A team of students from the Faculty of Law at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK LAW) recently won the Eric Bergsten Award VVE 2020 – Team who prevails in oral arguement of the 17th Willem C. Vis East International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis East Moot).

The Vis East Moot is one of the pre-eminent international arbitration mooting competitions which aims to promote the study of international commercial arbitration and the training of tomorrow’s legal leaders in methods of alternate dispute resolution [1]. Every year, the Vis East Moot attracts students from law schools around the world to participate. In response to the epidemic of COVID-19 in the world, this year’s competition was held online, from 22 to 29 March.

A total of 71 schools from 21 jurisdictions in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America, including top law school students from Harvard University, University College London, the University of Basel and Tsinghua University participated in the Vis East Moot competition this year. To get to the final, the CUHK LAW team mooted against teams from Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam. The final was debated before a distinguished panel of international arbitration practitioners, including Ms. Paula Hodges QC, President of the London Court of International Arbitration, United Kingdom, Dr. Sabine Stricker-Kellerer, an international lawyer and arbitrator from Germany, and Ms. Winnie Tam SC, JP, Senior Counsel and former Chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association (2015-2017). The CUHK LAW team prevailed against the University of Sao Paulo Largo San Francisco from Brazil in the final round and won the Eric Bergsten Award. In addition, team member Fan Yin Cheung Kasper, a LLB student, received an Honourable Mention for his advocacy.

CUHK LAW team and the Faculty Coach, Prof. Peter Rhodes (2nd right, front row)

Delighted with the results, Prof. Lutz-Christian Wolff, Dean of CUHK LAW stated, “We are very proud of this wonderful success of the CUHK LAW team. It shows the high legal competence of CUHK LAW students as well as their adaptability to new situations as the change to an online competition was rather sudden and without much time to prepare.”

Prof. Peter Rhodes from the CUHK LAW has been the Faculty Coach of the team since it was established and has witnessed the growth of the team. He was very proud of the great success of the students. He chalked up the latest win to the students’ extremely hard work and their willingness to learn from previous years’ experience. Prof. Rhodes said, “As the University switched to online teaching because of COVID-19 during the preparation period, the team had to practise online rather than meeting face-to-face. The team overcame this additional new challenge, making the achievement even more remarkable.”

Student Fan Yin Cheung Kasper, who received the Honourable Mention, said, “The achievement is a true testament to the team’s dedication, perseverance and hard work in the past nine months. It was my honour to be able to represent the team in presenting all of our carefully constructed and diligently researched submissions to leading universities, scholars, and legal practitioners around the world. I would like to deliver my vote of thanks to Prof. Rhodes, Mr. Paul Mitchard QC and the coaches, whose valuable advice made us appear much more professional and persuasive.”

The winning team consisted of CUHK LAW students studying different programmes; Fan Yin Cheung Kasper (LLB), Wong Lap Yan Michelle (JD) and Lui Kiu Yu Donald (JD), who were the oralists in the semi-final and final of the competition, and Choi Ho Yin (LLB), Lai Wing Sum Winsome (LLB), Lam Ka Long Patrick (LLB), Leung Ching Hang Christie (LLB), Liu Tsz Yat (LLB), Li Yunyi Lucy (JD), Gong Runtong (PCLL) and Loo Fai Yang Ferdinand (PCLL). The team was supported by student coaches Lee Yu Tung Sharon (LLB), Chan Chun Hei Alex (PCLL) and Ho Ngai Sum Esther (PCLL), who were former Vis East Moot team members and shared their valuable competition experience and legal knowledge with the team. 

About The Willem C. Vis East International Commercial Arbitration Moot

The Willem C. Vis East International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis East Moot) and its sister moot, The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot annually held in Vienna, are the largest international arbitration mooting competitions in the world. The Vis East Moot requires students to research on international commercial law and advocate for their clients in a trans-border commercial dispute, applying international legal instruments such as the UNCITRAL Model Law, as well as the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sales of Goods.