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The GNLU International Moot Court Competition is back! The sixth edition is going to be larger and grander than ever before with 48 teams battling it out for the top honours. Apart from several teams from India, universities from across the world including some from USA, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mauritius etc are participating in the sixth edition.

What makes GIMC unique is that GIMC is India's only WTO moot court competition where teams have to argue before a Panel of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body.

You can find the 2014 moot problem here.

GIMC 2014 begins from 5th February and we shall bring to you all the updates of what is happening when GNLU, Gandhinagar turns into WTO! Expect the highlights and results of the preliminary rounds and the quarter finals (on 6th and 7th February) along with the live updates and coverage of the semi-finals and finals over the weekend.

So stay tuned to this post for more details on GIMC 2014 and you can also join the conversation yourself by commenting here or using the hashtag #GIMC2014 on twitter in the upcoming days!

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5/2/2014

The innauguration of GIMC 2014 is scheduled for 5:30 pm.

GIMC inaugural ceremony is well underway.

To the surprise of most of the participants, the GIMC hospitality team gave each participant a GIMC T-shirt and each team was also given a box of lovely cupcakes with a handwritten good luck note!b2ap3_thumbnail_1391602643608.jpg

 

GNLU Dean : Nobody loses in a moot court competition.

After encouraging speeches from the Director and Dean of Academic Affairs, GIMC faculty convenor, Mr. Girish R. has taken the stage. He has been greeted with much applause.

GIMC Faculty Convenor : You will face benches of experts who will grill you in a way to ensure all your preparation and arguments are fairly evaluated.

GIMC Faculty Convenor : We have added several more prizes such as best speaker overall rank 1, 2, 3. In addition to the coveted trophies and cash pprizes, books by publishing giants EBC and WestLaw will be awarded to the winners.

After the speech by the GIMC faculty convenor, SCC online Editor in Chief and EBC director Mr. Sumeet Malik is giving a presentation on the usage of SCC Online database. EasternBookCompany is GIMC's Knowledge Partner for 2014.

2000 hrs - The innaugural ceremony came to an end with some instructions for the participants regarding the prelim rounds.

Most of the participants were seen happily muching on their cupcakes as they headed for dinner.

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You can head over to the GIMC twitter and Facebook pages for more photos and updates from Day 1 of GIMC2014.

See more Day 1 photos - here

 

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6/2/2014

1215 hrs - Today is the day of first prelim rounds of the 6th GIMC. The first rounds of the day began in all five courtrooms at 1100hrs today and are just ending in some of the courtrooms while others are still in session.

 You can see Day 2 (prelim round 1) photos - here

7/2/2014

2000 hrs - The prelim rounds ended and the participants headed to Akshardham temple with the GIMC hospitality team for local sightseeing. 

2200 hrs - The results have been announced! 

All the teams put in a fabulous performance but the 8 that have qualified for the quarterfinals are... 

(Not necessarily in any particular order)
A. NALSAR, Hyderabad
B. NLSIU, Bangalore
C. ILS, Pune
D. School of Law, Christ University, Bangalore
E. George Washington University School of Law
F. HNLU, Raipur
G. NLU Orissa
H. Symbiosis Law School, Noida

And the team which missed out on qualification by a single mark was -
NUALS, Kochi

The quarter finals and semifinals are scheduled for tomorrow 8/2/2014.

 

 

 8/2/2014

1200 hrs -The quarter final rounds have just started.

 

Note: We apologise for the lack of coverage for the past two days which was mainly due to internet connectivity issues. But rest assured, this blog shall be regularly updated today.

In a few minutes we shall be bringing to you the photos from the last few days and shall follow it up with quarter final results at 1430 hrs. 

Live updates from semifinals shall begin at 1530 hrs.

1445 hrs The quarter finalists were evenly matched and Panellists seemed so engrossed by the arguments being presented that much extra time was granted. The results are expected any minute now.

 

1500 hrs - And here are the results!


The semifinalists of GIMC 2014 are - <in no particular order>

A. George Washington University School of Law
B. NLSIU, Bangalore
C. NALSAR, Hyderabad
D. HNLU, Raipur

 

1525 hrs - We have a panel f four Panellists for the semifinals. They are - 

Mr. Shantanu Mukherjee, Mr. Gaurav Gupte, Mr. Aniruddha Rajput and Mr. Mukundan Chakrapani.

 

 1530 hrs - The first semifinal has begun.

Team HNLU acting as Complainants and Team GWU School of Law acting as Respondents.

 

1533 hrs - The Complainant first speaker begins his arguments. At the very outset he is being grilled on the Panel’s jurisdiction. The questions continue on the basics of WTO Procedure and jurisdiction.

 

 1536 hrs - The first speaker has not yet been able to begin the arguements on issues. Questioning on basics continue.

 

1539 hrs - The Panellists rebuff the Complainant saying that he “keeps giving the same answer again and again.” The Complainant does not seem to be grasping the question and the Panellists are losing patience stating that this would be his last opportunity before the Panellists conclude that he cannot answer the question.

 

1542 hrs - The Panellists asked him to move on to the next issue. There is no respite as he is immediately asked to “cut out the rhetoric” and come directly to the legal issues at hand.

 

1545 hrs - The Panellists are now asking the speaker to back up his arguments with his authorities. The Speaker tries to quote a scholar and gets an impromptu lesson in how to cite authorities while speaking. Panellists ask him for a very specific authority and the original authority being relied upon is forgotten.

 

1547 hrs - The questioning is relentless. A look passes between the Complainant team members. They seem worried. The Respondent team members also glance at each other. They also might not have the answers. Respondent team has two members, both speakers. No researcher in the GWU team. Atleast no person has travelled to GNLU as a researcher.

 

1550 hrs - Barrage of questioning continues. It seems like the Panellists expect to be pointed to the exact authorities and even the page numbers in some cases. 

 

1553 hrs -  The speaker is told to make judicious use of time. The Panellists dont seem very pleased but everyone is very polite. Panellists say that the speaker should try to prempt the questions.

 

1557 hrs - The Speaker is quickly running out of time and has been unable to address any substantive issues in detail. The Complainant begins citing a Panel report and is immediately interrupted with another question. The Panellists seem inclined to speed things along by bringing the Complainant directly to the crux of the issue. The Panellists dismiss the arguments as being “presumptive” and ask him to give one or two sentences to sum up his remaining sub issues.



1559 hrs - The Speaker must be credited with maintaining his composure in the face of such harsh grilling. He just pointed the Panellists to the exact page and footnote related to the authority he was citing. This is the most intense questioning that has taken place in the last three days.

 

1600 hrs -  Panellists asks the speaker to summarize his submission and not to give them any “law” but to just tell them what proposition he wants to convince them of. The arguments come back to the mode of supply before the Panellists thank him for his speech. The first speaker from HNLU has finished his arguments.

 

1602 hrs - The second speaker from Complainant team, HNLU is a lady. She was interuppted after her first two words which were "Good Morning". One of the Panellists reminded her that it is afternoon.

 

1602 hrs - The second speaker has started of well after that first comment. She managed to answer the first few questions in a lucid and crisp manner and the Panellists allowed her to move on.

 

1604 hrs - Intense grilling resumes. One of the Panellists is insisting on a yes/no answer. That puts her in a spot. 

 

1605 hrs - She seems to faring better for now since the Panellists are letting her argue at length.

 

1607 hrs - Now the questioning is back and it is fierce.  The Panellists are now asking her to tackle the measure “head on” and to stop dealing only with the effects. The Panellists tell her that that she has failed to establish the issue for them and to build up on the “shabby foundation” given by her.  

 

1610 hrs - Back to basics now. Questions are now being asked regarding the differences between GATS and GATT. The Speaker gets caught in another Yes/No question and finally states yes. The Panel disagrees and gives an appellate body report to back their stand. The Speaker falls back to customary international law to salvage her argument. The Panel tells her that she should have been more circumspect while bringing the complaint which is in any case a “sham complaint”. 
 
The Panellists comments seem very harsh. Some of the members of the audience are flinching. Full points to the speaker for persevering on and remaining cool as a cucumber.

 

1620 hrs -  The Complainant has finally managed to move on to the next issue and now she is substantiating her claim by drawing the attention of the Panellists to the Compendium. The Panellists tell her that she has failed to answer the question being raised by the Panel.

 

1622 hrs - Panellists have interrupted the speaker to correct her with regard to the name of the scholar AND the credentials of the scholar whose views she cited. The Speaker is warned to be careful when citing authorities.

 

1630 hrs - The Panellists now bring the Speaker back to the argument on “reasonableness”. The Panellists accept her submission but seem unconvinced. She lays down her next argument succinctly and is about to conclude but the Panel has one last question to ask her as to whether she has any other argument apart from the availability of alternative less trade restrictive measures. The Speaker tries to establish her last issue and is now being questioned on the meaning of the word “restriction”. The Panellists keep grilling her. This is the third time they have termed a question as "last".
 
 
1634 hrs - The Complainants pleadings have come to an end. Though the questioning was harsh, the fact that they got substantial extra time seems to suggest that the Panellists were engaged by their arguments. Now it is the time for Respondents.

 

1636 hrs -The first speaker of the Respondent team begins her arguments by introducing herself and laying down the structure of the argument but is interrupted and asked to come straight to her argument.

 

1639 hrs - The round seems to witness a strange reversal with the Panellists citing authorities and articles with exact citations and the Speakers being caught unawares. The Panellist catches the Speaker on a yes/no question and when the Speaker attempts to disagree, cites a strong body of authorities to contradict her stand. Ouch. The Panellists have done their homework and she finds it out the hard way! However, she manages the situation well by politely defering to the opinion of the Panel and they let her move on.

 

 1645 hrs - The Speaker concedes her first argument on applicability of GATS and attempts to move on. Not much relief as the Panellists show no sign of mercy and the Panellists force her to make another admission.

 

1646 hrs - The Speaker is now arguing on the sector under which the present dispute would be covered. There is a brief lull in the storm of questions as her points are taken before she begins her argument on the mode of supply. 

 

1648 hrs - The discussion dwells on the mode of supply of service for a significant amount of time. The Respondent relies on the authority just quoted by the Panellist to state that even if that position were taken, no specific commitment exists in that mode of supply. She seems to be making some headway.

Panellists however do not give up so easily and the questions are now on facts involving the issue of mode of supply. The Panellists direct her to the moot proposition and point out facts contradicting her stand and ask her to justify her argument. 

 

1700 hrs - Mr. Santanu Mukherjee and Mr. Aniruddha Rajput seemed to be asking the most questions till now, but now Mr. Mukundan Chakrapani seems to be questioning the Respondents more than the others. Mr. Gaurav Gupte may not be asking many questions but when he does ask, they are not at all easy to handle. Mr. Gupte is also operating a laptop. It seems like he is checking up on the authorities being cited.

The Respondent is now trying to submit an arguendo to her argument and is quickly summarizing her remaining arguments. The Panellists ask her to address a specific issue in her summary.

1702 hrs - The Panellists are now grilling her on the issue of “likeness” of services but the intensity of the questioning seems much lesser than before

1704 hrs - The speaker faces a very very tough task as she is asked to give a very short closing remark but asked to include a number of things in her closing summary.

Panellists who seemed to be following her for the last part of the arguments are now saying Respondents have no grounds for introducing the measures they have introduced! 

 

1708 hrs - Grilling continues even after what was supposed to a closing remark. Now there is an intense focus on the facts rather than law. Panellists laughed for a bit regarding the suggestion of a developed country having limited resources. 

 

1709 hrs - The first speaker of the respondents has finished her pleadings. It is now the time for the last speaker of this round. the Panellists clearly stated that they are not satisfied by the pleadings of the Respondent upto this point. This is a really outspoken panel!

