International Commercial Arbitration is an important and critical area of law that is growing in the Middle East. Parties entering in international commerce often require or prefer disputes be settled through arbitration. This requires specific cadre of legal expertise, able to engage in arbitration with international parties, understanding the various international principles, cultures, and laws. As the Middle East strives to increase and attract international commerce to their respective countries, many governments from the region, are working towards improving the mechanisms for resolving disputes through international arbitration. In support of this initiative, legal education on international commerce has become a focal point for governments, academia, and the private sector.
The Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis Moot), held in Vienna and Hong Kong, is the pre-eminent moot competition on commercial law and arbitration. The Vis Moot is an educational tool for arbitrators, judges, lawyers, professors, and law students, to foster the study and practice of international commercial and arbitration laws and encourage the resolution of business disputes by arbitration. The Vis Moot provides a comprehensive simulation of a factitious international commercial dispute, and enables participants, both judges, lawyers, and legal scholars alike, to gain technical and legal understanding of the international commercial arbitration process. In 2013, teams from 290 universities and 67 countries took part in the written and oral advocacy competition.
Since 2009, the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution (BCDR-AAA), in coordination with the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) of the US Department of Commerce, along with other international resource partners, established the Middle East Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Pre-Moot Program (Pre-Moot Program). The Pre-Moot Program aims to increase the capacity of litigation lawyers and arbitrators in the Middle East, through participation in Vis. Through the Pre-Moot Program, BCDR-AAA and CLDP cooperates with key regional academic institutions to develop a cadre of legal experts able to resolve commercial disputes within international best practices. Alumni of the program become champions of international commercial arbitration and work closely with US and Middle East firms, businesses, and partners to strengthen economic ties and cooperation. Former regional participation includes teams from Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Oman, UAE, Qatar, and Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
The Pre-Moot Program aims to create a sustainable Vis Moot program with each academic institution it works with. The Pre-Moot Program consist of three-phases, which includes comprehensive training on legal research and analysis, memoranda writing, oral advocacy skills, international commercial law instruments, international sales contracts, and arbitration. Through this program, university faculty members and former Vis students, from the region, gain the tools and knowledge to train students and design curriculum emphasizing international commercial law and arbitration. The Vis program provides students an opportunity to take part in a unique, challenging, and practical moot experience, often resulting in their continued interest in pursuing a career in international commercial law.
The Pre-Moot is designed for judges, lawyers, law professors, and prospective arbitration practitioners, to provide a practical simulated experience on the process of international arbitration, the role of arbitrators, and best practices, through participation in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (Vis Moot).
The Pre-Moot engages law students to compete, in front of regional and international practitioners, who all gain practical arbitration experience through a supportive, collegial, and academic environment.
An integral part of this effort is the engagement of leading regional arbitration practitioners, such as yourself.