The Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”) International Arbitration Moot competition this year was in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the stunning Facultad de Derecho at the Universidad de Buenos Aries. Four students from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law (“SCOL”) competed in this event as one team.
The FDI Moot competition was created in 2008 with a specific focus on investor-state disputes that “involve not only vast sums, but also a panoply of rights, duties, and shifting objectives at the juncture of national and international law and policy.” The FDI Moot is an arbitration for resolving a fictional international investor-state dispute. It is a complicated and intricate field of law—I assure you. Investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS”) is fast becoming a widely-known mechanism (even in the public sphere, in light of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) for resolving disputes between a foreign investor and a sovereign state. In fact, ISDS is the theme of the upcoming Denver Journal of International Law and Policy volume 45.2.
The SCOL team began its journey in adjunct Professor Todd Well’s International Investment Arbitration course in Spring 2016. While waiting for the official problem to be released, the class scratched the surface of this interesting world of ISDS arising from Bilateral and Multilateral Treaty breaches. In the months following the official release of the problem in March 2016, the SCOL team was selected, and the real challenge began. First, the team had to organize research, topics, ideas, and concepts and create two Memorandums—one for the Claimant and one for the Respondent—in the fictional dispute between Peter Explosive, an arms producer, and the Republic of Oceania. The Memorandums were 16,000 words maximum, which we quickly learned required serious condensing skills. Then, the oral advocacy work began until October 27th, when the team left the U.S.A. to compete.
Three of the four SCOL team members attended the FDI Pre-Moot competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil from October 28th-30th, and all four attended the FDI competition in Buenos Aries, Argentina from November 3rd-6th. The Pre-Moot competition was held at the beautiful Headquarter Office of TozziniFreire Advogados. We were welcomed with both hospitality from TozziniFreire’s brilliant attorneys, and fierce competition from the learned opposing counsel. We met people from all over the world who participated in the Pre-Moot. We saw our new friends again in Buenos Aries for the Global Orals. In BA, 57 teams from 31 countries participated in this international competition. The Paris Bar School won at UBA, and Harvard Law School came in 2nd. The Universitas Gadjah Mada, Faculty of Law was the highest ranked (written & oral) team. As for team SCOL, we exceeded our expectations, surpassed personal goals, and met established practitioners and scholars in this growing field.
This short article cannot encompass every emotion, triumph, breakdown, and vast improvement that each team member felt at different points of this six-month-long effort. But, I can tell you this experience, which tested the limits of each team-member’s sanity, was well-worth it.