 

1710 hrs - The second speaker of the Respondents seems to be the most confident speaker of this round. She is addressing the questions head on.  However, the Panellists are not satisfied with her argumentation.

The arguments are now based around the basis of online gaming. She is bringing in a lot of real life examples but is trapped while trying to say that some games are provided free of cost. The economics behind her suggestions is questioned and an impromptu lesson on economics and the value of money by the Panellists follows. There is a light moment as a Panellist says that Adam Smith must be “spinning rather than merely turning in his grave” !!

 

1715 hrs -    The arguments are now based on the interpretation of the word “restriction”. The strange reversal of roles continues with the Panellists quoting directly from Panel and AB reports contradicting the Respondent's pleadings. Panellists have a very good grasp of what has been held in previous cases.

The second speaker answerd the questions surrounding  “domestic regulation” confidently and succinctly backed up her arguments by quoting paragraphs from Panel reports. Panellists now point out that the Panel has interpreted the word very differently and are now quoting paragraphs from the moot proposition to imply bad faith on part of the respondent. When the speaker shows the law, Panellists show her the facts. This Panel is hard to satisfy!


1725 hrs - The speaker is now talking much faster than she was when she began.  Is the change because of the pressure or a calculated move to make most of the limited time?

The Speaker is now trying to justify the measure under one of the exceptions allowed under GATS. There is a small miscommunication when the Speaker wished to “skip to” an argument but the Panellist heard her say “skip” the argument. No harm done as the confusion was quickly clarified. The Panellists tell her that she is simply making propositions and tell her to give reasons for the same. The questions move in a quick Q. 1, Q. 2 and Q. 3 manner and the Speaker answers them quickly and appears to satisfy the Panellists. For now, atleast.

 

1730 hrs  -  The questioning is now regarding the interpretation of a particular provision of GATS and the Panellists believe that they should apply the rule of ejusdem generis. The Speaker fumbles for a bit before responding.
 
The Panellists now ask her whether she is conceding the point to which she replies that she’s not but that she’s now raising her claim under a “more applicable” provision. Perhaps she should have advanced the claim under a “more applicable” provision much earlier. 

1733 hrs - The Panellists are now asking the Respondent whether they would agree that the “alternative measures” suggested by the Complainant are less restrictive and whether they would be willing to explore them. The Respondent answers confidently and concludes her arguments.

 

1734 hrs - The second speaker of the Complainants is now advancing the rebuttals and she is also talking very fast. Thankfully, the Panellists do not seem to mind the increase in speed. Regarding the point on alternative measures, the Panel interrupts to tell her that she is “repeating herself”. The Complainant speaker tries to raise a lot of points but the Panel tells her that she has already raised these points and that they’ve taken note of these points. The Panellists ask her if she would like to raise a new point. The rebuttal ends as soon as it began.

1735 hrs - Reply to the rebuttal - The Speaker starts her speech but the Panellists state that they have already raised these points in their main speech and the reply ends in less than a minute without much incident.

The first semifinal has ended. It lasted more than 2 hours. We shall be bringing to you the coverage of the second semifinal soon. Stay tuned.

 

The second semifinal has started.

Here is a quick photo of the semifinal panel - 

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1820 hrs - The first speaker starts the speech speaking very slowly and in a very composed manner.  Speaker's approach is very dispassionate. The Panellists are quizzing the speaker on the forum the complainants have approached and have asked the speaker to enumerate the differences between a Panel and an Appellate Body.
The Speaker inadvertently walks into a trap by calling the dispute resolution mechanism of WTO a “sort of” arbitration and is now being grilled to no end about arbitration.

Speaker is now being grilled on the procedure of approaching the Panel. The Speaker states that Complainants have not brought along a copy of the GATS. The Panel expresses surprise. Not a good start.

The Speaker does not seem to have engaged the attention of all the Panellists. The Speaker is still being questioned on the basic procedural aspects of WTO. The Judges move on to questioning the speaker on proving how the Complainant State has been affected due to the losses suffered by one company. 

1825 hrs -  The Speaker remains composed throughout and is now arguing on the applicability of GATS. The Panellist tries to trap the speaker in a yes/no question but the Speaker manages to give a convincing answer and cites a Report to buttress the argument. The Panel however is not convinced and cite certain facts to counter the argument. The Speaker tries to place reliance on a Panel report but is interrupted and told to “answer the question” being posed by the Panel and not to give such an analogy.

The Panel finally accepts the argument and asks the speaker to move on to the next argument. The Speaker is now trying to establish the sector under which the present service would be covered. The Speaker is questioned a couple of times on the use of the Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties but the Panel accepts the argument and one Panellist even says that the speaker has a “decent point”.

1830 hrs - The Speaker relies on the Oxford Dictionary and the Panel is quick to grill  on the value of such a dictionary definition in WTO juriprudence. The speaker manages to give a convincing reply and the Panel seems to be in agreement. Good going so far. The Panel accepts the argument on the points of treaty interpretation but point out that the speaker may be missing a certain fundamental principle. Another Panellist reminds that the speaker is already running out of time. The Panel is now questioning on the meaning of the word “communication”.

The Speaker is now on the issue of the mode of supply. Judges seem to be amused rather than impressed by the Speaker's use of the phrase “electronic travel” and state that they would love to do so after teleportation technologies have been developed. The Speaker maintains composure and cites an authority to establish that point that the speaker was previously attempting to make. The Panellists are now questioning the use of the authority cited by the speaker and as has now become the norm, Panellists now cite an authority themselves to further the opposing point.

1835 hrs -  The Panel states that they’re not bound by the observations being quoted by the Speaker and ask the speaker to move on to the next argument. The Speaker is now trying to establish a restriction on market access and directs the Panellists to a specificpage in the Compendium. The Panellist points out that that the Panel Report in question held the contrary to the argument of the Complainant. The Speaker reiterates the stand however the panel rejects the use of her authority on the point.

