The Middle East Vis Pre-Moot seeks to bolster the inclusion and competitiveness of MENA teams in the annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Organized by BCDR in partnership with the Commercial Law Development Program of the US Department of Commerce and the Center for International Legal Education of the University of Pittsburgh, among others, the Middle East Vis Pre-Moot is an unmissable seedbed for budding dispute resolution leaders in the region. At the event, teams of law students test their skills in simulations of real-life cases and are assessed by renowned specialists in the field, whose advice and encouragement are invaluable to the students’ future development. The moot provides essential training for the annual Vis Moot in Vienna, Austria (see https://vismoot.pace.edu/) and Hong Kong (see https://www.cisgmoot.org/).

Launched in 2011 with just four teams, the Middle East Vis Pre-Moot has so far attracted contestants from faculties in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as some fifty professionals. Over the years, as many as 535 students have benefited from the support of around 350 mentoring arbitration practitioners, academics, and jurists. The contacts established during the moot help participants to build up a sustaining network for their future careers.

The Middle East Vis Pre-Moot consists of two main phases. The first, which usually takes place in October, provides training in legal research and writing, with a view to preparing participants for the written part of the Vis Moot. It may be attended by an entire team or just a team advisor or representative.

The second phase focuses on advocacy skills in preparation for the oral part of the Vis Moot. This phase lasts five days and is hosted in Bahrain by BCDR and the Royal University for Women of Bahrain. It comprises three parts: oral advocacy training for students; a roundtable at which arbitrators discuss current developments in arbitration related to the Vis Moot problem; and a competition consisting of a mock arbitration in which the students are graded on their oral pleading skills by arbitrators renowned in the region and internationally under conditions similar to those of the oral rounds of the Vis Moot in Vienna and Hong Kong.

There are no registration fees for participating in the Middle East Vis Pre-Moot. However, participating teams are asked to bear their own travel, visa, accommodation, and other in-country costs associated with the program.

The Middle East Vis Pre-Moot is a unique formative experience that increases awareness of international commercial arbitration, raises standards of advocacy, and, more widely, consolidates the study and practice of international commercial law and arbitration in the Middle East by laying foundations for the future.

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