It is one of the largest student competitions in the area of international economic law worldwide: the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. In the 28th Willem C. Vis Moot, for example, students from 385 universities from about 80 countries participated in the competition. University teams from all over the world have battled each other in the courtroom since 1992/1993. They have taken on the roles of lawyers either representing claimants or respondents in a fictional case drawn from the areas of UN sales law or international arbitration. Students not only need to write extensive written statements (called memoranda for claimant and respondent) in a foreign language, but also thoroughly prepare for the oral arguments (called pleadings). It is this preparatory work that often proves to have a particularly beneficial impact on the students’ future careers.
These are the highlights of the Vis Moot: When the competition draws to a close, which is usually at the end of March or the beginning of April each year, all teams travel to Vienna and Hong Kong to present their arguments in a one-week mock trial. In four general rounds of oral argument, the best 64 teams in Vienna or the best 32 teams in Hong Kong are chosen respectively. Those teams are then admitted to the elimination rounds. In Vienna, the two best teams face each other in the final round that takes place during the Awards Banquet in the Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center, with about 2,000 people watching. After that, the coveted prizes are handed out in an awards ceremony.