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ABOUT RGNUL

The Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNUL), Punjab was established by the State Legislature of Punjab by passing the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law Punjab Act, 2006 (Punjab Act No. 12 of 2006). The Act incorporated a University of Law of national stature in Punjab, to fulfill the need for a Centre of Excellence in legal education in the modern era of globalization and liberalization. The University acquired approval of the Bar Council of India (BCI) in July 2006

ABOUT SURANA & SURANA INTERNATIONAL ATTORNEYS

A consensus pick for legal assistance in Southern India, Surana & Surana-International Attorneys, Chennai, is considered one of the top Indian law firms. The firm has a huge track record of offering timely, pragmatic, cost-effective solutions with diverse contributions. With such widespread recognition and a commitment to academic quality, collaboration with your company will open up new opportunities for aspirational law students all across the country.

RGNUL would like to express our appreciation to Surana & Surana International Attorneys for their continued collaboration with us. Having begun in 2018, a modest endeavor is moving forward with zest and intensity into another year of success. The Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, in collaboration with Surana & Surana-International Attorneys, Chennai, is pleased to announce the 5th Surana & Surana and RGNUL International Law Moot Court Competition, slated to begin on 29th September 2022.

Surana & Surana International Attorneys, through this moot hopes to push international law forward and improve upon an already successful venture, continuing with its legacy of producing the unequaled in law and legal education – and in the same vein, the competition will take place.

IMPORTANT DATES

  • Release of Moot Proposition: 4th August 2022

  • Commencement of Registration: 4th August 2022

  • Late Date for Registration: 31st August 2022

  • Last Date to seek clarification: 1st September 2022

  • Release of Clarifications: 4th September 2022

  • Last Date for Submission of Soft Copy: 22nd September 2022 (5:00 pm)

  • Last Date for Submission of Hard Copy: 27th September 2022

  • Draw of Lots & Memorial Exchange: 29th September 2022

  • Prelims & Quarter-Finals: 30th September 2022

  • Semi-Finals, Finals & Valedictory Ceremony: 1st October 2022

AWARDS

Winning Team: Rs 21000

Runners-up Team: Rs 15000

Best Memorial: Rs 8000

Best Student Advocate: Rs 8000

CONTACT DETAILS

Coordinator

DR. GEETIKA WALIA, Associate Professor of Law, RGNUL Punjab (91 9646023882)

Student Convenors

Mr. Divyank Tikkha (91 7706036179)

Ms. Tanisha Singh (91 94133 09117)

Case BriefsSupreme Court

   

Supreme Court: While reversing the impugned decision of the Bombay High Court, the Division Bench of Hemant Gupta* and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ., held that unless there is forfeiture of performance guarantee and opportunity of being heard is granted to an entrepreneur, the Industrial Entrepreneur Memorandum cannot be deemed to be de-recognised automatically, only on account of lapsing of time.

Background

The respondent-Loknete Marutrao Ghule Patil Dnyaneshwar Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd. had approached the Bombay High Court seeking directions that the Industrial Entrepreneur Memorandum (IEM) dated 08-09-2010, which allowed the appellant to set up a Sugar factory, be de-recognised in view of the provisions of Clause 6C of the Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966 on the following grounds:

(i) The time limit for a new factory to be set up was 2 years and to commence production was within 4 years (2+4), but the appellant failed to take any effective steps to set up and commence production within such time frame contemplated by the Control Order.

(ii) On 03-12-2011, the State of Maharashtra had issued a circular under Clause 6A of the Control Order that no sugar factory shall be set up within the radius of 25 kms of any existing sugar factory or any other new factory substituting the provisions that the minimum distance was for 15 kms existing on the date of grant of IEM, therefore, the proposed sugar factory did not meet the norm of 25 km.

(iii) The grant of extensions to set up the sugar factory issued on 14-11-2018 followed by another extension of time and to change the location on 17-10-2019 by the Central Government was contrary to the Control Order, 1966.

Noticeably, the appellant had applied for IEM on 08-09-2010, the same was acknowledged by the Central Government after the Commissioner of Sugar, Maharashtra issued a certificate regarding aerial distance between the existing sugar factory and the nearby proposed sugar factory was more than 15 km, as required at that time.