The Speaker smoothly manages to move on to the next issue. The Panel asks the speaker to skip the prologue to the issue and to come directly to the argument. The argument seems to be accepted and the Panellists ask the speaker to move to the “likeness” argument. The Speaker cleverly uses the facts to the advantage of the Complainants.  

1845 hrs -   The Panellists are now questioning on some basic aspects of State Responsibility. The Researcher passes a note and the speaker smoothly concludes the answer and cites a report to back up the argument. The Panel gives one extra minute to wrap up the arguments but another Panellist says that he has a “couple of questions” and continues to grill on the issue of likeness of services and is quoting the fact sheet to show the disparity amongst the services which the speaker is claiming are alike. The Speaker responds with a two fold argument to establish the competitive likeness and establishes the case well. The Panel accepts the argument and asks the speaker to move on.

The Speaker runs out of time and asks for an extra minute to summarize the remaining argument. Without changing the pace, the speaker continues to lay down the arguments in a structured and a coherent manner.

The Speaker has attempted twice to use scholarly opinion to back up the argument but on both occasions, the Panel seems to not be inclined to accept scholarly views.  

The Panel outright rejects the opinion of the scholar quoted. The Speaker tries to establish that scholarly opinion forms an important source of international law. The questions now take a turn towards the use of highly qualified scholars's view and public international law. The speaker is told that the scholar being quotes is not really a reknowned publicist and that the Panel shall not accept the view.

1850 hrs - The speaker seems to have exceeded the extra time granted without permission and is sarcastically asked - Are you going to make all the submissions or is your collegue going to speak too?

That brings the first speaker's speechto an end. Time for the second speaker of the Complainant team to begin.

1855 hrs -  The Second Speaker starts confidently and is asked to cut to the legal submissions almost immediately. The Panellists interrupt his argument to tell him that he is simply making propositions and not giving any reasons. The argument is now based on a mandatory warning for suppliers located outside the Respondent State. The Speaker places reliance on an Appellate Body report to support his interpretation of the word “affecting”. The Panellist points out that his argument is circular and that it “hits him hard” and also that the Report he cited states the exact opposite and that what he was instead relying on was a paragraph of another report entirely. 

The Speaker seems a little taken aback and shifts to facts to support his case.

Does the second speaker have some papers mixed up? 

The Panel states that it is “sympathetic” to the point he is making and allows him to move on with the argument. The Panel launches a barrage of questions and the Speaker politely asks the Panel to allow him to complete his argument. He draws the attention of the Panel to a quote in the Compendium and the Panel seems to accept his argument. 

1900 hrs - The second speaker started of well but is now fumbling more than before. 

The Researcher from the Respondent team is furiously scribbling something down through out the Complainant speeches. The Respondents seem to nod when the panel asks a question.

1905 hrs - The Judges are now questioning the speaker on the difference between an administrative measure and a legislative measure. The Speaker gives an answer but does not convince the bench. The speaker is now arguing on the “reasonableness” of the measure in question. The Panel offers him a real life example similar to the facts to counter his argument. The Speaker replies with an example of his own to show the existence of an alternative less trade restrictive measure. Cleverly done but the Panel is quick to distinguish his example from the present facts.

1906 hrs - The Panel is now questioning the speaker regarding the practical difficulties in enforcing the alternative measures being suggested by him. The Speaker in his next argument tries to argue that the standard taken by the respondents is needlessly high. The Panellists ask him whether the Complainant would undertake liability for any incidents of fraud that would occur in case their suggested measure was adopted. The Speaker answers promptly and appears to convince the Judges to his position.

1910 hrs - The Panellist suggests an alternate measure that could be taken. The Speaker accepts that such a measure would not be “impartial” but would run afoul of other articles in the GATS which would be addressed in subsequent arguments. The Judges ask him to move on to the arguments directly. The Speaker tries to quote an authority which (as always) is questioned. The Speaker tries to urge that it would be a source of law which leads to some incredulity amongst the judges. He quickly corrects himself and the Judges decide to allow him to move on.

1911 hrs - The speaker is told that the Panellist is impressed by one particular argument. This is really high praise from this Panel. Good going Complainants!


1912 hrs - The Speaker is running out of time and the judges ask him to summarize his remaining argument. The Speaker attempts to raise a preemptive argument but the Judges tell him that they should let the Respondent to raise the claim and rebutt it later.

With that the Complainants conclude their argument.

1915 hrs - The first speaker of the Respondent begins her speech almost immediately. She is asked to skip her introduction and to come to the arguments. She is questioned on her interpretation of a certain word to which she replies that “it is the dictionary meaning”. The Panellist asks her as to which dictionary she is relying on and surprise, it’s the New Oxford Dictionary.

The two nations may have a trade dispute but they both rely on the same dictionary!



1918 hrs -   The Panel quickly brings the speaker to the crux of the issue regarding the mode of supply of the service in question. The panellist asks her to justify her stand following which he would tell her why it’s wrong. The Speaker tries to justify her argument by quoting certain authorities but the Panel asks her to point to the facts from the moot problem to establish whether the mode of supply of the service in question is “cross border supply” or “consumption abroad”.

1924 hrs - A Panellist tells the speaker that her argument would stand only if they were to treat the current dispute as concerning a good and that the Complainants had convinced them that the present case concerned a service. The Speaker tries to distinguish the two modes by giving an example and citing a Panel report to back up her argument.

A Panellist tells her that the Panel report would not be binding on them and that the Panel in that case exercised judicial economy and did not discuss the issue at length. The Speaker tries to point out that there is no authority to help the case of the Complainant. She asks permission to move on with her issue if the Panel is convinced. The Panel tells her that she can move on but that they are not convinced.

