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An estimated 10-minute read

The XII NLS-Trilegal International Arbitration Moot, 2019 - Room 10

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Live Updates – Court Room 10 - 1907C v 1921R

Respondents:

Speaker 1:

12: 42 – The speakers exchange notes. The speaker representing the respondents seems to be confident and eloquent in his approach, not for a moment referring to his notes, but the Arbitrator cuts him short and asks him to arrive at the issue straight away.

12: 45 – The speaker begins his first set of submissions. The Arbitrator asks him to argue the second issue first, thereby breaking his flow. However, the speaker rapidly regains his composure and proceeds smoothly. The arbitrator begins his questions with succinct interjections. The speaker continually refers to the fact sheets. The arbitrator stops him at one point, asking him about the relevant statutes, and the fully-prepared speaker provides an instantaneous answer.

12: 48 – The speaker refers to the first case of the round, and the tensed petitioners seem to carefully scrutinize the case facts from the file handed over to them by the respondents. Presently, the arbitrator seems to move to a higher degree of cross-questioning, and the first signs of anxiety appear on the speaker’s face, while simultaneously maintaining eye-contact.

12: 51 – The arbitrator outright rejects a claim made by the speaker, given that he couldn’t provide an authority substantiating his point. The other arbitrator asks certain questions, to which the speaker cites another case which seems to temporarily satiate the arbitrators. The speaker, now with a heightened sense of confidence, moves on.

12: 54 – The arbitrator tries to point out a distinction in the facts of the case provided by the speaker. He points out that his co-counsel would address the issues pertaining to the same, and the arbitrators, though not completely satisfied, ask him to proceed.

12:57 - The arbitrators now indulge in a moment of levity, in questioning the authority of the Tribunal, while, at the same time, questioning the speaker on the tests adopted by him. The arbitrator asks the speaker to frame the question that couldn’t be argued by the Arbitration Panel, but only by the Court. While the speaker provides the question, the arbitrator further questions him on the reason behind the same.

13:00 – The arbitrators prevent the now-befuddled speaker from proceeding further, by repeatedly questioning him on the same point. The speaker, keeping his composure, attempts to solve their queries with facts from the sheet. The arbitrators now delve into the basic, with simple factual questions, that seem to de-balance him. There is still no movement to the next issue. The speaker’s teammates seem to be anxious, while one teammate seems to be taking notes.

13:03 – Given that there isn’t any movement from the stands taken by the speakers and the Arbitrators, they ask the speaker to move to the next issue. The arbitrators ask him a few more basic questions. When the Arbitrator asks him a question that he seems to know, he eagerly pounces on the same and answers it convincingly.

13:06 – The speaker makes a convincing argument as to the smart contract being void. The arbitrators seem impressed with his coherent arguments, but they return to cross-questioning. The speaker, not having looked at his arguments except when being cross-questioned, is now stopped by the arbitrators who say that his clarification seems to be wrong.

13:09 – The arbitrator asks for an extra minute to be provided to the speaker, probably to prove the fallacy in the speaker’s arguments. The Arbitrator asks for the reason why there must be compensation beyond liquidated damages. While the time gets over again, the arbitrator asks for additional time to be provided to the speaker.

13:12 – The round seems to be running into overtime again, and the arbitrators continue asking questions while the speaker, unfazed continues. Finally, the arbitrator asks him to make a 30-second submission, if any. The speaker harps on the permission, and makes his assertions.

13:14 – The round finally ends. The arbitrators take a minute to write down certain observations, while the speaker looks at his team to gauge their reactions.

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Petitioners:

Speaker 1:

13: 18 - The speaker begins with the facts, in a loud and clear voice, only to be interrupted by the Arbitrator to proceed with the case. The speaker takes a different approach from the previous speaker, making slow arguments while referring to his arguments at times. To a question asked, he makes a shift to his second issue, when the Arbitrator asks what the Tribunal has to adjudicate upon.

13:21 – The speaker marches further with his clear and loud voice. The Arbitrators obstruct the juggernaut, by asking if the subject matter involves rights in rem, and if the Tribunal could decide on the issue. The speaker responds with two submissions. The speaker now, begins faltering, indicating his nervousness, but he tries regaining composure.

13:24 – The arbitrator, possibly inspired by the thought that the speaker is beating around the bush, repeatedly ask him the same question. When the speaker mentions about a diagram present in their submissions, a speaker from the Respondents’ side seems perplexed. The arbitrator repeatedly points out that the speaker seems to nonchalantly answer his question with a non-related set of issues.

13:27 – The same issue extends on, consuming significant time of the speaker. This time, some anxiety prevails in the petitioners’ side. The arbitrators now seem obstinate on pointing out the fallacy in the speaker’s argument. The speaker brings in the force majeure clause, and the Arbitrator seems to suppress a sarcastic smile.

13:30 – The arbitrators take some time to discuss something between themselves, and the speaker continues after that. The arbitrator now asks him a question, which nonplusses the speaker for a significantly long time, before which he cites a case to break the loud silence.

13:33 – The arbitrators repeatedly clarify a new question on their mind, to the speaker. The speaker resorts to clarifications, and in the end, resigns to his own set of arguments while submitting that the question the arbitrators determinedly have been asking, would be answered by his co-counsel. While the time ends, another 90 seconds are awarded.