First Round of Litigation

The IEM was challenged before the Bombay High Court on the ground that the proposed factory did not meet the required aerial distance from the existing sugar factory and that it violated the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 as the location fell within the radius of 500 meters from the bank of a river. Therefore, it was falling within no development zone.

By the decision dated 27-01-2014, the High Court directed that if the respondent (appellant herein) wants to carry out construction and development, it will have to comply with all laws including the anti-pollution, environmental protection, and ecology. However, with regard to the issue of aerial distance, the High Court held that since when the IEM was approved the required distance was 15 km, IEM was in compliance with the requirement in Clause 6-A of the Control Order, 1966. The Court added that the issue of the aerial distance certificate cannot be reopened at the instance of the petitioner or any other party again.

Second Round of Litigation and the Impugned Decision

In order to comply with the directions of the High Court, the appellant applied for extension of time and change of location due to earlier location being no development zone. On 14-11-2018, the Central Government allowed the extension after considering the comments of the State Government. Further extensions were also granted in the similar background on 15-11-2018, 12-04-2019 and 09-05-2019. Finally, the request for extension of time and for change of location was accepted on 17-10-2019 and one-year further extension was granted up to 07-09-2020 to implement the IEM dated 08-09-2010.

The second round of litigation began when the respondent approached the High Court against the aforesaid orders of the of the State Government and the Central Government granting extension of time and change of location.

The High Court, in the impugned decision, observed that the minimum aerial distance between the new sugar factory and the existing sugar factory is 25 kms as per the amended Control Order dated 03-12-2011. Therefore, the High Court held that cluster of sugar factories near each other would not be a viable proposition and may affect the survival of the existing sugar factory and allowing a new sugar factory to be established on the terms of the IEM issued in the year 2010, would render the existing sugar factory unviable and both sugar factories may not be in a position to survive.

It was further held that the respondent-appellant had not taken any effective steps within the period of two years from the date of acknowledgment of IEM, he had neither purchased the land for four years in the name of the factory nor placed orders for plant and machinery and even the civil work had not commenced. The High Court found that the IEM stood derecognized on 08-09-2014 as the four years for commercial production had lapsed and the maximum one-year extension also lapsed on 08-09-2015.

Issues before the Court

In the above backdrop, the appellant initiated the instant appeal and the followings issues arrived before the Court:

(i) Whether in the absence of any interim order in the first round of litigation, the State/ Central Government was justified in excluding the period during which the petition was pending while granting extension of IEM.

(ii) Whether the amended Control Order dated 03-12-2011 would be applicable when the High Court in the earlier writ petition has held that the issue of Aerial Distance Certificate cannot be reopened?

(iii) Whether the IEM stands lapsed on the failure on the part of the appellant to set up the sugar factory and start production within the time specified in Clause 6C or such lapsing would be only after an order in terms of Clause 6D of the Control Order is passed?

Validity of Multiple Extensions of Time

Relying on the latin maxim ‘Actus Curiae Neminem Gravabit', the Court stated that the act of the Court will not prejudice anyone. The Court noted that during the whole litigation history, the appellant was at the receiving end of the writ petitions, therefore the period spent in such lis cannot be used against him. The Court said,

“Though there was no interim order passed in the writ petitions, such petitions created a cloud on the right of the appellant to set up a sugar factory at the location earmarked and to commence commercial production.”

Noting that the writ petitions remained pending for a period of four years, the Court held that the period spent in defending such writ petitions was validly taken into consideration by the State/Central Government to grant extension of time limit fixed in the Control Order.

Further, the language of the Control Order had been amended time and again with a view to enable the competent authority to grant extension of time due to “unforeseen circumstances”. The Control Order amended on 12-08-2018 contemplates more than one unforeseen circumstance beyond the control of the person concerned including where the delay is due to any court case relating to land use, environment or “such other reason”.

The Court noted that the Central government had granted the extension on 14-11-2018 when the amended Control Order was operative and effective. Another argument by the respondent was that the IEM was extended several times, i.e., on 15-11-2018, 12-04-2019, 09-05-2019, 17-10-2019 and 18-02-2021 and such frequent extensions show that the extensions were given at the asking without satisfying the pre-requisite conditions to seek extensions.

