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Novice Arbitration Moot Competition (NAMCO) 2019

Updated: Sep 30, 2019

The Novice Arbitration Moot Competition (NAMCO) 2019 was held on the 19th to 21st of July 2019 at the Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC). Two groups represented Taylor’s Law School in this competitive novice arbitration moot. The first group (Team 907) consisted of Tiffany Chin Yee Shuen, Kamal, Lim Mei Lin, Gabrielle Lim Wai Yee, and Vahan Zalian. The second group (Team 908) consisted of Daniel Law Yue Zheng, Nakeeran Kumar Kanthavel, Radhika, Ong Hui Heng, and Tay Khye Vern.

We began training during the semester break in February. Alongside our moot coach, Mr Harcharan Singh, we had meetings every Wednesday from the months of February till May to prepare for the competition. Our team leaders, Tiffany and Daniel planned the teams’ preparation timeline in order for us to meet every deadline as well as balance a full-semesters’ worth of work in Law School.

We began our preparation process with the drafting of the written submission and then proceeded to prepare our rebuttals after we received the opponent team’s submission. We were given a long period to prepare and we took this time to plan and strategize our submissions with Mr Harcharan’s guidance. During discussions, there were many points raised as well as many points to be taken back for further research and understanding. One of the most important lessons I learned throughout the preparation process is that sometimes, the answer or solution is just right in front of your eyes and the only thing one would need to do is take a step back and think objectively. In addition to that, we were also taught to look beyond the law and apply logic to solve the issues given. The week before the competition was definitely the most nerve-wracking as most of the members were left with one week to prepare for the competition after the study breaks and exams. Despite that, we were still incredibly grateful to have Amitaesh, our fellow senior in the law school to help us improve our presentation style and the ways to answer questions.

On 19 July 2019, the welcome reception and briefing by the NAMCO committee was held in the AIAC. We arrived at AIAC in our cultural costumes alongside other students from various institutions, both local as well as international. During the reception, we were fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to meet and mingle with students from Bangladesh, India, and Indonesia. The next day was the competition day which consisted of two general rounds. The first round was definitely more challenging as it was my first time competing in an arbitration moot. Through the various rounds, we were posed various questions by the arbitrators, some of which we were prepared for and some of which took us completely by surprise. Despite the challenge, we performed to the best of our abilities, but are also aware of the fact that there is still room for improvement. In my opinion, as first-timers, I believe that my teammates and I did an excellent job.

My co-counsel and I were granted an ex parte hearing as we were unable to attend our first general round due to the fact that final exams were held on the same day. However, I did manage to speak in my second round to be completely honest, I was indeed very nervous. I was incredibly grateful to have the support of both my counsels in answering the arbitrators’ questions. I learned a lot from the experience, especially as after every moot and deliberation, the arbitrators would provide us with general feedback. They were very friendly and supportive throughout the moot and gave suggestions as to how we could improve our mooting abilities.

Team 908 made it to the quarterfinals, and it was an extremely tight race. Both teams were very calm and knew their facts very well. They were also able to answer the arbitrators’ questions very quickly and accurately. Unfortunately, we were unable to advance to the semi-finals, but we attended the last day of the competition to learn from the finalists. We were able to pick up pointers from the advice given by the arbitrators to the mooters. Firstly, that submissions should not be presented as though one was doing public speaking but rather as though carrying out a conversation with the panel. Secondly, and most importantly, we should accept the questions professionally and answer the judges with confidence.

Personally, it was an incredibly rewarding experience and it felt good to have taken the first step into the mooting world. The decision to participate required a great amount of courage and I am incredibly proud of us for having the guts to take the leap. Mooting has transformed us into better students and prepared us for our careers as future lawyers. We learned to be more consistent with our work and have definitely grown as a team. Will I be participating more in the future? Definitely. One of the most important things I’ve learned, is that no matter how experienced one is, nerves will always be there, it is how we deal with it that matters. I hope that my decision to start early and taking this step to participate in NAMCO will effectively prepare me for my future.

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