Article and photos contributed by Adriene Leong, Special Officer to the President, Bar Council Secretariat
On 23 Aug 2019, the launch ceremony of Malaysia's national rounds of the 14th LAWASIA International Moot Competition ("Competition") was held at the 85–year old Bangunan Sulaiman –– which was previously home to the Federal Territory Syariah Court –– and now home to the Asian International Arbitration Centre ("AIAC") (formerly known as the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration) in Kuala Lumpur.
The opening remarks of the event were delivered by Raphael Tay, Chair of the LAWASIA Moot Standing Committee. He spoke eloquently of the strong ties of friendship that bind the Members of the Malaysian Bar, and encouraged the participants of the Competition to begin forging those ties from now even as students. He also called for fair play in the Competition, quoting Colonel Timothy Thomas Cyril "Tim" Collins, OBE, "...if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory."
Next, Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor, President of the Malaysian Bar delivered his "Special Remarks" where he revealed nuggets of information on the history of the Malaysian Bar's longstanding involvement in the Competition. The Malaysian Bar has been a committed supporter of the Competition since its inception and was the donor of the Competition's very first trophy, aptly named the LAWASIA–Malaysian Bar Challenge Trophy. Although the original trophy has since been retired and replaced with a new one, LAWASIA made the decision to retain the original name in recognition of the long history of the friendship and camaraderie that bind LAWASIA and Malaysian Bar.
Vinayak Pradhan, Director of AIAC delivered his special remarks where he expressed the AIAC's great pleasure to support the Competition, and to serve as a platform for fresh legal talent to hone their skills in arbitration and dispute resolution.
Following that, a recorded video of Christopher Leong, President of LAWASIA, who was unfortunately unable to be present, was played on the screen. He introduced LAWASIA and the Competition, and expounded on how the Competition provides participating students the opportunity to deal with the confluence of domestic and international law issues. He urged them to make the most of the opportunity to gain from the experience.
Lai Mun Onn, Moot Administrator then delivered a presentation on the rules of the Competition.
And finally, Nivedita Venkatraman, Senior International Case Counsel of AIAC delivered a presentation of the moot problem, which was inspired by the infamous Banksy painting shredding scenario. The moot problem is focused around two procedural and two substantive issues. However, to provide a more realistic arbitration experience, rather than explicitly setting out the facts of the problem, the approach of setting out the facts and the matters in dispute through exchanges of documents and correspondence was adopted.
This year's Competition saw a total of 24 teams from 10 law schools participating in the preliminary rounds.
On 25 Aug 2019, the Competition reached its conclusion. This year's National Champion and the 1st runner up of the 14th LAWASIA International Moot Competition are Team University of Malaya (Esther Hong, Zafirah Jaya and Nevyn Vinosh) and Team Advance Tertiary College (Kim Sung, Jessica Marshall and Chong Wai Zhe), respectively. Congratulations to both these teams, which will advance to the international rounds taking place in Hong Kong SAR from 4 to 8 Oct 2019.