From 21 to 27 February 2021, the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (BCDR) co-hosted the 11th Annual Middle East Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Pre-Moot online, via Zoom.
This year's online competition followed the first-ever virtual Middle East Vis Pre-Moot of March 2020, which had been forced by the Covid-19 outbreak to switch to an online platform; a change that was achieved in just 15 days.
The 11th Middle East Pre-Moot was organized in partnership with the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) of the US Department of Commerce, and the Center for International Legal Education (CILE) of the University of Pittsburgh, with the support of the Royal University for Women in Bahrain, MENA Chambers, and Jones Day.
This year saw a significant increase in the number of participants. Students from a record number of 40 teams and 24 countries, and more than 200 advisors, faculty, and legal practitioners seamlessly connected from the four corners of the globe. The program featured a total of 80 general rounds, with 16 teams advancing to the quarter finals.
The week-long online program included an opening ceremony with an arbitrator roundtable moderated by Ronald Brand of CILE, and including Michael Patchett-Joyce of The 36 Group in the UK, John-Paul Putney of Jones Day in Pittsburgh, and Maria Casoria of the Royal University for Women in Bahrain.
The final 4 teams were the National Law University of Jodhpur, India; the University of Pittsburgh, US; the Royal Institute of Colombo, Sri Lanka; and Brickfields Asia College, Malaysia, with the National Law University of Jodhpur edging out the University of Pittsburgh in the final round.
Crina Baltag, Senior Lecturer in international arbitration at the Stockholm University and longtime supporter of the Vis Moot, chaired the final tribunal, alongside co-arbitrators John McGowan of Global Advocacy and Legal Counsel, and Ziad Salloum of Salloum & Partners in the United Arab Emirates.
Some of the other renowned practitioners featured in the program included Adrian Winstanley, former LCIA Director-General; Charles T. Kotuby Jr., Partner at Jones Day; Noor Davies, Partner at White & Case; Joseph Heyd, Vice President & Chief Litigation Counsel at Procter & Gamble; Gene Litvinoff, Senior Counsel Litigation at Chevron; Anni Goldberg, General Counsel at TriSalus Life Sciences; and Peter K. Rosen, neutral at JAMS.
The Middle East Pre-Moot is a preparatory competition for the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot held annually in Vienna and Hong Kong and attracting more than 400 law schools from around the world. Through its support of the Middle East Pre-Moot, BCDR aims to increase awareness of arbitration among students of the region and to increase inclusiveness and diversity in arbitration.
Recordings of the opening ceremony, the final round and the closing ceremony of the 11th Middle East Pre-Moot can be viewed here.