Rejecting the aforementioned contention, the Court held that the extensions were given when the second round of litigation was pending before the High Court due to which the appellant was not able to take effective steps. Hence, the decision of the competent authority to grant extensions of time was a proper exercise of the powers and could not be said to be illegal, irrational or suffering from procedural impropriety.

Aerial Distance Certificate

Regarding the contention that the proposed factory did not meet the amended norm requiring that no sugar factory shall be set up within a radius of 25 kms of any existing sugar factory or any other new factory, the Court observed that the appellant had applied for IEM on 08-09-2010 (when the existing provision required the said distance to be 15 km) the same was acknowledged by the State Government and the Central Government and an aerial distance certificate was also issued in favour of the appellant.

On the basis of the aerial distance certificate, the IEM was acknowledged after the appellant furnished a bank guarantee of the sum of Rs. 1 crore which was to remain in force up to 04-04-2016. Further, the scheme of the Control Order shows that once IEM is granted, the timeline has to be determined keeping in view the date of the issuance of the IEM. Therefore, the Court held that the subsequent amendment in the Control Order would not have any application towards the IEM already issued.

Whether the IEM stood de-recognised?

The respondent argued that Clause 6C of the Control Order contemplates that if the steps are not taken within the timeline stipulated under the IEM, it shall stand de-recognized and the performance guarantee shall be forfeited. However, the Court noted,

“In the present case, the appellant was not the writ petitioner before the High Court. Rather, he was defending the permissions granted by the State and the Central Government. It was not prudent for the appellant to proceed with the heavy investment required for installation of a sugar factory and then to suffer the consequences depending on the outcome of the litigation.”

The Court also observed,

“The litigation initiated in public interest or by the rival sugar factory cannot be used against the appellant when the writ petition was disposed of with the condition that there cannot be any development within 500 meters of river which necessitated the change of location.”

Further, the Court held that the performance guarantee is liable to forfeiture after giving the concerned person a reasonable opportunity of being heard and the use of the word ‘shall' in Clause 6C does not make the provision mandatory but enables the competent authority to forfeit bank guarantee on failure to comply with the timeline. The Court observed that there are twin conditions to be fulfilled before formally de-recognizing the IEM:

(i) failure to set up plant and to commence production and then

(ii) the forfeiture of the performance guarantee.

The Court held that second will not arise unless the first is satisfied and the second step cannot be undertaken, without complying with an opportunity of personal hearing in terms of Clause 6D of the Control Order.

Thus, unless the necessary consequences of derecognition of IEM are undertaken, there is no automatic lapsing of IEM. The appellant had furnished a performance guarantee of Rs. 1 crore, however, no steps were taken either by the State Government or by the Central Government to forfeit such performance guarantee inasmuch as not even a show cause notice was issued. Hence, the Court observed that a conclusion cannot be drawn that the IEM is deemed to be lapsed automatically only on account of lapsing of time.

Need for Healthy Competition

Considering that sugarcane area restrictions (zoning) are removed in Maharashtra since the year 1997, and the sugarcane growers are at liberty to provide sugarcane to any sugar mills as per their choice, the Court opined that the appellant cannot be denied the benefit of setting up of a sugar mill only on the basis of resistance from the competitor, who had only financial interest in mind. The Court expressed,

“In case of a competition, it is the consumer (farmer) who is the beneficiary. In the present case, the farmers are not getting the advantage of competition which could fetch them timely payment and better services.”

Conclusion

Consequently, the Court held that the order of the High Court allowing the writ petition filed by the competitors was liable to be set aside and in the absence of any finding by the High Court to the effect that the decision of the Central Government was arbitrary, irrational or unjust, the High Court had gravely erred in taking into consideration that appellant was remiss in not implementing IEM during the pendency of the writ petitions in the first round of litigation.

Additionally, the Court directed that the period spent in the second round of litigation shall also be excluded while determining the period during which the plant had to be set up and to commence commercial production.

[Swami Samarth Sugars & Agro Industries Ltd. v. Loknete Marutrao Ghule Patil Dnyaneshwar Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 871, decided on 13-07-2022]


*Judgment by: Justice Hemant Gupta

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Chidambaram, Senior Advocate, for the Respondent.


*Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Competition Commission of India (CCI): In a significant decision, the coram of Ashok Kumar Gupta (Chairperson), Sangeeta Verma and Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi (Members), in view of the negative impact of exclusive and restrictive agreements between online ticketing platforms and single screen cinemas/ multiplexes on the relevant market; held that there is a prima facie case owing to the conduct of ‘BookMyShow that requires investigation by the Director General (DG) to determine whether their conduct of has resulted in contravention of the provisions of S. 4 (abuse of dominant position) of Competition Act, 2002. 

 

Background of the case: Showtyme an online movie ticketing portal was launched in November 2021 in order to provide an alternative option to the cine-goers in Hyderabad (later across India) to book their movie tickets online, by paying a convenience fee of ₹11/- per ticket; which is stated to be 40-50% less than the existing players. On the other hand, BookMyShow, a popular online movie ticketing portal, holds at least 90% market share in movie ticket booking industry in India.  

 

The informant in the instant matter, is a social activist and the founder of Showtyme, who alleged that BookMyShow has formed an explicit cartel with multiplexes and theatres and pursuant to which, it has signed exclusive agreements with them in order to thwart any opportunity to other platforms to sell tickets of cinema, even at 50 % lesser convenience fee than that of BookMyShow, thereby controlling the movie ticketing industry and imposing barriers for new entrants like Showtyme 

 

Contentions 

  • It was submitted the informant that BookMyShow has abused its dominant position under S. 4 of the Competition Act, by imposing unfair and discriminatory conditions on the theatres/ multiplexes i.e., making them sign contracts for sale of 100% tickets on its platform.  
  • It was further submitted that BookMyShow is entitled to charge the consumers convenience fee for online booking of tickets; however, entering into agreements with theatres/multiplexes to not sell the movie tickets online to anyone else; giving lakhs and crores of rupees on loans at zero interest to the Opposing Parties; and selling more than 50% tickets of movies online; such acts leaves no scope for the new entrants to enter into the market and thereby creating a hostile effect upon fair competition. 
  • The informant also put forth before the Commission that he submitted various complaints to licensing authorities and other authorities in the State of Telangana and has also given a representation to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Government of India.     

 

Per contra, BookMyShow argued that-  

  • It is an intermediary engaged in the activity of facilitating online booking of tickets for movies, plays, concerts, sports events across India through its mobile application and website and follows a standard form of contract and commercial terms. The duration of the agreements with each cinema/ theatre/ multiplex is negotiated as per their requirement. It is entitled to charge convenience fee from customers for facilitation of booking of tickets through its mobile app and website.  
  • BookMyShow also contended that the informant approached the Commission with “unclean hands” as he filed the information even before the launch of Showtyme’s website. As per BookMyShow, the website should have been in operation for at least a certain amount of time to experience the competition in the market from various players. Thus, the question of causing harm to Showtyme does not arise.  
  • Regarding the allegations of exclusivity, it was stated that BookMyShow is a relatively new entrant in the relevant market; therefore, in order to penetrate this market BookMyShow had to tie-up with certain cinema theatres on an exclusive basis. This exclusivity also benefits the cinema theatres that have tied up with BookMyShow as otherwise they do not have the resources to make the tickets available online through their own website or other modes. It was further contended that allegations of creating entry barrier are misleading as the market is still evolving and volatile in nature. It was stated that various participants like PayTM have entered the market and established a significant presence. 
  • It was stated that BookMyShow does not provide any monetary assistance in return for exclusivity. In certain cases, it only provides some security deposit to adjust the ticket price and revenue share to the cinema theatres.  

 

Observations: Perusing the facts and the allegations levied upon BookMyShow, the Commission duly noted that the grievance of the informant centered around the agreement and arrangement between BookMyShow and certain theatres/ multiplexes in the city of Hyderabad, thereby allegedly preventing him from offering the services of his website Showtyme for online booking of tickets.   

