UP Law mooting team wins bronze at largest International Moot Court Competition

Posted on April 19, 2022

The Faculty of Law (UP Law) at the University of Pretoria is pleased to announce that their UP Moot Society team has achieved the astonishing result of placing third in the 29th Annual Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition held virtually from 8 to 14 April 2022. Seizing third place is not only the furthest UP has made it in the competition since competing in 2021, but also the furthest a university on the Africa continent has progressed overall.



Currently the largest moot court competition in the world, this competition consisted of 365 top law faculties in the world participating in a fictional arbitration case between two international corporations, and each round presided over by a trio panel of arbitrators.


The UP Law team consisted of six students: Nicole Gloy (LLB III), Tiara Joseph (LLB III), Simon Augustyn (BCom Law II); Michela du Buisson (BCom Law II); Chloe Eacott (LLB IV) and Liam Bolton (LLB II). The coaching was headed by UP Law’s Keeghan Smith (LLB IV) and Nick du Toit (LLM).  Tara Dakin, a final-year law student from Deakin University in Australia, participated as a remote consulting coach.  In the final global rounds, Simon Augustyn received an honourable mention in the Best Speaker Award category.

An elated coach Keeghan Smith said that ‘As this is only the second time UP Law has participated in the competition, and with a semifinal placement this year, and a top 32 placement in 2021, I believe that UP has clearly set themselves apart in the competition as one to look out for in the future.’.

He continued by saying that ‘Seven months ago, the team set out with the goal of improving on UP Law’s 32nd placement in 2021.  After months of sleepless nights, the team began to see success at the various premoots hosted in preparation for the actual competition. The team won the Africa Round in the Pre-moot hosted in Nairobi, and scored second place in the virtual Fox Willems Pre-moot. UP Law team member Nicole Gloy received an award for third best speaker at the 13th Annual Breakfast Pre-moot. This string of successes gave the UP Law team confidence at the start of the Global rounds on 12 April 2022’.

Smith further said that ‘During the competition, hard fought group stage rounds saw us placed in the top 64 teams progressing to the elimination rounds. The elimination rounds began in the early morning and progressed late into the night with the team triumphing over seasoned Vis moot universities such as University of Vienna (round 8), University of Münster (round 16) and WU Vienna (round 32). It was furthermore an honour for the team to have been presided over by esteemed names in the International commercial law community such as Ingeborg Schwenzer, Louis Flannery and Peter Ashford, to name but a few.

A large number of participating teams consist of LLM and Doctorate of Law students, coached by experienced lawyers and academics. Thus UP Law’s achievement is significant.   



UP Law congratulates Sofia University on their performance by prevailing in the semi-finals and winning the overall tournament.

Being part of the first Africa team to make it this far, the UP Law team is elated to have been able to represent the Africa continent and show the world that we are as skilled and as determined as our global counterparts in becoming key players in the wonderful world of International commercial law.

A word of special appreciation goes out to the non-profit organisation Africa in the Moot initiative, that provided our team with access to resources, connections with previous mooters across the globe, and much needed motivation during the actual rounds.’

Smith concluded by stating that ‘Third place is no small feat especially for a university new to the Vis Moot Competition. The knowledge, experience and direction it has provided for the team will remain with us for the remainder of our legal careers. As team member Liam Bolton stated: “To lose oneself in the pursuit of knowledge is a plight both filled with joyful love and painful revelation.  This pursuit can be a heavy burden if it was not for the humanity and humility found in fellow team members, coaches and arbitrators. Thanks to all for the memories and the experience.”'


- Author UP Law/Elzet Hurter
Published by Elzet Hurter

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