Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - International Dispute Resolution

IDR LLM goes to Vienna!

From the 22nd to the 28th of March, the IDR LLM family made their annual pilgrimage to Vienna to join the global arbitration community for the 31st edition of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. 

The week began with the annual MAA International Commercial Law & Arbitration Conference by the Moot Alumni Association which was co-organised by the LL.M. alumni Alicja Zielinska-Eisen and Oleksandra (Sasha) Hnatiuk and featured alumni Jake Lowther and Thiago Stüssi among the speakers.

The conference opened with a few words of wisdom from the President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, Claudia Salomon, in conversation with Victoria Pernt of MyArbitration about how to bring one’s authentic self to arbitration as a way towards carving your path to success. The various other panels discussed the adaptability of the CISG to new technologies and the impact of software on contract formation. Questions of form requirements with regard to voice memos on WhatsApp and the use of chatbots to conclude contracts were touched upon while being assessed based on functional equivalence and the reasonable man standard.

Another event of note included the YAAP (Young Austrian Arbitration Practitioners) conference, which featured a stellar workshop on cross-examining witnesses in a mock trial setting. The programme offered invaluable insights and practical tips that left behind textbooks and transformed theory into practice. 

The Annual ICDR Y&I Coffee House Debate picked on the themes of this year's moot proposition and explored in depth if Parties should be allowed to add to or amend their claims after the first procedural order as well the question whether Parties can agree to deviate from any provision in the arbitral rules. Moderated with great elan by Patricia Shaughnessy and Mark Kantor, the debate was often taken to extremes with moments of merriment and mirth, such as the permissibility of parties agreeing to deviate from the administrative fees of the arbitral institutions. 

Reflecting the changing times and fast-evolving technologies, the LCIA’s Young International Arbitration Group hosted a panel titled “Should arbitral rules contain specific provisions relating to the use of AI by counsel and arbitrators?” This topic was then taken a step further by CIArb and the VIAC who conducted a mock arbitral proceeding that was adjudicated by two Chat GPT4-powered tribunal members, rather fittingly named Trinity and Neo. The arbitration was based on the 30th Vis Problem and was deftly argued by last year's winning and runner-up teams.

Adapting arbitration for the future, however, is not just about technology but also democratizing who has access to such spaces. BakerMckenzie and the MAA with the support of the ICC, shone a spotlight on disability inclusion in arbitration. We thank the speakers at this event, particularly for their candour and frank discussion of their personal experiences in navigating such challenges and future perspectives, including the Practical Application of the ICC Guide on Disability Inclusion. In the same vein, Jus Mundi also announced the launch of their Tribunal Secretary platform for arbitration, opening the door for many young practitioners to find their footing in this interesting world of international commercial arbitration. dd26a7ac-5ad5-480d-b542-f479f25dbf8f_VSCO.jpeg

From the client's perspective as well, the VIAC & CDRC hosted a reception wherein arbitration meets mediation, encouraging the adoption of multi-tier dispute resolution clauses as well as an option to see the same in practice with the 31st Vis Moot proposition being mediated at the Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition 2024 in July.

No visit to Vienna is complete without soaking in the culture of this wonderful city. We thus doff our hats to the wonderful performers at the opening ceremony for Vis at the Wiener Konzerthaus, who brought us 21st-century sounds at an 18th-century venue, the many many wonderful receptions hosted in glided halls, much like proper Vienesse balls.

We would also like to congratulate the Humboldt Vis Team for their stellar performance, with honourable mentions for the Best Team Orals and Best Respondent Memorandum and two honourable mentions for the Best Oralist awards.