Moot court team competes to solve renewable energy investment case
On 29 October – 1 November 2015, a team of students will take part in a moot court at King’s College in London. They will compete with over 50 other teams from all over the world to solve a case on foreign investments in solar energy in Europe – and their work may impact the solution of ongoing real-life investment disputes.
The Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration Moot is a specialized simulation of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). It takes place at different locations each year and attracts teams globally.
The FDI Moot has its roots in real-life cases
This year’s case is based on disputes which have evolved after the onset of the financial crisis in Europe. European states, which had widely attracted photovoltaic (PV) solar investments as part of their green policies, had to cancel their support.
The promises of high tariff rates for electricity, given to investors in PV solar technologies, were broken and led to an influx of investment cases.
This year’s team is composed of four students:
- Liubov Barabanskaia (Russia)
- Monika Bernard (Poland)
- Anja Stensrum Elverum (Norway)
- Rinat Ziyodullaev (Uzbekistan)
- Postdoctoral Fellow Daniel Behn and research assistant Maksim Usynin will accompany the team to London.
Maksim Usynin about the FDI Moot
What is your role in the event?
Usynin: I suggested the idea of participation in investment moot court to senior academics more than a year ago. The idea was supported by Prof. Ole Kristian Fauchald and Dr. Malcolm Langford, and later Dr. Daniel Behn accepted the proposal to form and coach the team. My personal role is assistance in the coaching process.
As a young coach I am motivated by two factors.
First, I want to try myself in teaching. This is my 6th moot court competition, so I can share my experience with newcomers and try to explain the scholarly problem in my own language.
Second, I want to spread and maintain mooting in Norway. Norwegian mooting traditions are very conservative: there are several national procedural competitions for law students, but Norwegian representation in international moot court competitions remains rather humble. I want to change this situation: Norway has an enormous potential of well-trained students with good command of English and French, who are willing to dedicate their time on strengthening advocacy skills and building professional network. It is worth to note that the University of Oslo supports extra-curriculum activities, especially if they are connected with academic programme.
How have the preparations been going?
Usynin: We started in the beginning of February by making a public call for applications. The advertisements were posted on the PluriCourts website, distributed among master students and glued to the University walls. That helped: we gathered an excellent team. A month ago we submitted the memorials for Claimant and Respondent and now are on the final line towards World Oral Rounds. The preparations now are quite intense and involve recording, guest judging and practice rounds with other teams.
What are your ambitions for London?
Usynin: Needless to say, it is hard to succeed in international mooting. This year there will be around 50-60 teams participating in the World Oral Rounds, and many of them have extensive mooting traditions. But we also strive high, and put all efforts to make notable achievements. In any event, the purpose of mooting is to feel interested in the process and try oneself in the real-life legal dispute.
Which impact will the investment arbitration moot have?
Usynin: Nobody knows how to settle these cases, they are still pending before the investment tribunals. I believe that the research conducted by moot court participants will contribute to the efficient settlement of these dispute in actual arbitral practice. After all, many of moot court judges are practicing lawyers, arbitrators and scholars of investment law, who may adopt attractive lines of reasoning, firstly introduced by students.