Investment Arbitration Moot Court



The Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court Competition takes place in March each year. It provides a unique opportunity for students to engage with international investment law and gain an insight into the growing phenomenon of international arbitration. In addition, participants can develop their advocacy skills as well as hone their capacity for legal writing and research, all of which are valuable skills in any professional environment.
In the competition, advocates appear as part of a team before world-renowned arbitrators where they present oral arguments and respond to questions posed by the arbitral panel. Prior to the oral proceedings, teams are required to submit written pleadings, which indicate the basic lines of argument that will be pursued. To these ends, the selected moot court team embarks upon an intensive preparation schedule beginning in the preceding September.
Over the course of the academic year, team members will have to meet regularly to understand the case study, engineer their arguments and practice their pleadings. In addition, it is necessary for students to conduct extensive research in areas related to the moot court problem question. This will almost certainly require participants to become conversant with international investment law, commercial law, private and public international law. Given the often-eclectic nature of the issues in this competition, students may even find themselves having to grasp concepts beyond the realms of legal discipline, such as historical facts, economic principles or international affairs.
The case study this year concerned Spain’s State bankruptcy in 1557. Participants had to grapple with unfamiliar institutional structures like the Holy Roman Empire, old notions such as free cities and the rare concept of contested statehood. Although the facts of the case were set in the 16th Century, advocates were instructed to apply 21st Century international law and a fictional mixed investment treaty when constructing arguments. Reasoning by analogy was the key to success and regularly proved to be one of the most challenging aspects of the problem question. The legal issues in the case included the application of ICSID’s Additional Facility rules, instances of corruption, an invocation of necessity as a jurisdictional challenge and a claim of implicit waiver of rights, to name but a few.
Despite this being the first time the Graduate Institute has entered the competition, its team achieved second place in the world finals of the competition in Frankfurt and first place at the K&L Gates Investment Arbitration Pre-moot Competition in Warsaw. Moreover, the Graduate Institute’s team gained recognition for their achievement in the Global Arbitration Review. The advocates this year comprised Katarina Hruba, Janina Mank, Nicolas Cisneros and Jason Rudall, with Pedro Bento de Faria and Brian McGarry providing research support. The team was coached by Facundo Perez Aznar and Dolores Bentolila.
If you can bring creativity, enthusiasm and a hard-work ethic to the 2011-2012 moot court team, you are wholeheartedly encouraged to apply. To do so or for more information, please contact the Centre for Trade and Economic Integration at the Graduate Institute on the following emails: with a copy to: