NUS Law Champions in International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot Competition

Clockwise from left: Cassandra, Syazana, Jia En, Dinesh, Mr Teo and Hannah

NUS Law defeated 21 teams from around the world to win the 16th International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot 2015. The competition, organised by Murdoch University and hosted by RMIT University, was held from 3 to 7 July 2015 in Melbourne.

The NUS Law team comprising Ms Cassandra Chow Qilei, a fourth-year student, and recent graduates Ms Syazana Yahya, Mr Tay Jia En, Mr Dinesh Sabapathy and Ms Hannah Tay Shi-en, beat the team from University of Hong Kong to clinch the champion title. NUS Law also won the Oral Rounds of the competition.

The team defeated Erasmus University, Universidad Carlos III De Madrid, Gujarat National Law University and University of Sydney en route to the finals. In the finals, the NUS Law team, acting for the claimant in a charter party dispute, successfully argued that the opposing party (who were the charterers) were fraudulent in the management of a vessel after it was attacked by pirates and damaged in the process.

This is the fourth time NUS Law has won the competition. The Faculty’s team won the competition when it was first initiated in 2000, and subsequently in 2001 and 2010. NUS teams were runners-up in 2004 and 2013.

Professor Stephen Girvin from NUS Law, who coordinated the team’s participation, said, "We are all very proud of our team who have worked exceptionally hard to emerge as the champions in this year's Moot. This is the NUS team's fourth win in this Mooting competition and it is very heartening to see how well the team, who are all multiple alumni of the Faculty's suite of maritime law courses, responded to the unique challenge of the moot. Many congratulations to them!"

Rajah & Tann LLP Partner Mr Ian Teo Kewei, who coached the team and was also a member of the NUS Law team which won the competition in 2001, said, "The NUS team this year is exceptionally strong - they had an unbeaten run from the start to the end of the competition. The team had very good grounding in maritime and shipping law and also very strong support from local shipping practitioners and NUS Law faculty members who took time off to critique and guide the team. These distinctive advantages contributed significantly to the victory. I hope that next year's team will be even stronger."

Team Captain Tay Jia En and his team started preparing for the moot competition in December last year. After their examinations in May, they hit the books again, spending almost every day at the law library researching in preparation for the competition. In the week preceding the competition, their practice sessions with their coach and faculty professors intensified to about one session every day.

Jia En remarked, "The two biggest takeaways from the competition were the experience of preparing for the case itself, and the chance to learn from dedicated professors and practitioners who made available their time and experience to coach us. We did not have any prior mooting experience and the team faced a steep learning curve. Nonetheless, our coach and professors believed in us and gave us the advice and support we needed. Our success is a reflection of their excellent tutelage. The team hopes our moot win will inspire other potential moot teams and students aspiring to pursue a career in shipping law to give it their best shot.”