The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (and its associated competition, the Vis East Moot) both took place online this year (rather than the usual locations of Vienna and Hong Kong). Amongst the issues which were argued in the moot was the question of whether a party which had agreed to arbitrate before the onset of the pandemic was entitled to in-person hearings, or whether, as the opposing party submitted, the tribunal had the power to order remote hearings. One of the argument which was raised in this regard was that timezone differences might prevent one party from getting a fair hearing, an issue which a number of teams who were required to moot at odd hours of the night (the Vis competition ran on Central European Time) may well have sympathised with.
The merits of the case concerned an argument about whether or not a contract for the delivery of viral vectors had been breached, which in turn required consideration of whether the contract was a contract for the sale of goods (in which case it would be governed by the Vienna Convention on the international Sale of Goods) or not (in which case, not). A totial of 389 law schools from all around the planet took part in the Vis competition, with 142 law schools in the Vis East competition.
Angus Macinnis is the head coach of the Vis ans Vis East teams at the Thomas More Law School of the Australian Catholic University, which finished as the second-best-placed Australian team in the Vis Moot. Angus spoke to the Law Society Journal about the challenges of mooting online (and about how pleased he was with the excellent performance of the ACU team) and you can read the article in the May edition of the Law Society Journal by clicking here. Angus is sincerely hoping that the Vis and Vis East Moots can take place in person next year because, like most us, he fears that otherwise his passport might be completely eaten by moths before it is time to make use of it again.
For more on our international commercial arbitration and international trade law (the areas of law covered by the Vis Moot) capabilities, contact Angus Macinnis
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