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Private International Law


The Vis Moot

The Vis Moot is an annual moot created by Pace Law School to encourage law students to learn about the CISG. 

In the Vis Moot, merchants from the countries of Equatoriana, Mediterraneo, and/or Oceana resolve a contract dispute through a real arbitration tribunal, operating in the fictional city of Vindobona, Danubia.

Typically, the Vis is focused on the following treaties and rules:

  • The merchants' countries are parties to CISG, which controls the substantive contract law.
  • The arbitral institution varies but is always a real institution, whose rules govern the procedure of the arbitration itself. Arbitral rules for upcoming years are listed on the Vis Moot website under Application for use of Institutional Rules

Additionally, the following treaties and rules may also play a role:

  • Parties commonly draw on UNIDROIT Principles as gap-fillers in the substantive contract law and International Bar Association rules as gap-fillers in arbitration procedure and ethics. 
  • Danubia has enacted UNCITRAL's Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, which controls whether and how the country hosting the arbitration will enforce and recognize the arbitration. 
  • The countries are parties to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, which controls whether and how the merchants' companies will enforce the arbitral award made in Danubia.

To learn more about the moot, consult the unofficial guide and the moot website:

When competing in the moot, it's helpful to consult previous problems and winning briefs, to get a sense of what research tools are useful and what winning briefs look like:

Strategies for Vis Research

Sometimes law students will develop highly specific arguments in advance and then attempt to find fact-specific decisions that support those arguments. This is generally not a good strategy even for U.S. legal research and is usually even less successful when researching the CISG and arbitration rules, where there are typically far fewer available decisions and those decisions are generally not searchable as full text.

Instead, try the following approach:

  • Identify the CISG articles that are likely to be applicable, based on a review of introductory materials on the CISG, initial searching of decisions, or searching or checking the indexes to secondary sources.
  • Use the many available tools that allow you to look up the potentially relevant CISG articles, then locate commentary, decisions, and secondary sources about those articles. (Sometimes an initial skim of the materials may suggest that additional or different CISG articles apply, in which case you will want to look up materials on those articles.)
  • Review the materials you have found and determine the strongest arguments to make that are best supported by the existing decisions, commentary, and secondary sources.