13:35 – The speaker hurriedly charts through his last set of submissions for this round, while the arbitrators seem to don a negligible smirk. The arbitrator dismantles an argument the speaker was making by showing how a concept he was using, was wrong. The arbitrator provides another 30 seconds to answer the questions, but the speaker, with the barrage of questions aimed at him, exceeds the time limit. When he asks another thirty seconds to substantiate on another issue, the arbitrator, with a patient smile, asks him to conclude right away.

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Rebuttals by the Respondent

13:40 – As previously, the speaker for the respondent, is eager to rebut the petitioners’ claims. He nonchalantly distinguishes between a case relied on by the petitioner and the present factual matrix. The arbitrator provides the respondent speaker a slight clarification onto the petitioner’s arguments, which the respondent seems to have misinterpreted. The arbitrator asks him not to rebut a point not argued at all. The rebuttal ends with another question.

Rebuttals by the Petitioners:

13:43 – The speaker attempts a rebuttal, but the arbitrator dismisses it, and, with the staid face with which the arbitrator asks the question, the speaker repeatedly falters. In an amusing manner, the arbitrator asks the petitioner to make two rebuttals in ten words each. The respondent does it for the first but fails to constrain himself in the second rebuttal.

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13:46 – The arbitrators seem to deliberate over some matter, while the respondents seem to be exchanging some viewpoints. The arbitrator seems to be pointing out a “far-fetched argument” to his co-arbitrator, which raises the ears of both parties, hoping that the adjective wasn’t attributed to their submissions.

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Petitioners:

Speaker 2:

13:49 – The speaker wastes no words while delving straight into her issue. The arbitrator asks a basic question on whether the smart contract could have been read by the opposition parties. The speaker seems to provide an answer that the arbitrators feel isn’t available anywhere in the factsheet. The arbitrator persists on proving the incorrect view of the speaker.

13:52 – The arbitrators bring the concept of consensus ad idem, something that strikes down the speaker’s arguments, but she cites a case. However, the case too, is questioned by the arbitrators. Throughout this process, the judges do not hide the smile on their faces. The speaker falters and pauses, and the nervousness in her voice is evident. The respondents seem to be discussing something.

13:55 – The speaker repeatedly falters, and the arbitrators ask another question, to which the speaker provides a ‘vague’ answer, and the judges do not suppress a laugh. The judges seem to be enjoying the cross-questioning, while the speaker seems to be struggling in her arguments, while at the same time, putting on a brave front and citing factsheets, clauses and cases.

13: 58 – The arbitrator explicitly mentions the subsequent crassness with which he shall be asking the next question. The speaker relies repeatedly on the previous arguments of hers that were dismissed by the arbitrators. The speaker seems to have lost significant confidence and seems to be inquiring something of her teammates.

14:01 – The arbitrators indicate the two minutes left, and ask the speaker to proceed to the next set of arguments. Just when the speaker speaks another fifteen words, the arbitrator interrupts her with another question that seems to be long and explanatory. When the time ends, the arbitrator provides two more minutes to the speaker to make her submissions. Thunder rumbles outside, and the respondents, now seemingly cheerful due to the cross-questioning that the petitioner has been going through, don’t hide a smile.

14:04 – Another ninety seconds are provided. The arbitrator asks the speaker to summarize her arguments in the remaining time. For one last question of the arbitrator, another twenty seconds are provided. The arbitrator brings the speaker’s attention to a clause, to which the speaker responds in kind, by drawing their attention to the factsheet. The round ends, with the judges seeking time for discussion, while asking for a copy of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules from the parties, to no avail. The speaker makes a half-hearted attempt to seek another extension to submit the prayer, but the arbitrator outrightly rejects the request.

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Respondents:

Speaker 2:

14:09 – The speaker clarifies, with an impressive accent and poise, that he would be arguing on merit, on three limbs. Like his co-counsel, he seems to know all sections and arguments by heart. The speaker begins to refer to the fact sheets.

14:12 – The speaker seems to provide succinct answers to the arbitrators, and they seem to be impressed. The clarifications he provides are accepted by the arbitrators. The arguments are interspersed by the rumblings of thunder and the thoughts of an ensuing rain.

14:15 - The judges significantly reduced the cross-questioning in this speaker’s case as compared to the petitioner counterpart, evincing an increased satisfaction in his arguments. However now, the judges seem to pick up by increasing the frequency of cross-questioning, and the answers of the speaker leads to the arbitrators’ conclusion that he was referring to the same point repeatedly.

14:18 - A mildly exasperated arbitrator asks him to proceed to the next issue if he has no new point on the same. The speaker cites his first case, and narrates its’ facts, to further questioning.

14:21 – The case’s explanation continues, and the arbitrator asks the speaker to read the clarification, and the speaker justifies his position vis-à-vis the clarification. The arbitrator mildly accuses the speaker of creating his own submissions and asks him to proceed to the final submission.

14:24 – The arbitrator provides for an additional three minutes, and the speaker continues with his last submission. The speaker argues on facts, and the arbitrators cross-question him further. The unfazed speaker attempts providing satisfying responses to the questions.

14:27 – With thirty more seconds provided, the speaker makes a summary of his remaining arguments.

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Rebuttals by the Petitioners:

Speaker 2 –  14:28 – The speaker makes a rebuttal which remains uninterrupted, and the next rebuttal goes into overtime. Surprisingly, no questions are asked!

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Rebuttals by the Respondents:

Speaker 2- 14:29 – the speaker provides a convincing sur-rebuttal, with the judges nodding in agreement. He too goes into overtime, he too isn’t questioned at all. What an exhilarating round this has been!

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