News archive 2010
King's team wins 17th Willem C. Vis Moot19 Apr 2010, PR 84/10
King's Law students won the 17th Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot held in Vienna, Austria earlier this month, marking only the second time that a UK university has won the competition, Queen Mary being the first in 2006.
The team, composed of LLM students Shingirirai Chaza, Scheherazade Dubash, Bhavna Gokaldas, Heloise Robinson, and Ben Waidhofer, and 3rd-year LLB student Oliver Coddington, secured their place in mooting history when they won against the University of Ottawa in a nail-biting Final Round on 1 April.
The Willem C. Vis Moot is the biggest and most prestigious international commercial law moot court competition in the world. This year's competition saw a record number of 253 universities from 62 countries participating. Over 1,500 participants and 600 arbitrators attended the week-long event, one of the highlights of the international legal calendar.
High scores in the preliminary rounds assured the King's team a place in the Elimination Rounds, in which only the top 64 teams advance. In an intense two days of elimination round pleadings, the team won all its matches, beating the University of Warsaw in the Round of 64, George Washington University in the Round of 32, Duke University in the Round of 16, and Jagiellonian University, Poland in the Quarter-Finals.
The team went on to defeat the University of Hamburg in the semi-final, which secured them a place in the Final. Oralists Bhavna Gokaldas and Oliver Coddington, acting for the Claimant, then took to the stage of the Messe Wien Congress Centre, pleading in front of a crowd of nearly 2,000 spectators - the single biggest audience ever for a moot court competition.
Oliver Coddington recounted how he felt during the Final: ‘It was a daunting experience walking into the empty venue prior to the moot and realising just how large the audience would be. But during the final, I hardly noticed the audience. It was an enjoyable experience, made all the more enjoyable by finding out we had won. However, it was a team victory and we would not have been in a position to win were it not for the whole team’s performance in the earlier rounds.’
Bhavna Gokaldas concurred with this sentiment. ‘The level of excitement and energy from our team was amazing. We had mixed emotions as we began our pleadings, from pride that our team’s collective efforts had secured us a place in the Final, to nervousness knowing that over 1500 people are keenly listening to your every argument.’
She cited the support of her teammates as crucial to the King's success: ‘We had a sense of self-confidence, gained largely due to the continual support, encouragement and belief from our fellow team members, coaches, and academic advisor Professor Martin Hunter.’
Frédéric Eisenmann Award
The team was declared the winner of the prestigious Frédéric Eisenmann Award, which is given to the team prevailing in the oral arguments. In addition, the team won an Honourable Mention for its Respondent Memorandum, and Bhavna Gokaldas won an Honourable Mention Oralist award.
The team was coached by Gregory Travaini, deputy counsel at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris; Ziva Filipic, research assistant to Professor Martin Hunter; Katherine Lim, trainee solicitor at Baker & McKenzie; and Gabriel Olearnik, solicitor at Whale Rock Legal.
All the coaches are either current or former LLM students at King's, and two are former Vis mooters. Katherine Lim was part of the 2009 King's team that came in 3rd place out of 228 teams worldwide. Meanwhile, Ziva Filipic was in the 2008 King's team that ranked in the top 32 teams during its first year of participation in the competition.
Katherine Lim commented, ‘The team has exceeded everyone's expectations. They showed immense dedication, both in the writing of the memoranda and the countless hours of practice moots. They impressed the arbitrators in the Frankfurt and Paris pre-moots and won the Permanent Court of Arbitration pre-moot in The Hague. This is an exceptional result that shows how King's is continuously building on its moot success, year on year.’
The 2010 case dealt with a contract for the supply of water pumps under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). The case was governed by the UNCITRAL Model Law and ACICA rules.
The Final was chaired by Douglas Jones AM, a partner at Clayton Utz in Sydney and the president of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA); Neil Kaplan QC, a partner at Mallesons Stephen Jaques in Hong Kong; and Dominique Brown-Berset, a partner at Brown & Page in Geneva.
Notes to editors
King's College London
King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher Education 2009) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has nearly 23,000 students (of whom more than 8,600 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 5,500 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.
King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe; no university has more Medical Research Council Centres.
King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit: www.kingshealthpartners.org.
Alex Bevis, Public Relations Department,
Public Relations Department, King's College London
Email: email@example.com Tel: 020 7848 3238
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