uOttawa Wins Prestigious International Investment Moot!A team of four students from the Faculty of Law prevailed over 36 competing teams from 20 countries around the world to win the prestigious Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration Moot, held at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, from November 1 to 4, 2012.
The team included Christine Arcari, a student of the French Common Law Program; Patricia Atallah, a recent graduate of the Civil Law Section (2012) and current student of the Common Law National Program; and English Common Law Program students Yasar Saffie and David Wahl. In addition to the overall victory, Christine Arcari also received an “Honourable Mention of Advocates,” for being one of the top ten advocates in the preliminary rounds. The team was coached by Professor Céline Lévesque from the Civil Law Section and Professor Anthony Daimsis of Common Law.
David Wahl, Patricia Atallah, Christine Arcari and Yasar Saffie
“This is yet another demonstration of uOttawa’s dominance on the international advocacy scene,” says Common Law Dean, Bruce Feldthusen. “Again and again our mooters succeed in competitions that attract teams from the finest law schools in the world. Hard work and good coaching make all the difference.” His counterpart, Dean Sébastien Grammond of the Civil Law Section, adds, “I am particularly proud of this victory, which affirms the leading role of the University of Ottawa in the field of investment law. Congratulations to the team members and their coaches!”
En route to claiming the Skadden Arps Trophy for the overall win, the uOttawa squad defeated teams from New York University, American University, the University of Warsaw and the University of Cologne. The final round saw the team compete against opponents from King’s College London, a school that had beaten uOttawa in the final round of the Willem C. Vis Arbitration Moot in 2010. Team member Patricia Atallah recalls fearing the prospect of competing against some of the most celebrated schools in the world. “However, we learned that uOttawa is also feared by those prestigious schools,” she says. “The reputation of the Faculty in mooting is well established.” In all, 231 law students took part in the competition, hailing from all corners of the globe, including Brazil, China, Indonesia, Russia, and Spain, to name just a few of the countries represented.
2012 marks not only the first time that uOttawa has entered the FDI Moot, but the first time a Canadian University has participated. "While it may sound like a bit of a cliché, it does take a village – even in mooting!,” says Prof. Lévesque. “Anthony Daimsis is well known for his advocacy skills and he was a great help in preparing the team before the moot. Other professors helped with practices, and both Dean Grammond and Dean Feldthusen supported this new initiative. Even the family and friends of the team members made a difference with their support and encouragement."
This year’s mooting problem dealt with annulment proceedings of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), specifically addressing issues of alleged excess of powers, the constitution of the tribunal, and a violation of a fundamental rule of procedure. Teams were required to write successful claimant and respondent memoranda in the months leading up to the oral competition. Teams then competed in six rounds of preliminary hearings, leading to the final elimination rounds.
“What made our success possible was the teamwork,” says team member David Wahl. “This team worked together so incredibly well, and each member was willing to take and fulfill whatever role the coaches asked us to take, big or small.” Teammate Christine Arcari adds, “All of us had different strengths and were very much willing to help each other out, including by allowing some of us to sleep, while others powered through at all hours of the night.”
“We sacrificed precious free time in the summer to wade into an ocean of knowledge that most of us had never studied before,” says teammate Yasar Saffie. “We attempted to leave no case or commentary unturned. I strongly recommend mooting to all law students. The experience, regardless of if you do or do not win, will enrich you in myriad ways.”
The Faculty of Law wishes to congratulate each of the students and their coaches for this exceptional accomplishment. The hard work and dedication of the Faculty’s mooters are a credit to the law school and a continuing source of pride and inspiration.