Another Strong Showing by STL in CIETAC Cup in Beijing
Building on Peking University School of Transnational Law’s (STL) tradition of exceptional performance in the CIETAC Cup, the school’s 2016 Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot team placed third out of forty-six teams from across China. From November 21–25, four students, Cai Jinlan ‘18, Guo Xin ‘18, Qin Shijie ‘19, and Zhou Rongyu ‘19, competed for the Cup in Beijing. A former best oralist and CIETAC champion, Yu Yadian ‘17, assisted as a student coach.
During the preliminary round, each of the students argued twice as pairs before panels of three arbitrators on behalf of either Claimant or Respondent. Based on their cumulative scores, the students advanced from the preliminary round in second place. The team went on to prevail over Shantou University in the quarterfinals, in which Zhou Rongyu won a best oralist award. STL then lost to Tsinghua University, the ultimate champions, in the semifinals.
The CIETAC Cup is sponsored by the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC). Conducted entirely in English, the CIETAC Cup uses the same case problem as the international Vis competition, focusing on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, and simulates actual arbitral hearings.
Since it first entered the CIETAC Cup in 2013, STL has earned a reputation as a top competitor. Indeed, STL’s Vis team won the Championship in 2013 and 2014. Like this year, the 2015 team placed third. STL’s track record of success has made it a popular team to watch. As Cai Jinlan noted, “When numerous people were flooding into the room in order to watch our school, I was so proud of STL.”
For prior two-time CIETAC competitor Guo Xin, the process was about more than simply winning or losing; it was about personal development. Performing better than she ever had before, she remarked, “The best part of this is you finally know how much you’ve learned in STL.” Zhou Rongyu echoed her sentiment: “When I started preparing for Vis, I didn’t even know what arbitration was. I feel really grateful when I look back at the things I’ve learned, and I really appreciate the support from my coach and school.”
Zhou Rongyu was not alone in praising the school’s unending support of its moot court teams, which includes both financial support and close cooperation with faculty to refine essential knowledge and skills. To this end, each of the students had long lists of STL professors to thank for training and helping to work through tough substantive issues. More than just a group effort, the team’s success truly relies upon a school-wide culture that emphasizes teamwork and intellectual curiosity.
In the words of Qin Shijie, “When my partner and I were completely composed navigating through myriads of hard questions bombarded from renowned scholars, arbitrators, and ex-world champions of Vis, I suddenly realized how well STL’s everyday rigorous training had prepared us for the competition, and how far I had come since I entered this innovative law school. Studying at STL is one of the very best choices I have made in my life. The experience with CIETAC Cup is just one more proof to this conviction.”
Recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award, Yu Yadian applauded the students for their ability to balance the competition and STL’s heavy workload. Remembering her own participation in Vis, she also spoke of the competition’s intangible rewards: “This experience is much more than a few rounds of oral arguments and a mountain of documents, and I am sure it will benefit them in a profound way, as it has benefitted me.”
As faculty coach to the team, it is worth stressing that, in addition to displaying superior intellect and skill in the rounds, the students conducted themselves as noteworthy outside the moot court room. With both students from other schools and arbitrators, they were respectful, cordial, and warm–in short, all that I have come to expect from STL. It has been wonderful to coach such dedicated and inspiring students, and I often feel I ended up learning more from them than they did from me. I will never forget the memories we shared together, from staying up late in the hotel to learn the results from the preliminaries, to hearing the decision in the semifinals. The students are what make teaching at STL a magical experience.
Although certainly deserved, there is little time for rest. The students already have their sights set on April when they will travel to Vienna to compete in the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Cai Jinlan is looking forward to “another amazing journey to Vienna,” and Zhou Rongyu anticipates even more fun in Europe. Speaking for the team, Qin Shijie summed up the entire experience as an “unparalleled adventure” that the team takes together.
That adventure has just begun.
(Special thanks to C.V. Starr Lecturer and Vis Team Coach John Aycock for authoring this news.)