  • While determining “relevant market” for the instant matter, the Commission noted that relevant product market comprises of all those products or services which are regarded as interchangeable or substitutable by consumers, by reason of their characteristic, price and intended use. Therefore, the most important parameter is as to how the consumers or users of products or services perceive substitutability or interchangeability amongst provision of services. The Commission noted that the services of online platforms like BookMyShow are available pan-India and the platform faces similar competitive constraints and homogeneous conditions of competition throughout India. Thus, the relevant market in the present case was that of ‘market for online intermediation services for booking of movie tickets in India’.
  • The Commission pointed out that BookMyShow had not provided data on its market share for the online intermediation services for booking of movie tickets in India rather they provided the number of tickets sold, indicating total yearly footfalls and not value of tickets in INR crores, which is apparently untenable and inconsistent for computation of market share of BookMyShow even in the wider market proposed by it. The Commission stated that it is not inclined to rely upon such figures.  
  • Regarding BookMyShow’s dominant position, the Commission observed that market share is one of the many factors that are considered in the assessment of dominance. In the instant case, market share of the platform needs to be seen in conjunction with its reach, scale and the network effects that work in its favour, leading to huge consumer footfalls thereby making presence on the platform critical for visibility and competitive ability of cinema theatres. The ability of BookMyShow to enter into exclusive agreements corroborates its position of strength and the various provisions in its agreements with cinema theatres/multiplexes, indicate its superior bargaining power in deciding contractual terms. These factors, taken together, prima facie appear to substantiate the dominant position enjoyed by BookMyShow in the relevant market of online intermediation services for booking of movie tickets in India. 
  • The Commission also pointed out that BookMyShow’s exclusive agreements have the potential to reduce competition in the relevant market, as they may make rival intermediary platforms or new entrants incur significant additional cost to induce the cinemas to give up their exclusive contracts with the leading platform with market power. The exclusive and restrictive agreements with single screen cinemas and multiplexes, in conjunction, prima facie appear to have the potential of denying market access to competing platforms and potential entrants. The cinema theatres as well as the cinegoers alike are restricted in their choice of alternate ticketing platforms, during the working of the contracts that BookMyShow has with large number of theatres/ multiplex chains”.  
  • Upon perusal of the exclusive agreements with single screen cinemas, the Commission also pointed out that BookMyShow has reserved the right of data collection, ownership and storage; without the cinemas having any right, title, interest to such data; even though in the agreements there is provision for sharing of data. 

 

Decision: With the aforementioned observations, the Commission was of the view that exclusivity relating to data ownership can increase the bargaining power of the platform over time. Data further strengthens and entrenches the network effects limiting inter platform competition. In a dynamic sense, this would imply that BookMyShow would earn monopoly rents, going forward. The aspect of exclusive ownership of and access to data by a dominant intermediary, merits investigation”. 

The Commission was of the view that there exists a prima facie case regarding BookMyShow’s conduct which should be investigated by the Director General under the provisions of S. 26(1) of the Competition Act. The Commission also directed the DG to complete the investigation and submit the investigation report within a period of 60 days from the receipt of this order.    

[Vijay Gopal v. Big Tree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine CCI 36, decided on 16-06-2022]  


*Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Competition Commission of India (CCI): The Coram of Ashok Kumar Gupta (Chairperson) and Sangeeta Verma and Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi (Members) held that, in the case of both Swiggy and Zomato, prima facie there existed a conflict of interest situation, warranting detailed scrutiny into its impact on the overall competition between the RPs vis-à-vis the private brands/entities which the platforms may be incentivised to favour.

An information had been filed under Section 19(1)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002 by National Restaurant Association of India (Informant/NRAI) against Zomato and Swiggy (OPs) alleging that the practices of Zomato and Swiggy were in violation of Section 3(4) read with Section 3(1) of the Act.

Factual Background


NRAI submitted that the OPs provide restaurant partners (RPs) a listing service and allow consumers to interact with them through their platforms.

Further, NRAI stated that it is only because of the network effects of the OPs that, despite their anti-competitive practices, RPs are still dependent on the platforms to earn revenues, which shows the absence of countervailing buyer power with the RPs.

Bundling of Food Delivery

It was alleged that the stated delivery services are not optional for the RPs who wish to avail listing service and they are forced to take the delivery service of the platform.

Adding to the above, NRAI stated that the bundling of delivery services is an unfair imposition.

It is violative of Section 19(3) of the CCI Act.

Data Masking

RPs receive no data or information about the end-consumers to whom the food is delivered, which is a practice of OPs.

Due to the above-stated, RPs are not aware of where the foods is being delivered, to whom and in how much time, which creates a lack of transparency.

