A Unique Combination of Legal History and Cutting Edge Modern International Law
The Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court is the oldest and most prestigious student competition in the area of investment protection law. Its focus is on the oral presentation of legal arguments before an arbitral tribunal composed of specialists in the field during a one week final event which takes place in early or mid-March of every year.
The Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court is unique in that it combines the law of investment protection, one of the most modern and fastest developing areas of international law, with the history of international law and of international trade.
Each year, the case study provided to students is based on real-life, historic events, ranging from a banking case of the 4th century BC (Isokrates, Pasion) to medieval papers from the Geniza of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat (Old Cairo), a dispute between the Russian Empire and the USA in the 19th century (the Dahlberg case), and the British Banknotes Case of the 1920ies. The students argue the cases under modern international law, but usually historical decrees (such as the so-called Cleopatra papyrus), contemporaneous national law and legal opinions (such as legal opinions found in the Geniza documents relating to the marital status of Ashu Berakha) or treaties (such as the 1832 Treaty between Russia and the USA) play an important role.
We follow this approach (staying as true to historic facts as possible) because we want to do more than just help the participating students to acquire solid knowledge of international law and improve their advocacy skills: We also want to “infect” students with a passion for legal history and an understanding of the sophistication of law and economy throughout history.
Support by the International Community
Each year eminent practitioners of international law, including ICJ judges, preside over the final of the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court. Moreover, renowned scholars and practitioners dedicate their own time and resources to come to Frankfurt and support the moot court by sitting as arbitrators. All arbitrators are volunteers who are true experts in the field and have proven their expertise in international law, and in particular investment law, in real life. By applying this strict standard for arbitrators, we strive to ensure that the students are provided with as realistic an impression of investment protection law as possible. Our high standards also help us ensure that the performance of the students is judged both fairly and professionally.
We also receive invaluable support from law firms and institutions from the international arbitration community in the organisation of practice pre-moots and mandatory national arounds which are offered around the globe free of charge to the students. Participation in pre-moots is voluntary and provides students with a chance to test and improve their arguments and advocacy skills prior to the main event in Frankfurt. In addition, mandatory national rounds take place in countries where more than six teams have registered.
The final event in Frankfurt is also surrounded by a number conferences which are often organised in cooperation with arbitral institutions, such as the SCC. Both the conferences and the moot itself regularly receive media attention. Altogether, the moot and the surrounding conferences (about three each year in Frankfurt), constitute one of the largest events in the field of international law in Germany and certainly the largest event in the area of international arbitration in Germany.
The general rounds take place at the premises of the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The final is hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Due to the particular circumstances of 2021 and 2022, the Moot took place in a virtual format.
The Frankfurt am Main Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the DIS are joint venture partners of the Frankfurt International Arbitration Center (FIAC). The FIAC makes available hearing rooms and other services for arbitration and mediation (ad hoc and institutional). Under a cooperation agreement between ICSID and DIS under Article 63 lit. a) of the Washington Convention, ICSID conciliation and arbitration proceedings may be held at the FIAC, if the parties so agree.
The Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court is co-organised by the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.