1927 hrs -  The Panel corners the speaker into a tricky yes/no question, yet again! The Speaker answers with a yes which a Panellist immediately contradicts and as always gives an authority to back their stand. The Speaker tries to answer and bring the Panel back to her argument. The Judges tell her that she has already argued that issue and that they are not convinced with it. The Speaker moves on to her arguendo argument and is now starting to speak a little faster.  She is now being questioned on the interpretation of the schedule on specific commitments. 

The speaker is making continuous use of hand gestures. I hope that does not distract the Panellists from the point she is trying to make. It is the same gesture again and again. 

1931 hrs -  The Speaker lays down an argument at top speed and a panellist tells her that he is disregarding the “cloud of words” she spoke and that she should clarify what exactly she is seeking. The Judge asks her if she would be arguing anything more. The Speaker moves on to the second measure which the Respondent state is defending. 

In the previous semifinal, both teams' second speakers dealt with the second measure. 

1935 hrs -  The Judges are now grilling her on the use of a certain authority in a footnote. The Speaker directs the judges to a page in the “blue compendium” and the Panellists continue grilling her on the authority of the source. The Speaker elaborates well but the Judge replies with a blunt “what is this”, accepting that he got her context but asks her whether the Panel is bound by it. The Speaker admits that the Panel is not and moves on to the next argument.

1940 hrs - The Panel suggests that the Speaker should carefully consider her arguments before speaking. The Panel is now questioning her on the differential standard being meted out to foreign suppliers and domestic suppliers. The Panellists ask her if she has a come across a specific instance in her research to which the Speaker admits that she has not come across such a case.

The Panel further grills her on the availability of less trade restrictive measures. The Speaker does not appear to have convinced the Judges by her answer and the questions keep coming. The “summarization of her last issue” seems to be forgotten as the discussion shows no signs of reaching a conclusion.  However, it doesnt seem like the speaker is managing to convince the judges with her arguments.

The speaker is arguing in detail regarding the second (and the last) measure that the Respondent is expected to defend. What shall be the scope of the second speakers' arguments we wonder. The Respondents seem to have adopted some unique strategy. Time shall tell if it works.

1945 hrs - The Panellists are now pointing out facts in the moot proposition to question the intentions of the Respondent State in their imposition of the measure. The Panel again asks her whether she has any other argument since she has run out of time (quite some time back).  She asks permission to take some time to answer their last question. Before she could complete however, she is asked a flurry of questions and the original question is forgotten. The Speaker is now arguing based on the Patent Application annexed to the moot proposition.

1951 hrs - The first speaker finally cedes the floor to the second speaker who has assured the judges that he would not take long. The second speaker has started off quite well. He seems confident.

The Speaker starts by establishing the standard reliance on the VCLT provisions. He also brings out a case against his argument and distinguishes it effectively. The Judges appear to accept his argument. "We are with you on that." - This is a good sign.

The Speaker now tries to rely on the supplementary means of interpretation under Article 32 of the VCLT but the Panellist question whether his authority would fall within the ambit of the Article 32.

1955 hrs - The speaker managed to answer effectively and continues to argue his interpretation of the word “restriction”. The Panel tells him that they agree with his first point but not his subsequent argument. The Speaker tries to draw the attention of the Bench to the GATS but the Panellist states that they were initially very impressed with his argument but not so when they see it in detail. uh oh!

2000 hrs - The Panellist says that  the Speaker seems to be missing the point regarding the “balance of payments”.  Speaker clarifies that that he is only rebutting the Complainants arguments which leads to multiple “no no no s” from the Panel. The Panel asks him to repeat his argument. The Speaker is now trying to elaborate on the same.

2005 hrs - Not much activity at the Complainants desk. They are patiently listening to the Respondents' submissions. Are they already ready with the rebuttals?

2007 hrs -  The Panellists tell the speaker that they thought that the Speaker really had a “concrete argument” which would turn the case in their favour but that he is completely ignoring the last paragraph of the relevant article. He offers to summarize the argument but a Panellist tells him that he would like to do it. The Speaker does not grasp the summary offered by the Panellist and the Panellist is therefore forced to repeat it. The Speaker reiterates his stand and refuses to concede his argument in the face of overwhelming opposition from the Panel.

2013 hrs - The second speaker asks for an extension again and the Panel asks him to speed up. Reliability of authorities cited by the Respondents is under question again.

2014 hrs - The speaker is told to refer to authorities from trade jurisprudence and not to lecture the panel. But he seems to have recovered well after that remark and has managed to move to another contention.

2017 hrs - The Speaker submits his final argument and the Judges question him and tell him that he cannot traverse beyond the facts. He answers succinctly and the Panel appears to accept his answer. The Speaker draws attention of the Judges to a document in their Compendium. This seems to be a strategy to buy more time by starting a discussion on a new document.

The Speaker is asked whether he has any other submission to make. The Speaker moves on to trying to justify the product under one of the exceptions under GATS. The Panel tells him that he must rely on facts and not on what may be held in some case. The Panel again asks him if he has any new points and the Speaker tries to continue his argument but is told that he has already argued that submission. The Speaker finally moves on to his last submission but the Panel does not seem to be very convinced with it.

 The speaker has rested his case.

2020 hrs - The Speaker from Complainant raises three points of rebuttal and places reliance on multiple reports to make her point. The Panel tells her that they are already aware of the settled jurisprudence on the same.

The Second Speaker raises rebuttals on the use of a certain report by the Respondent. The Judges tell him that his second point has already been argued in their pleadings. His third point is rejected by the Panellists outright. His last rebuttal is on the concept of good faith but the Panel completely rejects the point and rely on Ian Brownlie for the same. 

The Respondent begins his sur rebuttals and is quick to distinguish the cases cited by the Complainant. The Panel seems to be in agreement with most of his points, except for the last point to which the Speaker admits he has no authority for.

 The Second Semifinal Round has also ended. Please stay tuned in for the Results.

 

In the Second Semifinal the Complainants were from NLSIU, Bangalore and the Respondents were from NALSAR, Hyderabad.

