The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is the world’s leading law school competition fostering the study of international commercial law and international commercial arbitration. The competition is named after Willem C. Vis, Secretary of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) at the time of promulgation of the Vienna Convention, Professor at Pace University School of Law and the parent of the Moot Court idea. The Moot is organized by the Association for the Organization and Promotion of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. The Director is Eric E. Bergsten, Professor Emeritus of Pace University School of Law and a former Secretary of the UNCITRAL. The Vis Moot is sponsored by numerous institutions worldwide, such as UNCITRAL, International Chamber of Commerce, American Arbitration Association, The London Court of International Arbitration, Swiss Arbitration Association and the like.
The Moot involves a dispute arising out of a contract of sale between two countries that are party to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. The contract provides that any dispute that might arise is to be settled by arbitration in Danubia, a country that has enacted the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration and is a party to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. The arbitral rules to be applied rotate yearly among the arbitration rules of co-sponsors of the Moot.
The Vis Moot commences on the first Friday in October each year, when the moot problem is distributed to the participants. It consists of two parts. The first one is preparation and submission of written memoranda prior to the oral hearings. There are two memoranda to be written: one for the Claimant, one for the Respondent. The writing of these memoranda usually takes about five months. The oral arguments take place in Vienna, before the panel of arbitrators in the environment of a serious intellectual and personal challenge. The oral part of the moot lasts for one week. It has also become traditional for some universities to host pre-moots before the pleadings in Vienna so that the teams could practice and prepare better for the Moot.
Willem C. Vis Moot has become one of the world’s biggest law competitions. 378 universities took part in the 26th Vis Moot in 2019. The Moot is an exceptional educational, professional, social and cultural experience that brings legal education much close to legal practice, making the learning process informatively effective, challenging and interesting. Participation in the Vis Moot, not to mention the awards, is recognized and highly appreciated by international law firms and institutions throughout the world.