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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.2Regional 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 season3Defined 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 edition Venue Teams Singapore results/rank
13th LAWASIA Arbitration Siem Reap ~ 30 NUS: 1st-runners-up

SMU: 2nd-runners-up

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

NUS: octo-finalist

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

NUS: NA

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

SMU: quarter-finalist

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

NUS: 2nd-runners-up

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

SMU: NA

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

SMU: NA

10th Air Law Chandigarh ~ 30 NUS: 1st

SMU: 2nd-runners-up

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

SMU: NA

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

NUS: octo-finalist

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

NUS: NA

12th Trilegal Arbitration Bangalore ~ 60 SMU: 17th

NUS: NA

6th Private Law Sydney ~ 20 SMU: 6th

NUS: 5th

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

NUS: quarter-finalist

5th Herbert Smith Freehills Competition Law London ~ 30 SMU: 9th

NUS: NA

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

NUS: quarter-finalist

5th Nuremberg Moot Court Nuremberg ~ 60 NUS: 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 season Number of international championship finals reached Number of international championships won
2014/15 NUS: 4

SMU: 8 (5 Grand Slam finals)

NUS: 3

SMU: 5 (2 Grand Slam titles)

2015/16 NUS: 3

SMU: 9 (4 Grand Slam finals)

NUS: 3

SMU: 3 (2 Grand Slam titles)

2016/17 NUS: 6

SMU: 6 (3 Grand Slam finals)

NUS: 4

SMU: 5 (2 Grand Slam titles)

2017/18 NUS: 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

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 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.
3 Defined to mirror the most common academic year, ie end-August 2018 to end-July 2019 for 2018/19.
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.

Associate Professor of Law
Singapore Management University

A/P 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.