CIArb News

"Write The Award Competition 2018" winner announced

20 Feb 2019

Gujarat team, pictured from left to right are team members Varun Srinivasan, Akanksha Singh, Anushka Mittal, Arun Bhadauria and Shruti Trikanad. (joined by Gladwin Issac, not pictured).

The North America Branch of CIArb  and the Blakely Advocacy Institute are delighted to announce the winner of its "Write The Award Competition 2018" - the Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar, India.  In the competition, students  submitted a reasoned, final and enforceable arbitration award based on the 25th Vis Moot problem.  The competitors’ challenge was to write a final award on liability and a decision regarding a challenge of an arbitrator.  Entries were received from 6 countries, and cash prizes were awarded to the top three contestants’ schools to support future Vis activities.

The competition was sponsored by the North America Branch of CIArb and the University of Houston Law Center’s Blakely Advocacy Institute.  Directors of the competition were Professor James Lawrence, FCIArb (Blakely Advocacy Institute) and Lucy Greenwood, C. Arb, both active members of the North America Branch.  The competition was further supported by several members of the North America Branch who served as competition judges. 

Shruti Trikanad, a team member from the winning team commented:

"Our primary motive behind participating in the competition was a deep curiosity about the position an arbitrator might take on the issues we had worked on as counsels. Throughout the Vis Moot, our goal was to devise arguments that the arbitrator was most likely to accept; it was exciting to finally analyse these arguments from the perspective of an arbitrator. The difference in preparation for the Vis Moot and the Award Writing Competition was stark - the former required us to argue back and forth while the latter required a consolidation of our thoughts into the most suitable position of law on the legal issues presented in the problem. Often, it required us to critically examine arguments we had made in the moot, and reject those that did not survive the final decision. During this process, we were also able put to use the experience we garnered in our Vis rounds in Hong Kong.

Our team continued to function as it had from the very start, with half our members working on the procedural decision, and the other half on the substantive. Although we did clash in our decisions on several points, we were able to work efficiently through the process. When the results of the competition were announced, we were originally pranked by two members of the team, duped into believing that we had fallen short of even the third place. It’s difficult to describe just how ecstatic the team was upon discovering that we had, in fact, won the competition. "

CIArb’s Director of Communications and Membership, Neil Newman added:

“CIArb is proud to support the Vis Moot Competition and all related initiatives such as the excellent Award Writing Competition. We strongly believe that such initiatives serve as a perfect medium to promote ADR among young generations. It is very empowering to see the enthusiasm of young people such as members of the team from the Gujarat University, for such a complex and difficult task as writing an arbitral award.  This year CIArb is hosting the Vis Pre-Moot in cooperation with Fox Williams on 2-3 March 2019 in London as well as attending the Vis Moot finals in Vienna.”

Jim Reiman, Chair of the North America Branch of the CIArb noted:

“The North America Branch of the CIArb is committed to furthering the charitable and professional goals of the Institute, and we can think of no better way to accomplish this than to support the professional development of future arbitrators and advocates in arbitrations.  The Blakely Advocacy Institute, and NAB members James Lawrence and Lucy Greenwood are to be commended for their success in creating and executing the competition, and all competitors and their advisors are to be congratulated for the extraordinary quality of their competition submissions.  Shruti Trikanad’s comments regarding the differences between preparing to serve as an advocate and arbitrator demonstrate the lessons we hoped to convey and the proof of the learning.

In addition to the Award Writing Competition, the NAB and its members are strong supporters of the Vis competitions.  Many of our members serve as judges in Vienna and Hong Kong, and the NAB sponsors pre-moot practice competitions in multiple cities in the United States, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Miami.”

James Lawrence, Executive Director of the University of Houston Law Center’s Blakely Advocacy Institute stated:

“The primary reason that Lucy Greenwood and I created this competition was to give law students an opportunity to “complete” the arbitration process.  The Write the Award competition seemed to be the perfect vehicle to accomplish that goal.  Law students who compete in the Vis competition get the opportunity to sit in the arbitrator’s “chair” and analyse the outcome of the case they just argued.  The NAB was a perfect partner for us to make this competition happen and we are very grateful to them for their support.”

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