The Edinburgh Vis Moot Teams

The 2020/21 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team

Recruitment for this team will take place at the beginning of the academic year. For details for what will be involved with participating in the team, the expectations and the benefits of doing so, please see here.

The 2019/20 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team

For details of the team for the 2019/20 academic year, please see here.

The 2018/19 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team

For details of the team for the 2018/19 academic year, please see here.

The 2017/18 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team

For details of the team for the 2017/18 academic year, please see here.

The 2016/17 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team

The team was comprised of 4 students from Austria, China, Monaco and Belgium:

  • Wei Li
  • Laetitia Highman
  • Francois Guillaume Caspar
  • Brian Oiwoh

The team was coached by Lucas Clover Alcolea. The team were grateful for the support of academic members of the Edinburgh School of Law Dr Simone Lamont-Black and Dr Filippo Fontanelli. Coaching assistance was also provided by Snjólaug Árnadóttir and Fergus Whyte.

The 2015/16 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team

The team was comprised of 8 students from China, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, The United States, Cyprus, India, South Korea, Romania and Spain. More information can be found here.

Members of the 2015/16 team were:

  • Lucas Clover Alcolea
  • Maria Botez
  • Maria Christofidou
  • Jae Hyuk Lee
  • Satya Talwar Mouland
  • Lauren Otero
  • Yue Tian
  • Steven de la Vieter

The 2014/15 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team

The 6 team members who participated in the 2014/15 Vis Moot in Vienna were from Belgium, Greece, The United States, China and Mauritius. The team did excellent work and received good marks and feedback for both written and oral proceedings. They came very close to qualifying for the elimination rounds of 64 teams.

The Members of the 2014/15 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team were:

  • Qixiu He
  • Konstantina Maniati
  • Has Pb
  • Manon Philippet
  • Yao Yao

The 2013/14 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team

The team successfully qualified for the rounds of 64, the knock-out rounds of the Vienna Moot, which considering there are around 300 teams competing is an excellent success and shows the investment of the School in creating an LLM module for the Willem Vis Moot. Many congratulations to the team for their great work and team spirit. They have been a group with outstanding team spirit and it is lovely to see this recognised in this achievement.

The 2012/13 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team

The team of 8 participating in the 2012/13 Vis Moot, comprising students from Bulgaria, China, Scotland, Ukraine and the United States, was highly successful in both stages of the competition. Their memoranda received very good marks and feedback and in the oral stages of the moot in Vienna, the team achieved an overall place of 65th out of 295 teams – very narrowly missing out on a chance to compete in the final knockout stage of 64 teams. And one of the speakers for the team Jason M. Tenenbaum, was awarded an honourable mention prize, being judged to be one of the top 69 speakers (from around 1200 pleaders in the competition).

The success follows a year of hard work and dedication by the team, who all committed considerable amounts of time to drafting the various memoranda, developing advocacy skills and participating in pre-moot competitions in Edinburgh and Berlin all on top of their LLM studies.

The Members of the 2012/13 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team were:

  • Michael T Ansaldi
  • Alexandra Catharine Doyle
  • Aylin Mehmed Dzhafer
  • Elina Kyselchuk
  • Sara Maria Lewis
  • Yanmei Liu
  • Yanyan Shen
  • Jason Michael Tenenbaum
The 2011/12 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team 
The members of this year’s team recount their experiences below.
  •  Stephen Barber

I am a Canadian economist by training and trade, not having previously studied law. My previous education is an Honours degree in Commerce with a major in finance, and a Master’s of Science in Financial Economics. Prior to “emigrating” to Edinburgh, I worked for five-and-one-half years in the Canadian Federal Government as a financial/investment analyst, firstly at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and secondly at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I concurrently volunteered as Director of Finance at a Church in Canada for three-and-one-half years.

I applied to join the moot team for three reasons: academic, development, and practical. Having not previously studied law and not taking a course in commercial arbitration, I applied to the moot to enhance my coursework and learn about a new area of law. I recognised, should I be accepted, my writing and oral presentation skills – transferable to any number of areas an venues – would be honed and sharpened by the moot. Finally, having spent a number of years working, I appreciated the quality of the moot experience to an employer. This experience will set me apart from other applicants, hopefully resulting in exceptional future opportunities.

I entered the moot team in the expectation of expanding my academic study, developing transferable skills, and gaining experience for securing future employment.

I came into the moot with bright-eyed optimism and bushy-tailed naiveté. It was not until our first meeting did I realise how much out of my depth and knowledge I had landed – to the point of not really knowing the difference between procedural and merit issues as we divided the team to address each. I did know my strengths though, and tried to be the team “cheerleader” keeping everyone optimistic and positive about the arduous process.

The requirements of the moot were demanding. Late nights, unrelenting deadlines, contentious meetings, and challenging feedback became commonplace as the moot progressed. This was in addition to our regularly scheduled coursework. The moot demanded much of our remaining time after our normal education, and absorbed any time we gave it.

For as much as the moot demanded, the moot returned more. The enduring, deep friendships forged over the seven month period, the opportunity to travel, meeting others from around the world at pre-moots and in Vienna, and the depth of experience of the actual moot problem itself solidifies the moot as not just a supplementary extracurricular, but as a defining element of my degree at Edinburgh.

  • Sophie Birkner
  • Carolyn Boyd

I made the decision to participate in the moot on the spur of the moment, but have never regretted my decision (well, perhaps very briefly as we toiled away on the memoranda). I regretted not participating in any moot competitions during my LLB in Canada, and the Vis Moot provided the perfect opportunity. Whilst I am qualified as a lawyer in Canada, I have worked exclusively in the area of criminal law, the world of international commercial arbitration, indeed any kind of arbitration was entirely unknown to me. Learning about arbitration and having the opportunity to advocate before qualified arbitrators has been fantastic. I enjoyed the company of my fellow mooties very much and forged some unexpected but lovely friendships. Travelling to Berlin and Vienna was obviously a highlight. I highly recommend the moot experience. Whilst the balance between coursework and the moot is a bit difficult particularly during the second term, it was ultimately well worth it.

The coaching – provided primarily by Neil Dowers, with input from Dr. Simone Lamont-Black – was top-notch. The contributions by local advocate David Bartos and international arbitrator Hew Dundas were also useful. The pre-moot in Edinburgh was also great and the arbitrators were of very high quality.

In sum, the Vis Moot experience was the highlight of my LLM year. I highly recommend it to all incoming students. The people, the travelling and the experience – you won’t regret it.

  • Qiannan Du

My name is Qiannan Du. I’m from China and now doing LLM Commercial Law at the University of Edinburgh from 2011 to 2012. In 2011, I graduated from Shandong University, obtaining bachelors degrees in both law and English literature. Because of my strong interest in international trade law as well as the great ambition of performing on the international stage, I continued my postgraduate study in the University of Edinburgh. During my undergraduate years, I have participated in the International Commercial Arbitration Moot which was held by CIETAC, and practised in commercial negotiations between a Chinese company and a Norwegian company for a one-year business project. From these experiences, I have recognised my passion in practising international commercial field, and attending the Vis Moot would certainly bring me an opportunity to improve myself. That’s why when I got to know the Vis Moot I applied for it without hesitation. I expected what I could gain from the Vis Moot is the chance not only to practice legal professionals but also to communicate with people from the field of international commercial arbitration. And I did it! I managed to establish good relationship with a lot of people doing international trade law and arbitration in China, opening myself to various opportunities, which would potentially do me a favour in my future career in China.

I would like to start my report of the Vis Moot by expressing my great appreciation because I believe I’m the one who gained most from this wonderful experience, because of this year’s moot’s close ties with my native China. I used to think it was an opportunity to gain professional contacts, particularly in the international commercial arbitration field, and a chance to improve my own professional skills. Certainly it is, and it’s more than what I expected. Owing to the moot, I got the chance to communicate with people from CIETAC, CEAC, and a lot of institutions relating to this year’s moot topic, and managed to extend my eyes and expand my mind, and finally received a job offer from a company specialised in international sale.

The experience brought me not only a moot but also a platform that gave an opportunity to communicate with people at the top of the arbitration and sales law fields. I think I’m lucky, because I’m Chinese and I attended the moot in the year that the topic focused on China, which really makes the value of attending maximised. And I would recommend the one whose career development matches the very moot topic next year to seize the chance to impress on such an international platform.

The largest problem I met as a mootie was the language. So I did particularly appreciate my fellow mooties’ and Neil. They helped me, supported me, and encouraged me a lot.

In all, I’m very appreciative to have been given the chance to attend and experience the moot.

  • Evodie Fleury
  • Eva Loef

Before studying in Edinburgh I never really considered joining a Vis Moot team, mostly because I did not have any knowledge of either arbitration or the CISG. This changed after I took a course in arbitration at Edinburgh and began to be interested in the subject. The possibility of working in a team, getting practice in pleading in English and getting to travel and meet new people did the rest to convince me to apply.

Looking back I can only recommend the experience to other LLM students. While there will certainly be times where you ask yourself why you put on this much extra work while the others students are out having fun, in the end one gets so many positive things out of the Moot that it is more than worth spending a few late nights in the University.

I have met very nice and interesting people from all over the world, not only in my own team but also at the different events that we attended. It taught me to work closely with other people and to accept their different views and ways to approach problems and situations. Furthermore because I had little experience with law actually being practised – be it through writing memoranda or pleading – the Moot presented a great opportunity to develop these skills and have an insight into a more practical approach to law than otherwise available at university.

  • Aine Molloy

My name is Aine Molloy and I come from Enniskillen, N. Ireland. Prior to undertaking a masters in International Law at the University of Edinburgh, I studied Law (LL.B. Hons) at Newcastle University.

Having been actively involved in mooting during my undergraduate studies, I was very excited at the prospect of mooting at postgraduate level. Taking part in the Vis Moot was an opportunity to get actively involved in law school life, meet new people and develop my knowledge of an area of law I had not previously studied. As part of the moot team I had the opportunity to travel to Berlin and Vienna and moot at an international level. It was an invaluable experience and I thoroughly encourage students to apply next year.

On completion of my masters I intend to qualify as a solicitor in England and work in the field of public law.

There were several reasons I decided to get involved in the Vis Moot at Edinburgh University. Having previously mooted at an undergraduate level I was keen to continue mooting and was delighted when I found out there was an opportunity to moot during my postgraduate studies.

Whilst taking part in the Vis Moot was hard work it had its perks! We had weekly meetings in which we would discuss the moot problem and develop responses to the questions arising from it. These meetings contributed towards writing two memoranda, one for the Claimant and one for the Respondent, as well as preparation for the oral pleadings, which were held in Vienna at the end of March 2012. To further prepare for oral pleadings we hosted a pre- moot at Edinburgh University and travelled to London and Berlin to participate in pre-moots there. This gave us an opportunity to moot against other universities and practise our arguments. The main challenge was balancing the work for the moot against a full time masters programme. It was, however, great to have a diversion from my everyday studies and taking part surpassed my expectations.

The support from the Law School in addition to external support for the team was overwhelming. The guidance provided by our coach, Neil Dowers, and Dr. Lamont-Black was invaluable and we would not have been so well prepared if it were not for their help throughout the year.

Many thanks for this exceptional opportunity; long may it continue to be available to LLM students!

  • Matthew Robinson

I hold a LL.B. (Hons) in Law and American Studies from the University of Wales, and am currently reading Law (General) in a LL.M. postgraduate at The University of Edinburgh.

I also have a strong interest in politics and public policy, having previously interned at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC and the European Conservatives and Reformists Group at the European Parliament in Brussels. Currently I sit as the Regional College Chairman on the Conservative Future National Executive (the youth movement of the Conservative Party).

Participating in the prestigious 19th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot added to my postgraduate legal experience at the University of Edinburgh tenfold. Having also enrolled in Dr Lamont-Black’s ‘International Commercial Arbitration’ module, I thought applying for a place on the Vis Moot team would be a perfect complement to my studies in Arbitration; this proved to be a prudent choice.