 

AND THE TWO TEAMS WHO SHALL BE DUKING IT OUT IN THE FINALS ARE

NLSIU, BANGALORE AND GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF LAW!

Our heartiest congratulations to the two teams and we wish them all the best! Stay tuned for the finals which will take place tomorrow afternoon. Good Night! 

 

9/2/2014

1503 hrs -  The courtroom is ready. We are waiting for the teams and judges to arrive. The final shall soon be underway!

 

1508 hrs - Panellists for today's final round are - 

  • Mr. V Lakshmi Kumaran, Managing Partner, LKS
  • Mr. Greg Tereposky, Partner, Bordon Ladner Gervais LLP
  • Mr. Ujal Singh Bhatia, Member, WTO Appellate Body
  • Ms. Victoria Donaldson, Counsellor, WTO Appellate Body
  • Ms. Tetyana Payosova, Research Fellow, WTI, University of Bern

 

1510 hrs - 

The finals are underway!

NLSIU acting as Complainants and GWU, School of Law as Respondents!

 

1512 hrs - The First Speaker from the Complainant team begins her speech confidently and calmly, laying down the structure of their arguments and the time reserved by each of the Speakers. She moves on to introducing in brief the facts leading to the dispute. In the semi finals the Panellists hadn't asked for introduction to facts but today they have. No questions in the first two minutes.

 

1514 hrs - The Speaker has now moved on to introducing her first broad argument. She starts by trying to establish that the Respondent State (Randornzk) has undertaken commitments given under the Schedule of Specific Commitments (to the GATS). The issue concerns whether online games can be considered Audio Visual services. The Speaker confidently makes her submission by relying on the Schedule of Specific Commitments entered into by other Members, a reliance she justifies by the use of the VCLT. The first question is regarding the use of VCLT.
 
As is her style, the first speaker of the Complainants is speaking in a very slow and measured manner. The Panel seems to be following her argumentation.

1516 hrs - The Speaker moves to establishing the sub sector under which the Service would be classified. She relies upon the opinion of a scholar and is asked her first questioned on the same. The Speaker justifies her reliance on VCLT succinctly with appropriate reliance on authorities and also justifies her use of scholarly opinion by quoting reports in Argentina-Footwear, EC-Hormones and India-Patents cases. She seeks permission to move on and is told by the Panel that she need not need seek permission every time she wants to move on.

 

 1520 hrs - The Speaker is now trying to establish  the mode of supply under which the service should be classified. The Panel quotes the decision given in the Panel Report in US-Gambling case and asks her to justify why the decision of that Panel would not apply. The Speaker confidently replies by quoting the Appellate Body report and answers that the question of the exact mode of supply has never been confidently determined. She is then asked as to whether it could come within both the modes at the same time. The Speaker confidently replies that it would lead to ambiguity if such was held and has managed to establish that the resent case is distinct from US-Gambling and that that ruling should not be followed.

 

1524 hrs - The Panel asks her whether her arguments would stand if the issue on mode of supply was decided against her. The Speaker concedes that they would not as a specific commitment must exist for her to establish violation of market access and national treatment commitments. She now moves on to establishing restriction of market access. The Panel questions her on her use of the phrase “zero quota measure” as some services (2D games) are still available. The Speaker is unfazed and uses facts to her advantage as she answers.

 For our readers, you can find the moot problem for reference - here

 

 1527 hrs - The Speaker is now addressing the issue on National Treatment and the Panel asks her to resolve the contradiction in her claims that the service is a like service with domestic services while at the same time claiming that it is more “immersive” due to its 3D Nature. The Speaker justifies her position by quoting the report in Korea-Alcohol and the Panel appears to agree with her stand that the word “market” must be understood broadly.

 

 1531 hrs - The Complainant now starts to show that the measure imposed affected the supply of service. The Speaker is now running out of time and so seeks permission to summarize her argument. She is now trying to show that the market was artificially shifted to favour domestic service providers. The Panel accepts her proposition and she is now trying to show that it is not justified under any of the exceptions. However she runs out of time and the Panel asks her to conclude. 

In the semifinals she had got much extra time but not so today. This panel seems to have decided to enforce the allotted speaker time!

 

1532 hrs - The Second Speaker is now trying to argue that the administration of the  Directive issued by the RBB (a Reserve Bank in the Respondent State) requiring a Warning to be displayed before the consumers conduct any online transactions through servers outside Randornzk violates GATS. He starts of by establishing that the measure is one of general application and the Panel tells him to come directly to the argument as they recognize that he is challenging only the administration of the measure. The Speaker quotes a paragraph from Argentina-hides and Leathers case effectively and further justifies that the measure is an administrative measure. 
 
 
1540 hrs -  The Panel accepts his argument and the Speaker is now arguing that the directive is not reasonable by relying on the panel report in Dominican Republic - Cigarettes case. The Panel asks him to elaborate and the Speaker effectively uses the decision in US-Shrimp regarding the requirement of different treatment in different situations and establishes how the Respondent never analysed any of the circumstances prevailing in the present matter. He further shows that there is a less trade restrictive alternate measure available by employing a complaint based mechanism which would be easier to implement. He appears to expect a question but the panel allows him to move on. Lucky.

 After each issue the second speaker is still asking if the Panel has any questions. It seems like the Complainants were expecting a lot more questioning. It also seems like they are making effective use of their compendium to deal with the questions but at the same time they are referring it to too much. So far so good!

 

1542 hrs - The Speaker effectively establishes that the measure further fails the test of being “objective” and “impartial” and the Panel seems to be following him on his arguments. The Speaker now begins his argument  on the restriction on market access. The Speaker directs the Panel to the decision of the Appellate Body in US-Gambling and tries to show that the form of the measure is not important and the effect must be seen. The Panel asks him to differentiate between the two measures being imposed in the case. One of the Panellists then reads out the relevant paragraph of the Appellate Body in US-Gambling and tells him that the Appellate Body clearly stated that the words “in effect” must not substitute the words “in the form of”. The Speaker confidently replies by directing the Panel to a further paragraph to substantiate his point.

