Now in its eighth year, the Middle East Willem C. Vis Pre-Moot took place in the Kingdom of Bahrain between February 19 and 23, 2018. Organized by the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (BCDR-AAA) in association with its strategic partners the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Law Center for International Legal Education (CILE) of the University of Pittsburgh, the event enjoyed the patronage of Bahrain's Minister of Education, His Excellency Mr. Majed Al Noaimi.
The Middle East Pre-Moot was initiated as part of BCDR-AAA's aim to increase awareness and encourage higher standards of advocacy and knowledge through training and educational programs in international commercial arbitration. BCDR-AAA believes that investment in today's younger generation will help build the professional skills and competence of tomorrow's practitioners and ensure the future of arbitration as a means of resolving international business disputes.
This annual regional event, which has been attracting an increasing number of participating universities, this year brought together some 200 law students, team coaches, lawyers, arbitrators, judges, and international arbitration specialists from across the Middle East and elsewhere. Over a period of nine months, their combined efforts enabled the teams to acquire experience and confidence in oral advocacy in preparation for representing their respective countries at the Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, which will be held in Vienna, Austria, from March 23 to 29, 2018.
The participating teams in the 2018 Middle East Pre-Moot came from universities in Afghanistan (five universities), Bahrain (two universities), Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. The 120 students were accompanied by some 70 renowned practitioners from the MENA region and beyond, who acted as arbitrators on the mock panels.
Held at Bahrain's Royal University for Women, the competition began with three days of preparatory training, which included workshops for the participating teams and a round table to familiarize arbitrators with this year's moot case. Presentations were made to the students on analyzing the set problem, legal writing strategies, and useful resources for preparing written submissions for the competition. The actual competition sessions ran from February 21 to 23, 2018.
The four teams that reached the semi-finals were from the Sri Lanka Law College, the Tunis Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences, the Lebanese Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, and Saudi Arabia's Dar Al-Hekma University. Of these, the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik and Dar Al-Hekma University went through to the final, which was won by the team from Saudi Arabia's Dar Al-Hekma University.
The awards ceremony took place at a gala dinner at the Radisson Blu Hotel attended by Mr. Justin Sibell, U.S. ambassador to Bahrain; Mr. Moatesem Ambhaydeen, Jordan's deputy ambassador to Bahrain; Mr. Rashed Abdul Rahman, member of BCDR-AAA's Board of Trustees; Mr. Ryan Harrington, legal officer at UNCITRAL; and Prof. Dr. Stefan Kröll, a director of the Vis Arbitral Moot in Vienna.
Award winners at the Middle East 2018 Pre-Moot:
- Winning team: Dar Al-Hekma University, Saudi Arabia
- Best claimant memorandum: Dar Al-Hekma University, Saudi Arabia
- Best respondent memorandum: Dar Al-Hekma University, Saudi Arabia
- Best claimant oralist: Ms. Shamilka Karunanayake, Sri Lanka Law College, Sri Lanka
- Best respondent oralist: Ms. Khawla Mraydi, Tunis Faculty of Legal and Political Sciences, Tunisia
- MENA Chambers excellence award: Ms. Bashayer bin Yamin, Dar Al-Hekma University, Saudi Arabia
The 9th Middle East Pre-Moot will take place in Bahrain from February 19 to 23, 2019. Save the date!