The participation in the Vis Moot competition allowed for our team to engage first-hand in both the procedure and the merits of the moot problem for the competition, which was based on the ‘CISG’ (UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods), under the CIETAC (China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission) Arbitration Rules. The jurisdictional and tactical elements of alternative dispute resolution I studied both the ‘International Commercial Arbitration’ module, and through participation in the Vis Moot ignited a strong interest in alternative dispute resolution, and it is something I look forward to exploring further in my professional legal future.

I also found the Vis Moot proved incredibly beneficial for the development of legal skills integral to my future legal studies in the Legal Practice Course. The first part of the Moot from September to January, consisted of the preparation of two written memoranda in response to the problem, one in support of the claimant, and another for the respondent. This helped to further my legal writing and research skills extensively, and also developed my ability to address client problems we encountered as the facts of the problem were further scrutinised.

The second part of the process included one week of oral arguments in April at the Vis Moot in Vienna. Preparation of the oral arguments allowed for our team to partake in practice moot rounds with respected academics and legal practitioners in commercial arbitration, namely at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin, and in the international arbitration practice of Hogan Lovells in London. This experience tested my skills in oral advocacy, in addition to developing a deeper appreciation of arguing on behalf of my client.

Perhaps most memorable of the Vis Moot experience were the people I met as a result of my participation. In addition to the various talents and experience of the fellow team members, the University of Edinburgh Vis Moot team is also very fortunate to have the steadfast dedication of its organiser Dr Simone Lamont-Black, and coach, Mr Neil Dowers. Further to this, the guidance of numerous skilled legal and arbitration professionals such as, Michael Davison, Hew R. Dundas, and David Bartos were of upmost importance in the preparation of our team.

In all, I would recommend the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot without reservation.

The 2010/11 Edinburgh Vis Moot Team
The members of this year’s team recount their experiences below.
  • Alice Boldis

My moot time was the best experience of my LLM in Edinburgh. It was great working in a international team as we had people from Costa Rica, Turkey, Russia, the UK and Germany.

Having people from so many legal backgrounds gave me a good insight how it would be to work in an international environment. Moreover, the moot problem was a good opportunity to see how a real case in international arbitration would look like. An experience I did not have before during my studies. Having chosen international arbitration as a course during my LLM doing the moot helped me further my chances to work in this area.

Furthermore, doing the moot gave the whole team the opportunity to travel to Munich and London for pre-moots apart from the week during which we stayed in Vienna. All of these trips were great experiences and thanks to the moot I gained lots of professional experience but also made great friends within the moot group and in Vienna. All in all an amazing experience.

  • Anke Krause

I was very happy to realize that the University of Edinburgh planned to send a team to the Vis Moot as it was something I had been interested in during my undergraduate studies in Germany. In my personal experience, the Moot offered a welcome balance of practical experience to an otherwise academic schedule, and despite the additional work load, I would not want to miss it for the world.

Working in an international team gave us the opportunity to live the ‘moot experience’ from the first minute and it was very interesting to discover the different ways in which each of us approached the Moot problem depending on our previous legal education (in particular the differences between common law and civil law) and our cultural background. Through the moot, I have been able to gain practical experience in working in a team of mixed legal and cultural backgrounds, an experience that gave me insight into my own as well as others’ working habits.

After having returned to Germany, I was offered a job based on my moot experience even though the law firm didn’t have any openings. It is my impression that having participated in the moot has given me an invaluable qualification on a practical level that could not be compensated by top grades in the LL.M. programme. I can only recommend participating in the Vis Moot, as it offers a unique opportunity to practice writing memoranda and pleading in front of a tribunal as well as working in a diverse team, something not usually part of the standard law curriculum.  

  • Tatiana Mainieri

Participating in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Competition was an amazing and unforgettable experience. The preparation process demands lots of hard work and dedication, however, it is a great practice for your professional life and a very rewarding undertaking. The fact that the University of Edinburgh provides its LL.M. students with the possibility of representing it in this competition is a true privilege.

  • Christopher James Louth

As for the moot I believe that it has been an invaluable experience.From working with a range of people in the team that come from different legal backgrounds and approach problems in a way that you would not has been great for my development. It has provided me with the experience of taking a realistic arbitration case from conception to the hearing and brought all that we learnt in the seminars into real life. This is something that a textbook or reading cannot do.

