The skills, international exposure, experience, friendship, and memories are also never ending
The sacrifice, sleepless nights, and endless cups of coffee are always worth it
The Moot Court Bench doesn’t just cater to law students, it caters to the future! Get in touch with them on social media and see what exciting opportunities they may have in store for you
They say the best lessons are learnt outside the classroom! No, we’re not talking about bunking periods, but rather the polar opposite. We’re referring to the people that have a craving for knowledge and skills, those who really put themselves to the test, challenge their limits and vastly improve their skills and capabilities. Individuals of this calibre converged (virtually, of course) at the International Commercial Arbitration Programme organised and facilitated by the Moot Court Bench, Sri Lanka’s Premier Legal Advocacy
Better known as the MCB, this platform provides law students the opportunity to explore areas of law which are seldom taught within the law school curriculum, thus outside the classroom! The 3 programmes offered by the MCB are the International Commercial Arbitration Programme, the International Trade Law Programme and the International Commercial Mediation and Negotiation Programme. The programmes focus on giving students an in-depth knowledge in the relevant areas as well as training them in the art of Mooting.
For those confused, a Moot is a simulated legal proceeding. Think of a debate, with a spoonful of Suits!
The International Commercial Arbitration Programme came to be in the Year 2020. It was the brainchild of a certain set of individuals who had represented Sri Lanka at the prestigious Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, a grand slam moot which is held annually in Vienna and Hong Kong which sees the participation of more than 400 teams. These individuals are the Sri Lanka Vis Alumni Network. It was also the first programme offered by the MCB, thereby making these individuals the founding members of the MCB.
In addition to a mere representation, it is all too important to note that the Vis Alumni won numerous awards and even emerged Champions at the Vis Pre-Moots held annually. In fact, the Teams were so well recognised that the MCB received and continues to receive the support and endorsement of the Commercial Law Development Programme of the United States Department of Commerce. A successful completion of the ICA Programme in the Year 2020 saw the representation of two teams from Sri Lanka Law College and the Royal Institute of Colombo at the 28th Vis Moot and associated Pre-Moots, both of which won numerous accolades as well!
The National Selection Rounds for the Vis Moot hosted by the MCB in the year 2020.
After a tiny breather post conclusion of the Vis this year, the Administrative Team of the MCB set to work designing and creating the Second Edition of the ICA Programme. More than 30 students from various Universities were taught the basics of International Commercial Arbitration and the International Sale of Goods along with Written and Oral Legal Advocacy over the course of two months, i.e., from July to August. A lot of learning, research, assessments, vivas, memos, and practice moots later, the best of the best ICA Mooties arrived at the PlayOffs: Vienna.
The Mooties were, Arsiya Mahir, Aysha Hazri and Afnan Imad from APIIT Law School; Paramee Silva and Rukaiya Ameen from CFPS Law School; Emma Premaratne, Dilsarah Derrick and Gaya Kulatunga from the Royal Institute of Colombo; and Namali Ratnayake, Desary Welianga and Heshani Chandrasekara from Sri Lanka Law College.
The Virtual Environment of the International Commercial Arbitration Programme 2021 where over 30 law students were trained
PlayOffs: Vienna functioned as the National Selection Round platform through which teams are selected to represent Sri Lanka at the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. The ICA Mooties represented their universities and competed in a series of Knockout General Rounds which led to the Final Round. PlayOffs: Vienna 2021 was held from the 22nd of September 2021 to the 26th of September 2021. It commenced with a two-day simulated training followed by the General Rounds and the Final Round. The General Rounds and the Final Round were arbitrated by members from the Sri Lanka Vis Alumni Network and eminent figures in the field of arbitration both locally and internationally. The Panel for the Final Round comprised of Mrs. Dilumi De Alwis, Mr. Harith De Mel and Mr. Amrit Rajapakse.
The Champions, Runners Up, and Second Runners Up were the teams from Sri Lanka Law College, the Royal Institute of Colombo, and CFPS Law School respectively. Additionally, special awards were given to the best two memorandums, the two most promising speakers at the ICA Programme, the top scorer for the International Commercial Arbitration and the International Sale of Goods Assessment, the individual who was most committed to the programme, the best oralists at PlayOffs: Vienna and finally, the Spirit of the MCB award went to the individual who overcame many hardships yet somehow completed the MCB ICA Programme. The PlayOffs were conducted via Microsoft Teams which enabled the MCB to follow suitable Health Guidelines and Regulations whilst ensuring the safety of all the Mooties, Arbitrators, and invitees. The individuals from the Top 3 Teams are about to embark on a journey to represent their respective universities and in turn Sri Lanka at the 29th Vis Moot.
The Grand Final Round of the PlayOffs: Vienna
The new Moot Problem for the 29th Vis Moot was released on Friday, the 8th of October 2021, keeping with the tradition of releasing the new case Brief on the first Friday of October. This meant Heshani, Namali, Dilsarah, Gaya, Emma, Paramee and Rukaiya had only a very tiny breather to brush up on their basics and laws once again before embarking on a life changing course of six months. They are coached by two members of the MCB and the Sri Lanka Vis Alumni Network whose team emerged champions at the Middle East Pre Moot in the Year 2020, namely Daariya Azim and Dylan Wijesuriya whilst three equally accomplished Vis Alumni, namely Sulaiman Rameez, Iranthi Walgama and Harish Balakrishnan will act as advisors. It truly is an endless cycle of learning and then passing on that knowledge. Nevertheless, the skills, international exposure, experience, friendship, and memories are also never ending. Something that all Mooties believe is that all the sacrifice, sleepless nights, and endless cups of coffee are always worth it. Always!
Although the International Commercial Arbitration Programme has come to an end this year, the MCB is just getting started for the next. Whilst training the new Vis Teams, it will also be training teams for the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition on International Trade Law, a moot in which the MCB Team from the University of Colombo are the reigning Global Champions. It is also training students for the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition. The MCB is also expanding its reach through social media and by means of a variety of workshops and mailing list subscriptions.
The beauty of all these ventures is that they contribute to the bigger vision the MCB has in store for our island nation. Sri Lanka has a strong potential of becoming one of Asia’s leading economies by 2040. The expected inflow of business and investment will create a need for Alternate Dispute Resolution as court litigation will not be accessible to all nor as effective and practical. Where business exists, so will dispute. And where dispute exists, effective and speedy dispute resolution is required! The MCB stands to benefit the Sri Lankan Economy through catering to the vacuum which is being created for practitioners of ADR.
We can conclude that the Moot Court Bench doesn’t just cater to law students, it caters to the future! Get in touch with them on social media and see what exciting opportunities they may have in store for you!