 

1545 hrs - The Speaker makes a small error which one of the Panellists catch but he quickly corrects himself. The Panel now questions him on the mutual exclusivity between Art VI and Art XVI of the GATS and whether he is making a conditional claim or an additional claim. The Speaker answers that there is contrary opinion to the mutual exclusivity between the two articles and answers that his claim is in addition to the one under Art VI.

The Panel does not look convinced but they let him continue. Hmmmm.

 

 

 1550 hrs -  The Speaker is now arguing his claim under Art XI of the GATS and is trying to show how the measure amounts to a “restriction” under the same. He argues that the same must be interpreted broadly. The Panel asks him why he feels that a country can’t impose the measure under its sovereign independence. The Speaker quotes US-Gambling and states that the rights of a member State end where the rights of the other member states begin. The panel then asks him to justify how a mere warning could be considered a restriction. The Speaker places reliance on the report in EC-Bananas to justify his definition of the word restriction.

 

 1552 hrs  -  The Speaker is now making a preemptive argument to state that the measure cannot be justified under Art XII of the GATS. The Panel asks him a question and the Speaker’s answers seem to satisfy the Panel. He further states that if the Panel requires he would raise some arguments in his rebuttal if the Respondents raise the corresponding defences. The Panel agrees and the Speaker concludes his argument. Suavely done.
 
His last line was "It was a pleasure to argue before this panel." The panellists smiled. 

 

1555 hrs - The First Speaker from the Respondents begins her argument by introducing herself and laying down the broad structure of their arguments. She then starts her main argument by arguing that the GATS is not applicable as the ban has been imposed on a good. She starts with the standard reliance on the VCLT and the Oxford Dictionary and establishes her case well that despite the existence of certain Appellate Body reports that a service may be embodied in a good, the same do not apply in the present case as the good (Reality GP) is only one of the many consoles on which the game may be played.

 

1559 hrs - A Panellist asks her whether the Respondent has a problem with the content of the game or the good. The Speaker answers that their problem is with both of them working in tandem. The Panel is not very convinced and tell her that their “doubts have increased” as there are certain violent video games being sold in the Respondent State. The Speaker effectively justifies her stand and moves on to the next argument that even if it were to be considered under GATS, the Respondent has not undertaken any specific commitments under the Schedule of Specific Commitments which prohibit them from imposing the measure in question.

 

1602 hrs -  The Speaker agrees with the Complainant with regard to the classification of the service in “Other Audio Visual” services but disagrees with the classification of mode of supply as “consumption abroad” which would require movement of the consumer which is absent in the present case. The Panel asks her why should the measure should not be classified under “motion Picture and Video tapes” keeping in mind the principle of technological neutrality. The Speaker states that in any case no commitments have been undertaken in that sub sector but that as in light of the decision of the Panel in China-Audiovisual, the present service would not be considered under Motion Picture and the principle of technological neutrality would apply only so as to consider a movie on a DVD under that sub sector.

Concession well made and an excellent job of elaborating the law. The Panel seems to be satisfied as well.

 

1604 hrs - The Speaker now concludes her argument on the mode of supply and moves on to addressing the argument on restriction of market access. The Panel questions her use of the UN 1993 Scheduling Guidelines, and the Speaker admits that the same would only hold persuasive value under Art 32 of the VCLT. The Speaker finishes her argument with poise and moves on to the issue of national treatment.

 

1608 hrs - A quick photo of the GIMC Final Panel - 

b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_20140209_160055.jpg

 1610 hrs -  The Speaker is now arguing on the likeness between the two services and the Panel does not question her proposition that the services are not like services and hence the Speaker moves on to justifying the measure under the “public morals” exception in GATS. The Speaker now places reliance on the report in US-Gambling but the Panel questions her to the different treatment meted out to domestic violent games. The questions are now surrounding the Supreme Court ruling given by the Respondent State lifting a ban imposed on a violent game on the basis of freedom of religion. The Panel informs her that are the same would mean that protection of such violence is not a fundamental interest of the Respondent and that the same ban sets a yardstick of the level of violence that may be allowed. The Judge asks her whether they would be ready to allow more violence only on religious grounds.

 

1611 hrs - The Speaker justifies her stand but does not appear to convince the Panel. She moves on to address the “public health” exception and the Chapeau test under Article XIV of the GATS. A Panellist asks her a question based on the availability of other alternative measures. The Speaker gives a short answer and concludes her speech.

 

1613 hrs - The second speaker of the Respondents has started her arguments. She seems to be arguing more passionately than the first speaker. 

 The Second Speaker starts of her argument by structuring her speech. A Panellist questions her as to whether she would be addressing a particular argument related to a particular case raised by the Complainant. The Speaker confidently answers with a yes, and effectively distinguishes the present facts and moves on with the main submission.

 

1616 hrs -  She moves on to the challenge under Art XI and quotes the report in US-Gambling to establish her point. The Speaker is arguing that the Directive (the second measure under challenge) is the only effective measure to safeguard the interests of the Respondents. The Panel does not question her much and she moves on to the challenge under Art VI raised by the Complainants.
 

 1620 hrs - The Speaker tries to justify the measure as being reasonable by quoting the report in US-Steel to establish the standard of reasonableness of a measure. She argues that the alternate measures suggested are more cost onerous and hence unreasonable. The Panel questions her whether the measure imposed can be considered reasonable in the absence of any objective assessment being carried out by the Respondent State. The Speaker responds that the facts are silent as to the extent of the assessment being carried out by Randornzk.

 

1623 hrs - The Panel then questions her again on the necessity of the imposition of the measure and that has led her to move on to her argument on Art XIV. She argued that the measure was required to prevent the high levels of financial online fraud and that the same has been effective.
 