On a personal note it has been one the best university experiences I have had. Not only with the trip to Vienna but the chance to meet the team and make some very good friends that I will stay in touch with.The moot definitely bonded the team not only during working on the moot but socially as well.

I also believe that the moot has provided the opportunity to meet and make professional contacts. It is a great way to get your foot in the door within a law firm and it also boosts your CV. It think that it has helped me with filing out application forms as it is not something that everyone has on their CV, I would say that it helps to differentiate you. I have found it a great talking point when I have attended recent interviews.

I would strongly recommend the moot to any future student at the University of Edinburgh.

  • Erman Ozgur

International Commercial Arbitration practice is not only about theory. It requires solid advocacy skills. The Willem C. Vis moot was very important to complete our international commercial arbitration education. It gave us the opportunity to be trained by distinguished practitioners and scholars, and to improve our advocacy skills in an international environment.

During our week in Vienna, we had the chance to participate in trainings and conferences in addition to oral pleadings. The organization provided us the opportunity to interact with practitioners and law students in a multi-cultural environment. The moot is a very important and prestigious organization among arbitration professionals. I strongly believe that it will increase my chances in getting a contract in a reputable law firm. I also believe that this experience will have substantial impact in coping with future assignments during my professional career.

Thanks to ICA course organizer and the team coach Ms. Simone Lamont-Black and to the University of Edinburgh for making this unique experience possible with their generosity and valuable support.

  • Kathryn Hunt

When I began studying the LLM in Commercial Law at the University of Edinburgh in September 2010, the last thing I expected to be doing the following April, days before the submission date for our final exams, would be competing in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot on a ten day excursion to Vienna with three Germans, a Turk, a Russian, a Costa Rican and a Yorkshireman. Nevertheless, the serious intellectual and personal challenge it presented has made competing in the moot competition one of the most rewarding experiences to date.

As one of the most prestigious moot court competitions in the world, the Willem C. Vis Moot was a unique opportunity to enhance my commercial litigation skills, as well as knowledge of international sales law and the law and practice involved in international dispute resolution. Involving law students from universities across the globe as well as practitioners and renowned scholars from both civil and common law jurisdictions, the competition revolves around a hypothetical case dealing with procedural and substantive issues. Each team first submits written memoranda representing both sides to the dispute, before pleading orally both sides of the case before high-calibre arbitration panels in Vienna. The practical skills I gained from this exposure are invaluable.

The participation in the Vis Moot is recognised and highly appreciated by international law firms and institutions throughout the world. We were welcomed to practice our oral pleadings by Hogan Lovells, Morton Fraser and Brodies LLP in the run up to the final competition. Furthermore, the team participated in a pre-moot in Munich in further preparation, which was highly beneficial. Wishing to pursue a career in the field of international commercial arbitration, participation in the Vis Moot provides an unrivalled opportunity to learn about the day-to-day work in this field as well as to meet members of their peer group and prospective employees.

The preparation for the moot was demanding, rigorous and time consuming. It required long hours, a strong sense of commitment and an even stronger sense of teamwork. Working and collaborating effectively with such a diverse group of people from different legal backgrounds to draft one brief with a single line, was something I had never previously encountered. The level of trust, respect and support within the team was beyond anything I expected and together we created a sense of belonging, which made sharing our achievements all the more special.

  • Vladimir Stepanov

Definitely, participation in the Moot was an invaluable element of my studies at Edinburgh. Its impact on my future career is difficult to overestimate because, first of all, it contributed a lot to my self-identification as a dispute resolution lawyer.In other words, now I have a firm intention to make a career in this field. Then, working on the Moot problem with my team-mates under your supervision (drafting the memoranda, practicing oral pleadings, etc.), I got an experience of dealing with lawyers trained in different jurisdictions.I also obtained skills necessary for working in the international environment.Lastly, the Moot gave me a “lucky ticket” to the international arbitration community as in Vienna I got to know the leading arbitration practitioners and became a member of the MAA. Overall, the Moot was my best LLM experience.

I am delighted that Edinburgh Law School is the first law school in Scotland that started the moot activity. I think it will become its competitive advantage because many prospective students opt for universities participating in international moots, including the Willem C. Vis Moot.