Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vienna Moot Court)


Prof. Dr. Christoph Brunner, LL.M.
Prof. Dr. Mirjam Eggen, LL.M.


15 - ECTS

Willem C. Vis Moot Court (Vienna Moot Court)

The Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (also known as "Vienna Moot Court" or "Vis Moot") is a competition for law students with close to 400 participating universities worldwide. This means that over 2’500 students from almost 100 different countries compete each year. The University of Bern has participated with a team consisting of about six students for many years, primarily selected among Master students (as well as later semesters of the Bachelor studies). The Moot is conducted exclusively in English.

The goal of the Moot is to foster the study of international commercial law and arbitration for resolution of international business disputes. Law leaders of tomorrow will be trained to tackle a practically relevant problem of a client engaged in international commerce. The Moot involves a fictional dispute arising out of a contract of sale between two countries that are party to the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG).

Against the background of this fictional case, participating students are asked to fill the role as counsel for both parties. They will write a legal brief for both the claimant and the respondent. Finally, they will present their arguments orally in pleadings before arbitral tribunals. The sitting arbitrators are attorneys, academics, as well as non-lawyers from many different jurisdictions. The competition starts in the first week of October (participants will be given reading assignments before October). The Moot consists of two parts: The preparation of two written memoranda in support of the claimant's (due in December) and subsequently the respondent's (due in January) position, and the oral hearings in Vienna. Oral pleadings in Vienna will take place in March or April. All teams participate in four general rounds, before the best 64 teams advance to a tournament-style knockout round culminating in the grand final at the closing ceremony.

The Moot intends to not only develop academic knowledge, but also to act as a way to connect students and practitioners internationally. Thus, it serves as a great tool to generate professional connections and friendships around the world within the Vis Moot community.

Coaching and Pre-Moots

At the University of Bern, the team is accompanied by a set of coaches. The coaches will review the memoranda of the team and regularly give inputs on possible improvements and further arguments. In addition, the coaches will give introductions in both written and oral argumentation. In the oral phase, the coaches will conduct practice rounds and give feedback on the pleadings. Thus, the team will receive active coaching in their own independent approach to the case.

The team of the University of Bern also attends multiple practice rounds – so-called pre-moots – before the finals in Vienna. Pre-moots usually last for two days and take place in many cities (e.g., London, Copenhagen, Belgrade, Paris). There, teams will face off in practice oral hearings to receive feedback in order to properly prepare for the finals. Thanks to the support of our sponsors, the university is able to set a budget for the travel to pre-moots. Thus, costs for all pre-moots within the budget must not be covered by the students.

Registration and Contact

The Vienna Moot Court is intended for students in an advanced stage of their studies (later semester Bachelor’s students at the earliest). A participation is awarded with 15 ECTS for the Master's degree in law as a seminar. An information event for students interested in the next moot is held annually in late spring (date to be determined), after which students can submit applications for the upcoming Moot Court. For further questions, please contact Loïc Stucki.

Learning Outcome

Students will develop their problem solving skills in the context of a complex case involving international commerce. Students will learn how to draft two professional memoranda, thus practicing legal writing and convincing arguments. Afterwards, students are taught in theory and practice how to present their arguments freely and convincingly before a panel of experienced arbitrators and lawyers. Furthermore, the Moot deepens knowledge in the areas of international sales law and international arbitration.