn that in comparison to the old regime, the participation at the Willem C. Vis Moot Court will be rewarded with 18 Credit Points. Furthermore, the exciting and work-intensive written phase of the Moot can be allowed for master thesis, if so requested by the participant in the preparatory stage of the Moot, upon agreement with Prof. Dr. Girsberger.
For further details please consider: Wegleitung zur Studien- und Prüfungsordnung issued by the University of Lucerne.
However, there is more to the Willem C. Vis Moot Court than simply the university rewards. The participation will allow you to:
- Learn the practical and theoretical skills of a lawyer
- Work with motivated and dedicated students in a team
- Strengthen the command of the English language
- Get in contact with lawyers and practitioners of large Swiss and international law firms
- Travel to various places, such as Berlin, Stockholm or Vienna to compete against other university teams
- Make a LIFETIME EXPERIENCE!
Each member of the Lucerne Moot Team receives an individual grade which reflects his/her written and oral performance.
The written performance is based upon the involvement and contribution in the drafting of the written submissions, the command of written English, the ability to work in a team, and the legal skills demonstrated in the solving of the Moot problem. The grade for the oral performance reflects the team member´s verbal English skills, the progress made over the course of time, the over-all appearance and most importantly, the persuasiveness of the arguments brought forward and presented before the Arbitral Tribunal.
Each Team Member will only receive one grade which will be the average of the written and oral grade rounded to half grades (i.e. 4.76 to 5, 4.74 to 4.5).
Regarding the weighing of the grade received for the participation in the Willem C. Vis Moot Court, please refer to the Wegleitung zur Studien- und Prüfungsordnung issued by the University of Lucerne.