 
1625 hrs - The Panel asks her that if their only concern is to make the consumers more informed, then why dont they give more information along with the warning so that the Users can know whether the transactions are being conducted in Roderlam (Complainant) which has a developed banking sectors or Nigeria. The Speaker takes a moment to answer but the Panel does not seem entirely convinced.

 

 1628 hrs - The Speaker is now addressing the Chapeau test under Art XIV. The Speaker establishes a three pronged criteria for determining when a measure would be determined to be unjustifiably or unreasonably discriminatory. The Speaker argues that the discrimination in the present case is justifiable and concludes her speech.

The Panel however whishes to hear more from her. Panelists ask her to address the issue of relationship between Art XVI.1 and Art XVI.2 (of the GATS) and the opinion given in US-Gambling that certain measure not mentioned in XVI.2 may run afoul of XVI.1  (of the GATS). The Speaker says that XVI.1 violation cannot stand independent of a XVI.2 violation and ends her speech.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Time for rebuttals.

 

1636 hrs - The first speaker of the Complanants is starting the rebuttals. Speaker rebuts the Respondents arguments on the likeness of products by quoting the test of likeness under GATT given in US-Asbestos and the end users test. She applies the test to the facts and shows that the services are indeed like.

She further establishes that a superiority of a product is not a criteria to be considered for likeness. The Panel asks her to address the issue on the applicability of GATT and GATS. The Speaker uses Art. 1 of the GATS and establishes that GATS would apply whenever a measure would affect trade in services.

She then addresses the arguments on exceptions and states that the measure fails the tests laid down in Korea-Beef and US-Shrimp as the ban does not make a material contribution to its objective as other violent games continue to be sold.

She then rebuts the argument on the chapeau test by quoting the report in Brazil-Retreaded Tires that when a ban is lifted when there is a no rational nexus it would be unreasonable and relates it to the lifting of the ban of domestic games on religious grounds.  She had raised a very similar rebuttal in the semifinals!

The Second Speaker of the Complainants (GIMC rules permit both speakers to rebutt) then starts of his rebuttal by stating that a complaint based or a compliance notice based measure is an alternative less restrictive measure. He gives the example of Youtube Complaint mechanism as says that a similar mechanism could be used. He further states that an assessment of circumstances was required as per the report given in US-Shrimp.  He then comes to the chapeau test and is about to quote US-Gasoline when he runs out of time.

That concludes Complainants rebuttals.

1646 hrs- The first speaker for the Respondents starts by addressing the rebuttal on chapeau test by stating that the government undertook an intensive study on the effects of Reality GP before imposing on the ban. She further states that there was no other like product available in the domestic market which they could ban and hence it cannot be called unreasonable.

She then moves on to the necessity test and justifies her stand on the weighing and balancing test. Further she states that the threshold imposed by Brazil-Tires is a very low bar and that Randornzk has indeed met this bar. She then leaves the remaining time for her second Speaker.

The Second Speaker starts her reply by directing them to the decision in EC-Bananas and states that the Directive does not amount to a quantitive limitation and state that the measure may be tested only on the footnote given to Art XVI which states that movement of capital may not be restricted only in so far as necessary for trade in services and justifies her stand well.

The Second Speaker then argues that the less trade restrictive measure suggested by the Respondent may not meet the high threshold required by the Respondent which they are free to determine as an aspect of their sovereignty.  In her third point she establishes that necessity test does not mean that the measure must be indispensable and concludes her speech.

That concludes the finals!

1648 hrs -  The participants and the audience have now left the hall for high tea. The discussion amongst the audience suggests that everyone thinks that this was a very close final. It is too close to call. 

 

1709 hrs - Everyone is now assembling back for the the Valedictory Ceremony. The chief guest for the ceremony is Justice M.B. Shah, former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He shall be handing over the prizes to the winners.

Lots of prizes waiting to be given...

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1716 hrs - Justice Shah is now addressing the gathering. He appreciated the hard work put in by the participants.

1733 hrs -  Mr. V Lakshmikumaran is now addressing the gathering. He has offered internship in his law firm, LKS to all the finalists. He also says that the arguments from both sides were of extremely high standard!

1742 hrs - Short addresses by all the Panellists. Mr. U. S. Bhatia encouraged More students to take up Trade Law in India while Ms. Donaldson in her address also made a special mention of the organising committee to much applause.

 

1750 hrs -  And the scores in the finals are 885-864 .... with the winning team being ...

N L S I U Bangalore!!! Congrats!!!

They have won the GIMC Championship Trophy along with Rs. 35000 cash prize, a one-year subscription to SCC online and a massive hamper of books!



Now we have the results for Best Memorials.

  • Best Memorial Rank 1  - ILS, Pune
  • Best Memorial Rank 2  - NALSAR, Hyderabad
  • Best memorial Rank 3  - NLSIU, Bangalore

 

 The members of the winning team, NLSIU Bangalore are - Ms. Isha Jain, Mr. Gaurav Bhawnani and Mr. Harshvardhan Sunder (researcher).

The members of the Runners-Up team, George Washington University, School of Law are - Ms. Erin Rogers & Ms. Lana Ulrich

Now we also have the results of the Best Speaker Awards -
Best Speaker Finals:             Ms. Isha Jain from NLSIU, Bangalore
Best Speaker (Overall):         Ms. Apoorva from School of Law, Christ University. 
2nd Best Speaker (Overall):  Mr. Paaras Pandey from NALSAR, Hyderabad.
3rd Best Speaker (Overall):   Ms. Saranya from School of Law, Christ University. 

 

And a Special Mention for missing out on the quarters by one tiny point goes to NUALS, Kochi.

Special awards were also given out to the other Semi Finalists HNLU, Raipur and NALSAR Hyderabad.


This is Mr. Sagar Godbole and Mr. Anand Deshpande signing off! Hope you liked our coverage! Do leave a comment below

See you at #GIMC2015 in an year's time.

Till then keep checking the Facebook Page and Twitter for more photos over the next few days...

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