Success for the University of Helsinki in Vis Moot, the world's largest moot court competition

In the Vis Moot court competition held in Vienna, the team representing the University of Helsinki ranked among the top 64 from among 372 participating universities, in addition to which the Vis East team competing in Hong Kong also received honourable mentions.

The team representing the University of Helsinki in Vis Moot, the world’s largest moot court competition held in Vienna, received an honourable mention for its memorandum for respondent. Furthermore, Olga Jeganova from the team received a personal honourable mention for her oral presentation. The team competing in the Vis East competition in Hong Kong received honourable mentions for both memoranda for claimant and respondent. Members of the Vis Moot and Vis East teams included Olga Jeganova, Rebecca Kramsu, Saara-Marja Lahtinen and Malviina Linninen who were coached by Santtu Turunen, Daniil Levanov and Henrik Sajakorpi.

“The nearly eight-month project of the Vis Moot team has now been brought over the finishing line, with excellent results. The memoranda exertions of the autumn and the turn of the year were rewarded with three honourable mentions out of the four possible,” expressed a very pleased Santtu Turunen, who served as the coordinating teacher of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition course.

According to Turunen, the memorandum stage is the toughest part of the competition. It requires tireless research, learning a new and lucid style of writing as well as assuming a new legal mindset. Solutions to the judicial problems of the case are not to be found in textbooks; rather, the team has to be able to produce new information and employ a critical approach to source material.

“The key benefit students gain from moot court competitions is creative legal thinking. Such competitions closely simulate the practical work of attorneys and provide the teams with an opportunity to try their wings. Competitions demonstrate that practical problems also require research skills, as well as the ability to produce new information and employ various perspectives on the matter at hand. Regardless of anyone’s future line of work, lawyers who are creative enjoy their work more,” Turunen muses.

The teams that took part in the moot court competition practised their oral presentation from late January until Easter at the University of Helsinki’s Learning Centre Aleksandria, on visits to law firms in Helsinki and in international preliminary competitions known as Pre-Moots.

“The University of Helsinki team took part in the Pre-Moots held in Riga, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Shanghai, at the International Chamber of Commerce (Paris) and at the law firms White and Case (Paris) and August Debouzy (Paris). In addition to practising presentation, arguments are polished and consideration is given to what the competition case is about and what its key elements are. Neither should the social dimension be overlooked: Pre-Moots give the opportunity to get to know the teams from other universities, the event organisers and the experts serving as arbitrators,” Turunen explains.

“It’s also crucial to keep in mind that the team is representing its university throughout the project. In terms of representation, it’s not only success on the scoreboard that matters. In addition, the impression made by the team and the contacts it establishes and maintains also count.”

What Turunen wishes to highlight in particular is the significance of team work and team spirit on the project.

“The year was extraordinary. Even with all the intensity and toughness, everyone on the project supported each other and were rewarded by their cooperation. I believe that tireless team work and an exceptional team spirit are to thank for the fine result.”

“I also want to acknowledge my co-coaches, Daniil Levanov (HPP Attorneys) and Henrik Sajakorpi (Roschier) for their extensive efforts on behalf of the team, as well as for smooth and enjoyable cooperation during the project. The team spirit among the coaches undoubtedly also set a good example for the team,” Turunen sums up.

Applications for the Vis Moot team in 2020 will be accepted from the beginning of September.

The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is a moot court competition in the fields of international arbitration and commercial law that culminates in week-long oral hearings held in Vienna. After the general rounds, 64 teams with the highest score progress to the elimination rounds. Vis East, the sister competition, is held in Hong Kong, with approximately 90 teams participating this year. The oral hearings are preceded by a stage completed in writing, beginning with the drawing up of a memorandum for claimant for the court of arbitration. Subsequently, a memorandum for respondent is drawn up as a response to the memorandum for claimant presented by another university team. The oral hearings are also preceded by several practise competitions known as Pre-Moots. Vis Moot is covered by the teaching offerings of the discipline of procedural and insolvency law, with Santtu Turunen serving as the course coordinator.

Further information on Vis Moot: The Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot/Vis East Moot Foundation

Further information on the University of Helsinki Vis Moot team/project: