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Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot

The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is an international moot court competition held annually in Vienna. The goal of the Vis Moot is to support the study of international commercial law and arbitration and encourage the resolution of disputes by arbitration. The problem for the moot is always based on an international sales transaction subjected to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (also referred to as the CISG) which also involves procedural issues of arbitration. The moot consists of submitting written memoranda prior to the moot for both sides of the dispute (claimant and respondent). The oral arguments phase of the moot is held in Vienna. The whole moot is conducted in the English language.

Structure of the Moot

The Vis Moot is divided into two parts: the preparation of the written memoranda in support of the claimant's and subsequently the respondent's position, and the oral proceedings in Vienna. The written phase starts in October when the Moot Problem is distributed among the teams. A memorandum with respect to the factual and procedural issues has to be prepared by the teams. The team usually consists of 4-6 members.

First, the students have to slip into the role of the counsels representing the claimant. This memorandum is due early in December. Each team is then sent a copy of the memorandum for claimant of one of the other teams in the moot. The memorandum for respondent has to be written as a response to the memorandum received, and is due in late January.

Contrary to other international moot competition, there is no selection of the teams who can proceed to the oral arguments based on the quality of memoranda - every team in the Vis Moot gets to go to Vienna.


As popularity for the Vis Moot has gradually grown, a number of schools now participate in sessions that provide the opportunity to practice the oral presentation of their argument, before finally traveling to Vienna for the actual Vis Moot. In the past years, law firms and universities throughout the world have hosted the so-called pre-moots. A typical pre-moot will bring together between 5 to 15 schools to practice their arguments. Since this is the best way of preparation, the Comenius University has also participated in several pre-moots in the past years (Helsinki, Prague, Budapest). The participation in a particular pre-moot depends on the conditions and availability and therefore changes every year.

The oral arguments

The oral arguments take place in Vienna. They commence every year with a formal Opening Reception on the Friday a week prior to Easter and close with the finals on Thursday of Easter week. On Thursday night preceding the Opening, the Moot Alumni Association traditionally organizes its Welcoming Party for student participants, coaches and moot alumni.

The General Rounds take place at the Law Faculty of the University of Vienna and several law firms in its vicinity. Every team is arguing in four initial hearings (against four different teams, usually pairing a team from a civil law country with a team from a common law country) during the first four days. The General Rounds conclude on Tuesday afternoon with the announcement of the 64 highest ranking teams which move on to the elimination rounds. Elimination rounds take three days and end with the final argument. The moot closes afterwards with an awards banquet.

The Vis Moot is considered one of the most prestigious moot court competitions in the world. The foremost scholars in the field of international sales law and international arbitration come to Vienna to act as arbitrators which clearly establish the high standing of this competition from the academic and professional perspective. It draws participation from many law schools from all over the world.

The Vis Moot's popularity has grown rapidly over the last years (there have been 341 participating teams in the academic year 2014/2015). The moot gives the law students a chance to interact with students from other countries and legal cultures thereby providing them with a multicultural approach which is undoubtedly an asset in international arbitration. The other attractions of the competition are the parties organized by the Moot Alumni Association (MAA), which provide the students an opportunity to relax after months of thorough preparation. The MAA hosts a welcoming party as well as a farewell party a day before the finals and the awards banquet.

Students of the Faculty of Law who want to participate in the Vis Moot in the following academic year 2017/2018 are encouraged to sign up through email below. Issues regarding the awarding of credits for the participation have not been settled yet, however, it should be possible to receive up to 8 ECTS credits.

In case you have any questions or enquiries do not hesitate to write an email to the address mentioned above.