Moot court: Vis arbitration moot

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
Aims of the course
·Acquiring knowledge of the principles, rules and praxis governing international commercial arbitration and international commercial law;
·Making autonomous judgments on international commercial arbitration, international commercial law and legal issues;
·Bring of legal English (both oral and written) to an exceptional level;
·Making legal research on the most important Italian and foreign legal databases;
·Developing skills on written and oral legal advocacy, including the ability to to draft a legal memorandum, to convincingly argue a case, to plead in front of a tribunal;
·Fostering organizational skills, time management, team building attitudes and the ability to brilliantly discuss legal issues in front of the best professionals in the field.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course students will have an advanced knowledge of:
-Fundamental features of international commercial arbitration;
-Fundamental features of international commercial law (especially international contracts and Vienna Convention on International Sales of Goods 1980 - CISG)
-Techniques on written legal advocacy
-Techniques on oral legal advocacy
-Use of paper and electronic legal databases
-How to plead in front of a professional arbitral tribunal
They will acquire a method on:
-Critical legal thinking
-Analysis of case law
-Solving complex legal problems by practical sessions of case analysis, discussion and moot courts
-Writing sophisticated legal briefs, submissions and memoranda in English
-Holding hearings in English in an adversarial context
-Time management; working under pressure; team-work
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
The teaching, if not carried out "in the presence", will be implemented using the two platforms Ariel and Microsoft Teams. In particular, on Ariel all the relevant material of the course will be uploaded, and it will be accessible and downloadable by each student; on the same platform the function "Forum" will be activated, which consistst in an interactive tool to facilitate communication between the teaching staff and the students on any issue concerning the organization and the contents of the course. The lessons will in principle be held in "synchronous" mode, ie through online lessons on the Microsoft Teams platform, possibly alternated with pre-recorded lessons, uploaded on the same platform ("asynchronous" mode). The teachers are always reachable through their respective institutional email.
Course syllabus
The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is the most prestigious annual legal competition among Universities from all over the world in the field of international commercial law and arbitration, with the highest number of challenger teams in its final phase (almost 400 ones from as many Universities). The competition consists in a simulated arbitration proceedings, where each University team pleads during oral hearings before Arbitral Tribunals composed by the most eminent arbitrators (academics, professionals, judges) worldwide.
The competition starts every year at the beginning of October with the publication, online, of a legal problem (the same for all the participating teams and concerning an international sales contract governed by the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods - CISG, as well as issues of international civil procedure and arbitration: problems of past editions of the Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot can be found at: and provides for the drafting, within the first week of December, of a written memorandum for the Claimant (35 pages) and, within the end of January, of a written memorandum for the Respondent (35 pages). Both memoranda shall be written in English.
After the submission of the Respondent's memorandum, the team will prepare for the oral hearings, carrying out simulations and pleadings also before well known Italian professionals. The final stage of the competition (the official oral hearings - also held in English -, where each team shall plead both for the Claimant and the Respondent, before Arbitration Tribunals composed by real arbitrators, takes place in Vienna, during the week before Easter, where converge more than 4000 people (students, coaches, academics, professionals, judges, officers) from all around the world. In preparation of the final stage in Vienna, each year, during February - March, several pre-moots are organized by different Institutions all around the world, where a limited number of teams meet to train in view of the final stage in Vienna.
The week in Vienna, in addition to the oral hearings, offers an exciting program of conferences, seminars, workshops and social events.
The Statale Moot team, in the ten years of its participation, has competed against teams such as Harvard Law School, Kutafin Moscow State Law University, Universität Heidelberg, University of Cambridge, University of Melbourne Law School, Science Po Law School (Paris), Universidad Carlos III (Madrid), NALSAR University of Law (Secunderabad, India), Fribourg Law (Switzerland), University of São Paolo Law School, University of Tehran Faculty of Law and Political Science, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, Istanbul Bilgi University Faculty of Law, University of Buenos Aires and others. It has always achieved outstanding results: among the first 11 teams in 2014 (…); among the first 16 ones in 2010 (…); 5 times among the best 64, ranking among the best Italian teams in the history of the competition.
For the students who took part to it, the competition has always been a stepping stone for an outstanding career in law (international PH.D and LL.M. programs in top Universities and institutions, in Europe and in the USA, such as Oxford, Cambridge, Cornell Law School, Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches und internationales Privatrecht, NYU School of Law; in international law firms in Italy and abroad, such as Lalive Geneve, Clifford Chance London, BonelliErede Milan, Shearman & Sterling Paris, in Italy and abroad, in EU Institutions, in International Organizations and in International Courts and Tribunals - such as the ICJ).
25% of its participants has successfully enrolled as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Milan - 9 out of 11 Vis Moot applicants in the past 5 years have been admitted.
The Statale Vis Moot Alumni has also a stunning 85% magna cum laude graduation grades from its participants.
The participation to the competition is an extraordinary educational experience.
Prerequisites for admission
Enrollment in the Law Degree at Università degli Studi di Milano (corso di laurea magistrale in Giurisprudenza);
Grade point average: 28/30. The Evaluation Committee reserves the right to admit candidates with a lower grade point average, who show particular abilites and motivation;
Excellent knowledge of English language, both written and spoken (possibly certified).
Any student wishing to apply shall send to the att. of the coordinator, Prof. Albert Henke, by the deadline publicized every year on the University and Departments' websites, as well as circulated through all students by email, a formal application, containing the following documents:
Curriculum Vitae in English (also including reference to all the relevant extracurricular activities);
Certified list of exams and grades (SIFA self-certification is admissible);
Motivation letter (approximately 500 words);
Optional (but recommended): English certification.
Selection procedure
The Evalutaion Committee will be composed by the coordinator and by the Senior Vis Moot Coaches.
The selection procedure will take place on the date rederred to in the official call for selection. It will be articulated in a series of written tests in English and oral colloquia through the web-platform Microsoft Teams.
The outcome of the selection procedure will be communicated to the candidates few days later.
Teaching methods
The teaching methods are innovative, combining frontal lectures and seminars, written compositions, group work as to legal research and drafting, workshops, moot courts, collective case law analysis, oral pleadings.
Teaching Resources
Nigel Blackaby, Constantine Partasides QC, Alan Redfern, and Martin Hunter, Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration, 6th ed., Londra, 2015

Peter Huber, Alastair Mullis, The CISG A new textbook for students and practitioners, 2007

Additional material (arbitral and judicial case law, scholarly papers, reports, studies) will be distributed during the Module.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The active attendance to all the activities carried out during the entire period of the competition is compulsory.
The final mark will consist in an overall assessment of the participation and activities carried out by each student throughout the competition, both in the preparatory phase (September - March), and in the final stage (the oral hearings in Vienna).
IUS/15 - CIVIL PROCEDURAL LAW - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours