Vis Moot Court Team Reaches Finals in Malaysia

Members of the Vis team in front of a window at a recent competition in Miami

In early February, the CWRU Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Team competed in the regional round of the AIAC APAC Vis Pre-Moot competition in preparation for the most recognized moot competition in the world, the Willem C. Vis Moot. 

After going up against the Institute of Law, Nirma University (Ahmedabad, India); Royal University of Law and Economics (Phnom Penh, Cambodia); Dalian Maritime University (Dalian, China); and the University of Hong Kong, the CWRU team advanced through the round and earned a place in the elimination rounds, which are held in-person in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The team is made up of:

  • Rose Carlyon (3L)
  • Frankie Collins (3L)
  • Alexandre Heuzé (3L)
  • Jim FitzGibbon (2L)
  • Nathaniel Sommers (2L)
  • Joel Berg (1L)
  • Matthew Matolka (1L)
  • Vanessa Pilátová (1L)

"Historically, the AIAC Vis Pre-Moot has been the first pre-moot of the season for the CWRU Vis Team,” said co-captain Frankie Collins. “As it is early in the oral argument season, the team utilizes the moot to become comfortable presenting and experimenting with their arguments.The team is looking forward to its next pre-moot competitions and the actual Vis Competition in Vienna, Austria later this spring.” 

“For CWRU to advance so early in the season is a pure testament to each teammate's individual hard work and commitment to the Vis team,” said team coach and faculty member Professor Kathryn Mercer. 

This past weekend, the Vis team also argued in Miami at the 11th Annual Richard DeWitt Memorial Vis Pre-Moot Competition. The pre-Moot hosted students from top law schools, both domestic and international, to present arguments before panels of volunteer arbitrators. First year law student Vanessa Pilatova won the best oral advocate award at the competition. She received a $1000 stipend to cover travel to Vienna. 

This year, the Vis Moot is about a long-term business relationship that went wrong. Plagued by cyberattacks, non-disclosure and successful phishing attempts, Claimant is attempting to seek payment for two orders. Respondent resists on the ground that it has already paid (albeit to the cybercriminal) and that the second payment claim is over 1.5 years old. The procedural questions of the case utilize the ICC Rules to determine whether claims can be added to the current proceedings, or if consolidation of pending and future proceedings should take place. The merits side of the argument investigates payment obligation and disclosure under the CISG as well as whether and how to gap-fill where the CISG is silent.

Update: The CWRU Vis Moot Court team travelled to Chicago Feb. 23-25 for the Loyola University of Chicago pre-moot. Chicago is an important benchmark for the team every year – it is typically the final practice moot stateside before the team heads to Europe for the final competition in Vienna.

Each year the Vis Moot competition grows as arbitration becomes more of a norm for international dispute resolution worldwide. And, as the moot has grown more competitive, so has the CWRU team. This year, the team placed third overall, coming out strong against 24 teams from various schools across the world, many of which historically advance in Vienna. Especially of note is team member Alexandre Heuzé, who received an almost perfect score in his first argument of the day–the highest score received in team history.

After a monumental pre-season, the Vis team will be dedicating the next month to prepare for oral arguments in Vienna.  

Vis Team in Chicago

The Vis team in Chicago. From left to right: Jim FitzGibbon, Nathaniel Sommers, Vanessa Pilátová, Alexandre Heuzé, Frankie Collins, Rose Carlyon and Matthew Matolka.