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Competing in the 2022 Pax Moot Court

Date:02 June 2022
Ciaran Dorrian (image courtesy of C. Dorrian)
Ciaran Dorrian (image courtesy of C. Dorrian)

On May 3rd 2022, the University of Groningen Pax Moot Court team arrived in Paris in preparation for an enthralling experience that all thoroughly enjoyed. The Pax Moot Court is a competitive and international competition that fosters legal ambition and promotes the active participation of law students in an immersive and challenging environment.

The PAX Moot is the only major international moot competition with a focus on private international law (also known as conflict of laws). In this year's edition, a most riveting issue of how a "consumer" is defined under traditional EU regulations and under the freshly minted Singapore Convention on Mediation (potentially resulting in different legal protections under the different legal regimes) occupied the imaginations of students, practitioners, and academics alike. Intellectually stimulating and creative arguments were expressed by many of the participating teams and the exchange was a great exercise in illuminating legal minds across the globe!

The case concerned a man, Mr Smith, who had taken out loans against his property for the redevelopment of the property into sustainable properties to be used by NGOs. Mr Smith planned to make no profit over the investment. However, when Covid-19 struck Mr Smith began to struggle to make repayments and suddenly a European Payment Order was issued against Mr Smith. After months of trying to reach him, the order was issued through Facebook and Mr. Smith began to seek mediation. When mediation was successful and a settlement agreement was concluded, Mr. Smith was to ensure funding by a certain date. However, Mr Smith failed to secure funding at the deadline and therefore, the EPO was resumed.

Considering this summary of the facts, it can be seen that there were many issues that needed to be solved in the case. Firstly, it must have been argued as to whether Mr. Smith was a consumer. Secondly, there were issues as to the validity of the EPO and the settlement agreement between the parties. Finally, there were numerous issues with regard to the jurisdiction of the court, and therefore there were many different avenues to attack the case.

Beginning on the morning of May 4th, 2022, the Groningen team faced a strong team from the University of Sofia. Groningen team members Sofie Solberg Rustad and Justin Qiu were arguing on behalf of the defendant. They produced an impressive and positive start to the team’s participation in the Moot Court competition with a thorough submission and handled the rebuttal and judges' questions with great poise.

After a short lunch break, Laida Renteria Biurrun and I faced the University of Milan in our second pleadings. Our opponents proved to be difficult opposition and certainly provided a difficult challenge for our team. Our submissions went well and we handled the questions of the judges amicably. In addition, I believe we produced a compelling rebuttal which certainly strengthened our case for the judges. This concluded a successful first day for our team and was a great introduction to the competition.

The next day, Laida and I came up against the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan team and again were arguing on behalf of the claimant. Supported by our teammates Sofie and Justin and bolstered by our experience from the previous day, the team produced an improved performance that we can be proud of. After this, Sofie and Justin faced a formidable opponent in the University of Antwerp and presented a compelling case on behalf of the defendant. The progress between the first and second day was clearly visible and the synergy between the team had massively improved. This was once again an excellent display by our team.

Unfortunately, the team was unable to secure a place in the semi-finals as the competition was extremely fierce and the teams that went through deserved their place in the semi-finals. Despite this, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to watch the final at the International Commercial Court of Paris. It was a fruitful experience that all members of the team enjoyed. While preparing for the moot court I was able to improve skills such as public speaking, and argumentation and I improved my research abilities. Notwithstanding this, it was amazing to take part in this wonderful experience while visiting the beautiful city of Paris. The team was able to attend multiple landmarks and enjoy beautiful Parisian restaurants and cafés.

- Ciaran Dorrian, Ireland,  International Commercial Law LLM  student


Interested in more information about our International Commercial Law programme? You can ask questions directly to the Faculty by filling out our  information request form.