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The Singapore Law Gazette

A Recap of the 2018/19 International Moots Season

Recap of the Season

This is the fifth1The previous reports were “Some thoughts on a record-breaking 2014/15 season for Singapore’s international mooters”, Law Gazette, August 2015; “More thoughts on another record-breaking season for Singapore’s international mooters”, Law Gazette, June 2016; “Another season of record-breaking international moot court achievements for Singapore Management University”, Law Gazette, November 2017; “The 2017/18 International Moots Season in Review”, Law Gazette, October 2018. annual review of Singapore’s performance in notable international moot competitions.3Regional competitions with hitherto uncompleted international follow-ups (eg, Lachs) or non-standing parallels (eg, INTA and IASLA), ad hoc competitions (eg LDCC), role-play competitions (eg, JP or YFP), competitions straddling mediation and/or negotiation (eg, AMAX), and competitions which allow multiple teams from the same institution (eg, ALSA) are excluded from this recap. As the latest international moots season2Defined to mirror the most common academic year, ie end-August 2018 to end-July 2019 for 2018/19. draws to a close, we can report that SMU and NUS had 8 and 4 podium finishes respectively during this period, and ordered chronologically, the moot competitions that either or both institutions participated in were:

Moot editionVenueTeamsSingapore results/rank
13th LAWASIA ArbitrationSiem Reap~ 30NUS: 1st-runners-up

SMU: 2nd-runners-up

12th Investment ArbitrationFrankfurt~ 70SMU: 2nd-runners-up

NUS: octo-finalist

17th Red Cross International Humanitarian Law MootHong Kong~ 120SMU: 1st-runners-up

NUS: NA

16th Intellectual PropertyOxford~ 40NUS: 2nd-runners-up

SMU: quarter-finalist

3rd Fletcher International InsolvencySingapore~ 25SMU: 2nd-runners-up

NUS: 2nd-runners-up

16th Vis East Commercial ArbitrationHong Kong~ 120NUS: octo-finalist

SMU: NA

60th JessupWashington DC~ 500NUS: 2nd-runners-up

SMU: NA

10th Air LawChandigarh~ 30NUS: 1st

SMU: 2nd-runners-up

23rd Stetson Environmental LawFlorida~ 40NUS: 1st-runners-up

SMU: NA

12th Price Media LawOxford~ 110SMU: 2nd-runners-up

NUS: octo-finalist

26th Vis Commercial ArbitrationVienna~ 400SMU: 32nd-finalist

NUS: NA

12th Trilegal ArbitrationBangalore~ 60SMU: 17th

NUS: NA

6th Private LawSydney~ 20SMU: 6th

NUS: 5th

12th International Criminal CourtThe Hague~ 130SMU: 2nd-runners-up

NUS: quarter-finalist

5th Herbert Smith Freehills Competition LawLondon~ 30SMU: 9th

NUS: NA

20th International Maritime ArbitrationRotterdam~ 35SMU: 2nd-runners-up

NUS: quarter-finalist

5th Nuremberg Moot CourtNuremberg~ 60NUS: 1st

SMU: octo-finalist

SMU also won 9 Best Oralist and 7 Best Memorial prizes in this period, while NUS won 10 Best Oralist and 2 Best Memorial prizes.

Comparing with the Past

The world records for the greatest number of international moot final appearances in a single season (9, achieved in 2015/16 by SMU) and the greatest number of international moot championships in a single season (5, achieved in 2014/15 as well as 2016/17 by SMU) remain intact. Grand Slams4Grand Slams or Majors are class-leading competitions that attract a substantial number of teams. They currently comprise the Jessup, Vis, Vis East, Price, International Criminal Court, Frankfurt, and Lachs moots. have become even more competitive, with a Top-2 finish in any of them eluding both institutions this season even though SMU continues to have the best track record in 2 of the 7 competitions. In the next tier of competitions, however, NUS solidified its dominance in the Air and Nuremberg competitions. To put all of the above in perspective, the win-to-final ratio for Singapore law schools across all international moots for the most recent moot seasons is as follows:

Moot seasonNumber of international championship finals reachedNumber of international championships won
2014/15NUS: 4

SMU: 8 (5 Grand Slam finals)

NUS: 3

SMU: 5 (2 Grand Slam titles)

2015/16NUS: 3

SMU: 9 (4 Grand Slam finals)

NUS: 3

SMU: 3 (2 Grand Slam titles)

2016/17NUS: 6

SMU: 6 (3 Grand Slam finals)

NUS: 4

SMU: 5 (2 Grand Slam titles)

2017/18NUS: 3 (1 Grand Slam final)

SMU: 4 (2 Grand Slam finals)

NUS: 3 (1 Grand Slam title)

SMU: 2 (1 Grand Slam title)

Before this season, both law schools had placed in the Top-3 of Grand Slam moots 25 times between them since SMU launched its International Moots Programme in 2010/11, with SMU placing 22 out of those 25 times (including multiple trips to the Jessup, Vis, Vis East, Frankfurt, Price, and International Criminal Court finals) and winning 9 Grand Slam championships.5Following this season, the total between both schools is now 29, with SMU taking 25. Following this season, SMU has placed in the Top-3 for international moot competitions 72 times since its moot programme’s founding in 2010/11, winning 23 championships and just under 150 best oralist and best memorial prizes. Quite clearly though, there is much room for improvement and the invitation for the next generation to earn their place in history and be mythologised is wide open. The problem is that many other countries and universities have a fuller array of resources made available to them, so hunger and desire are hardly sufficient ingredients for us to truly break through to the next level.

Endnotes   [ + ]

1.The previous reports were “Some thoughts on a record-breaking 2014/15 season for Singapore’s international mooters”, Law Gazette, August 2015; “More thoughts on another record-breaking season for Singapore’s international mooters”, Law Gazette, June 2016; “Another season of record-breaking international moot court achievements for Singapore Management University”, Law Gazette, November 2017; “The 2017/18 International Moots Season in Review”, Law Gazette, October 2018.
2.Defined to mirror the most common academic year, ie end-August 2018 to end-July 2019 for 2018/19.
3.Regional competitions with hitherto uncompleted international follow-ups (eg, Lachs) or non-standing parallels (eg, INTA and IASLA), ad hoc competitions (eg LDCC), role-play competitions (eg, JP or YFP), competitions straddling mediation and/or negotiation (eg, AMAX), and competitions which allow multiple teams from the same institution (eg, ALSA) are excluded from this recap.
4.Grand Slams or Majors are class-leading competitions that attract a substantial number of teams. They currently comprise the Jessup, Vis, Vis East, Price, International Criminal Court, Frankfurt, and Lachs moots.
5.Following this season, the total between both schools is now 29, with SMU taking 25.

Singapore Management University

Chen Siyuan has been running SMU’s International Moots Programme with Eunice Chua and Lionel Leo since founding it in 2010/11. Details and records of the programme are maintained at https://law.smu.edu.sg/student_activities/moots.