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NUJS wins Vis Vienna virtual moot against 247 other teams • NLS, NLIU made last 16 [LIVE: UPDATE-4]

This year Vis requested imagination and relaxation in their virtual competition and awards ceremony
This year Vis requested imagination and relaxation in their virtual competition and awards ceremony

9 April 19:54: NUJS Kolkata has won the 27th Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, which is one of the largest and most prestigious mooting competitions in the world.

This year, it was held entirely virtually (see further below for details).

The video from the final, if you didn’t watch it live, will be uploaded by Vis to YouTube shortly.

Update: The team consisted of speakers Ashika Jain (2023 batch) and Kaira Pinheiro (2023), and researchers Anand Krishnan (2023), Sahaj Mathur (2024), Shivani Choudhary (2023), Mehak Kumar (2023), Rajat Pareek (2023), and Kashish Satra (2024).

The team walso won the Eric E Bergsten Award for best team orals.

9 April, 15:40: NUJS Kolkata is through to the grand finals, where it will face University of Freiburg later today, having bested University of Hamburg in the semi-finals (see below for more on the semis, and timings of the final, which will be broadcast live by Vis).

If you are watching the stream live from around 430pm, please feel free share your thoughts in the comments.

NUJS in Vis semis
NUJS in Vis semis

9 April, 13:45: The teams through to the finals will be announced at 1130am Vienna time (3pm India time). The finals will be livestreamed on Facebook from 1pm Vienna time (430pm India).

Winners of the memorandum competition will be announced at 330pm, Vienna time.

Update 9 April 11:47: NUJS Kolkata is through to the semi finals, according to a notification on the Vis website.

The national law school - the only remaining one in the knock-out rounds of the last four teams - will be facing the University of Hamburg.

Virtual Vis Vienna sees NUJS
Virtual Vis Vienna sees NUJS

NUJS Kolkata is through to the last eight in the 27th Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, being held entirely virtually right now.

NUJS will be facing off against the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

NUJS had won against McGill University in the previous round of the last 16 teams, that was held around 530pm today, 8 April, Vienna time.

Those octa-finals had also seen NLSIU Bangalore and NLIU Bhopal, facing MGIMO University and New York University (NYU) respectively.

The Indian qualification pre-moot - one of had happened from 29 February to 1 March 2020 organised by OP Jindal Global University, India.

Virtual Vis

On 7 March, the Vis had cancelled the oral hearings in Vienna due to the global crisis caused by Covid-19.

In a statement at the time, the directors Prof Dr Christopher Kee, Prof Dr Stefan Kröll and Mag. Patrizia Netal, noted:

The Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is one of the world’s largest experiential learning experiences for law students. Now in its 27th year, more than 2,400 law students, over 1,000 coaches, and an equal number of arbitrators from all over the world were set to come together in Vienna in the first week of April 2020. While we would normally say one of the Moot’s greatest strengths is that it is an event which brings together thousands of people from all over the world - that is unfortunately today as we must recognize, one of its greatest risks.

Having regard to the health and safety of all those who participate in the Vis Moot, we have found it necessary to cancel the Moot week and oral hearings that were to be held between 3-9 April 2020. Due to the recent developments concerning Covid-19 it would be irresponsible to gather thousands of people coming from so many different countries and run the risk to further spread Covid-19 into the world.

We are very conscious of the months of work that teams and their supporters have invested in preparing for this year’s competition and it is with considerable regret that we are unable to provide the students with the important learning experience of oral hearings held in person. As this is not possible we are investigating an online alternative and will be communicating directly with our Vis Moot community about that possibility.

We recognise also the impact a decision of this kind has on our sponsors. We remain indebted for their support, and particularly this year to the highly appreciated cooperation with the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) whose arbitral rules we are using.

We extend our care and concern for all those impacted by the Covid-19 Virus and wish speedy recovery.

Then, on 28 March 2020, the moot announced that it would be going ahead entirely online with 248 participating teams.

The 2019 competition, actually held in Vienna, had seen 379 teams participate, following more than 20 pre-moots, so presumably a few had dropped out due to Covid-19 or other issues.

The logistical issues in getting this offline show on the virtual road so quickly must have been major, including signing up to an online dispute resolution platform, as well as issues such as dealing with a huge variety of timezones, for instance:

The moot will continue to run on Vienna time and in the usual Vienna timeslots. As teams and arbitrators are located all over the world, this means that for some moots will be at very odd times. We are grateful to those who responded and indicated their willingness to participate notwithstanding these odd times. Teams and Arbitrators will need to ensure they correctly adjust the published Vienna time for their own local timezones. PLEASE NOTE whilst Vienna will have gone onto daylight savings the weekend before the moot, there are countries which will be implementing time changes during the period of the Moot.

The one exception to the same timeslot approach is that all hearings in the Round of 64 will now be able to run concurrently - and so it will not be necessary to use an 8pm Tuesday time slot.

The transition to online seems to have gone smoothly for Vis, by all accounts so far.

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