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Location of the final: the Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center / Photo credit: G. Szuklits (Reed Messe Wien)

Structure of the Willem C. Vis Moot

The Willem C. Vis Moot can be divided into five phases.

  • Preparation of memoranda

    Each year, the Willem C. Vis Moot is kicked off on the first Friday of October. As soon as the problem has been distributed, the teams prepare a memorandum for claimant, which is usually due by mid-December. After that, they have until mid-January to draft a memorandum for respondent. Each of these memoranda, which are written statements, has 35 pages excluding formal annexes.

  • Preparation for oral arguments

    In mid-January, the phase of preparing for the oral arguments begins. The core arguments for claimant and respondent the participants have previously come up with are now used to draft a pleading. The pleading is then memorized and its presentation is practiced until the important final round of argument in Vienna and Hong Kong. In addition, the teams visit reputable corporate law firms, where their performance is evaluated by experienced lawyers. As the “Mooties” receive individual feedback and valuable tips and tricks, they continuously improve their pleadings.

  • Structure of a pleading session

    In a pleading session, the competing parties battle each other in pairs of two. Each pair has 30 minutes to convince the three arbitrators of their own legal opinion. Usually, each team member speaks for 15 minutes and also responds to any questions the arbitrators might have. After the pleading session, the arbitrators usually give detailed feedback to each of the participants.

  • Pre-Moots

    Apart from attending multiple pleading sessions held in law firms, the team also visits several Pre-Moots. At a Pre-Moot, the team competes against teams from other universities in pleading sessions. These events last several days and take place inside and outside of German. They are a simulation of the final round of argument in Vienna and Hong Kong. Usually, you can participate in a number of leisure activities, as well, so there is always enough time to have fun. In Germany, the Hannover Pre-Moot, the Pre-Moot organized by the HU Berlin, and the All Munich Rounds in Munich have a long-standing tradition. But other countries also host well-known Pre-Moot events, such as Stockholm, Helsinki, Belgrade, New York, London, and Paris.

  • Finals in Vienna and Hong Kong

    From the end of March to the beginning of April, the teams travel to Vienna and Hong Kong where they get down to business. In the general rounds of argument, the participants take part in four pleading sessions, competing for the coveted admission to the elimination rounds. Only the best 64 (32 in Hong Kong) out of about 350 teams are admitted. The two remaining teams have their final face-off during the Awards Banquet. The official events of each Willem C. Vis Moot end with the awards ceremony.