Mooting across the miles

As the world becomes more interconnected through the rapid development of technology, law schools are capitalizing on it for the benefit of their students.

For this year’s annual Vis Friendly Canadian Round, where students participate in a friendly moot to prepare for the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot held in Vienna and Hong Kong every year, students from four Canadian law schools connected with law students from other parts of the world via videoconference.

Teams from Osgoode Hall Law School, the University of Ottawa, the Université de Montréal, and Queen’s University linked up with teams in Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, and the United States.

“Videoconferencing is something that we have been hoping to do for some time,” said Osgoode law professor and team coach Janet Walker, who is also an organizer of the event. “We are thrilled this year to have state-of-the-art technology to provide high-quality video links for the rounds. With the facilities at the newly established Helliwell Centre at Osgoode Hall Law School and at ASAP Reporting Services in downtown Toronto, we have been able to include teams who might not be able to attend pre-moots.”

However, there were some minor technical difficulties at times.

“Our connections to the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport in Egypt and the University of Georgia in the U.S. were crystal clear, as long as we remembered to jiggle the mouse from time to time to keep the system on active mode,” said Queen’s assistant law professor and team coach Joshua Karton.

Also, the connection failed at one point during the Bahrain/Montréal round so they improvised by using teleconference and Skype on an iPad to continue the round.

Not only were students able to practise their mooting skills, but they also received feedback from arbitration practitioners including Barry Leon, a partner at Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall LLP and head of its international arbitration group.

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