It took us half a year of serious preparation to get this far but it was totally worth it. After being 5th in the general rounds of the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court (“FIAC”) and joint 3rd overall, the team of the Paneuropean University was also similarly successful on the FDI Moot. We have reached the quarterfinals and finished 7th overall from around 65 participating teams. Perhaps the most notable fact is that none of these competitions has ever had a participant from Slovakia. That is quite surprising when considering the amount of investment arbitrations against Slovakia these days (the most recent to my knowledge is a notice of dispute submitted by Adams & Co alleging violations of due process by Slovakian courts- link). Naturally, FDI Moot and FIAC are the two largest competing investment arbitration competitions in the world.
In any case, the education of investment arbitration and foreign investment in Slovakian law faculties is almost non-existent and academics in that field are also hard to come by. That is again surprising in light of the amount of bilateral investment treaties (“BITs”) entered into by Slovakia. One could go into the discussion about Slovakia being mostly an importing state, which was “tricked” into signing BITs under the impression that otherwise no foreign investment would ever come. I do not however want to at this point.
Coming back to the FDI Moot itself, we first participated in the Warsaw pre-moot, which was a great experience. Moreover, you hear all these great stories about Krakow but Warsaw was really wonderful. 10 teams from Europe exchanged first pleading on the case and we absorbed as much as possible. After Warsaw, we visited our Czech brothers in Prague, which was no less of an experience. In all honesty I can add that the Paneuropean University was declared the winner of this pre-moot.
We had quite an international team because I am currently staying in Vienna, Anna is in France- Nice, Mark is in Helsinki and only Martin stayed in Slovakia. We have all met in London and flied to Los Angeles because the main competition took place in Malibu at the Pepperdine University.
We have faced four universities in the preliminary rounds: Universitas Pelita Harapan from Indonesia, Moscow State University, Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paolo and Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University from Poland. After successfully beating three of them, we were seeded to our most difficult round of 16 against the University of Ottawa from Canada. The Paneuropean University seems to have a tough luck in the last 16 seeds because in FIAC it was the Queen Mary University of London, which has the most coveted arbitration program in Europe. Anyway, the opponent from Canada was well prepared and the oralists had their pleadings well rehearsed, we still managed to win. The quarterfinal round against the Jagiellonian University from Krakow turned out to be most upsetting. Only 1 point decided that they went to the semifinals instead of us. After this round, we have finally faced the University of Harvard for the 5th place overall.
I wish we had an even better result, it would have been fantastic. Nevertheless, it has to be considered that we were the first ever to go to the FDI Moot from Slovakia with no experience with the competition, almost no outside support and still managed to put up a fight against the best of the best.
Finally, nothing would have been possible without the generosity of the Rector’s and the Dean’s office. Because of their investment is us, students, the Paneuropean University is able to get ahead of other law schools in Slovakia.
written by Peter Plachy