Monash Law Qualify for Vis Moot Finals

Monash Law Qualify for Vis Moot Finals

The Willem C Vis Moot is an annual arbitration competition for law students, focusing on international commercial law. There are two main competitions held in Hong Kong, and Vienna. Normally, almost 400 universities compete in Vienna, and 130 universities in Hong Kong. Teams come from every continent in the world to compete, and it is sometimes referred to as "the Olympics of law". The Vis Moot involves around 4,000 students and coaches, and another 1,000 arbitrators. Arbitrators are real-life judges, international arbitrators, academics and lawyers from almost every country worldwide.

Monash has an enviable record in the Vis Moot, and a strong reputation. We reach the finals almost every year (a rare feat amongst teams) and often progress to Rounds of 16 or quarter finals. Over the years, we have won the grand final and have been named runners up. We have also won the Best Individual Speaker prize and won prizes in written memoranda categories. Extraordinarily, Monash consistently wins prizes in every category (written, oral, team), something matched by only one or two other teams in recent years. We are also known widely as one of the teams that upholds the spirit of the moot.

Monash was represented this year by Murphy Bong, Samira Lindsey, Joseph McDonald, Moe Nafady, Dave Yan Sima, and Lorena Stents who each put in huge amounts of work over the past 6 months, preparing detailed written memoranda and practising their oral moot skills. However, this year turned out to be very different, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Weeks before we were due depart Australia, the competition was suspended. It was then decided that it would run as a online, making the 27th competition the first ‘virtual moot’ in the history of the competition. Shortly before the competition started, we were informed there was a need for high speed internet connections. The students were provided special access to the University during the state-wide lockdown. Without this, 6 months of team preparation and training would have been wasted, as most could not compete online with home internet speeds.

For the 7th year running, Monash qualified for the finals, under the coaching of Dr Lisa Spagnolo. We were knocked out in the first round of finals by the Canadian team, McGill University. However, we were incredibly excited to be named Runner Up for the Werner Melis Prize for Best Respondent Memorandum from almost 400 entries. Written prizes are highly coveted, and it is unusual for Australian teams to win one of the top prizes. We were also absolutely delighted that Lorena Stents received an Honourable Mention for Best Individual Oralist.

The team wishes to thank Monash Law, and in particular, the Dean, Professor Bryan Horrigan, the Faculty General Manager, for his ongoing support. They also wish to thank Fiona Bygraves, Chris Hendersen and the security team, who have been instrumental in gaining access to the Law Building in these extraordinary circumstances.

There are also numerous people who assisted the team in preparing for the oral rounds and who provided ongoing support to the team. We wish to thank Professor the Hon. Clyde Croft AM SC, Prof the Hon. Marilyn Warren AC QC, the Hon. Judge Alister McNab of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, Dr Drossos Stamboulakis, Dr Jeremy Kingsley, HWL Ebsworth Lawyers (particularly Evan Stents, Simon Crawford, Laura Young and Emily Ireland). We also wish to thank past Monash Vis Alumni, including Harrison Frith, Cameron Inglis, Ariella Gordon, Joshua Kaye, Shervi Maramot, Randy Palihakkara, Michelle Park, Nick Young, Kathryn Browne, Ben Needleman, Thomas Smalley, Olivia Wan and Adam McNeill.