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DLS team ready for 2019 Vis Moot

It’s ready, set, go for Deakin Law School in the 26th year of competition at prestigious international law moot.

A team of Deakin Law School (DLS) students is vying for top spot in one of the world’s most prestigious private international law competitions, the 2019 Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

The Vis Moot competitions are held annually in Vienna and Hong Kong (Vis East Moot) and DLS is one of a small number of world-wide law schools that has participated in each year of the competition’s history.

For the past six months DLS students Reid Hadaway, Jessie Nygh, Kayla Laird, Vivien Jones and Stephanie Johnson­ have been preparing for the international showcase with their coaches Professor Jeffery Waincymer, Duncan Travis and Dr Shu Zhang.

Reid, who is also President of Deakin Law Students’ Society Geelong, says the competition has three distinct phases.

‘The first was a written submission in December outlining the arguments for the claimant, followed in January by the submission of documents for the respondent which were written in response to another team’s claimant submissions. The preparation for these submissions was lengthy and involved each member of the team learning and reading as much as possible about the relevant law and legal framework to then be developed into arguments to be applied to the facts of the case before us,’ he explains.

He says developing and refining the submissions involved countless long, late hours and continuous consultation with the DLS coaches before the team could concentrate on the oral phase of the competition.

‘It’s been policy since October that we moot with our coaches on a regular basis. However, since January it’s been about refining our arguments and ensuring we could explain our arguments and convince our judges in our fifteen minutes of speaking time. This process of practise and refinement will continue until the moment we enter the room for the long-awaited beginning of the oral rounds.’

The students are backed by a strong history of DLS success at the Vis Moot competitions with two wins in the Vienna rounds (1999 and 2014), two grand finalist appearances in Hong Kong along with a 2017 number one placing at the end of the general rounds.

Departing on 29 March, the team’s first stop is the Hong Kong 16th Vis East Moot where it will compete against 120 other teams in oral hearings related to an International Commercial Arbitration issue.

On 7 April, accompanied by DLS Dean of Law Professor Jenni Lightowlers, the students will travel to Budapest to compete in a pre-moot competition before the finale appearance at the 26th Willem C. Vis Moot in Vienna from 11–19th April where they’ll compete against more than 300 global law school teams.

‘Each leg of the journey also involves myriad related events, such as lectures, galas and panels. This is a time of year when members of the international arbitration community from across the globe coalesce in Hong Kong and Vienna.’

Following a distinguished line-up of DLS alumni who have participated in past Vis Moots, Reid says each member of the DLS team is eagerly awaiting departure.

‘To visit and compete in Vienna and Hong Kong offers the opportunity for personal development through travel and interaction with law students from across the globe and professional development is a fundamental element of the Vis Moot experience.’

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