Vertical Integration 

NRAI has further alleged that OPs are engaging in a dual role on their platform where they list their own cloud kitchen brands exclusively on their platform, akin to private labels, thereby creating an inherent conflict of interest in the platform’s role as an intermediary on one hand and as a participant on the other hand.

One-Sided Contracts

It was alleged that Zomato and Swiggy enter into one-sided contracts with RPs owing to their superior bargaining power.

Further, NRAI has alleged that Zomato and Swiggy often compel the RPs to commit exclusively to be listed on their respective platform through incentives, lower commissions etc. to maintain their competitive edge in the market, at the exclusion of other new entrants. This creates/strengthens barriers for a new entrant into the market which would find itself deprived of essential and interdependent inputs like RPs and customers which would be locked-in to the incumbents’ platforms.

Infact, price parity terms have also been imposed on the RPs through their respective contracts.

NRAI has also alleged that the commissions which are charged by the OPs from RPs are unviable and are to the tune of 20% to 30%, which are extremely exorbitant for the RPs.

In view of the above allegations, NRAI sought an inquiry under the Act against the OPs.

Analysis and Decision


Coram stated that it emerged from the claims made by Zomato and Swiggy that bundling delivery with ordering enables them to control the time taken for delivery and qualitatively standardise such delivery for the end consumer.

In Commission’s opinion, bundling did not seem to raise any competition concern as such. Even otherwise, the Informant was not able to substantiate its claim that bundling of delivery with ordering, in itself, led to cause AAEC either between restaurants or between hyperlocal delivery service providers.

Moving further, the Commission was of the view that prima facie a conflict-of-interest situation arose in the instant case, both with regard to Swiggy and Zomato, because of the presence of commercial interest in the downstream market, which may come in the way of them acting as neutral platforms.

Coram added that the above-said required detailed examination and further, remarked that,

Given that platforms are vertically related with the RPs, including their private brands and those operating through their respective cloud kitchens, such arrangements whereby preferential treatment is accorded to some entities can be looked as a potential contravention of Section 3(4) read with Section 3(1) of the Act. 

Both Swiggy and Zomato operate as major intermediary platforms in the food delivery space, underscoring their market power and ability to adversely as well as appreciably affect the level playing field. 

Commission also observed that a holistic examination is required to ascertain whether the intermediaries prevent competition on merits, creating an ecosystem likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition.

Further, the price parity clause may discourage the platforms from competing on a commission basis as RPs need to maintain similar prices on all platforms and provide similar prices to the customers, regardless of the commission rates paid to the platform. Hence, the said arrangements can cause AAEC on the market, therefore investigation is made out.

In Commission’s opinion, the allegations pertaining to delayed payment cycle, imposition of one-sided clauses in the agreement, charging of exorbitant commission etc., they did not seem to have an effect on competition.

Concluding the matter, Commission held that prima facie with respect to the conduct of Zomato and Swiggy, investigation by the DG to determine whether the conduct of the OPs have resulted in contravention of the provisions of Section 3(1) of the Act read with Section 3(4) was required.[National Restaurant Association of India v. Zomato India Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine CCI 22, decided on 4-4-2022]

Law School NewsLive Blogging

The National Law University Odisha is pleased to welcome you to the live blogging of the Virtual Oral Rounds of 9th Bose & Mitra & Co. International Maritime Arbitration Moot (IMAM) 2022. This event is organized in collaboration with our Academic Partners, The Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law, Swansea University; our Global Partners Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration; our Knowledge Partner Informa Law; our Resource Partner The Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
We will make it a point that you feel as involved as ever during this journey where talented mooters will go through the emotions of ecstasy, heartbreak, delight, shock, surprise all within 4 days. For keeping tabs on regular updates regarding IMAM, we encourage you to follow us on our Social Media Handles Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for more regular insights. We wish the participating teams the very best of luck! May the odds be ever in your favor!

DAY 1 | 24TH MARCH 2022
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS
SESSION 1

VCR-1: 922 vs 925


13:31: All set in the courtroom, teams are ready to begin with their oral rounds. It’s Showtime!
13:33: First counsel from the claimants’ side lays down the structure of her arguments in a very graceful manner which exudes confidence.
13:35: The first counsel completed her first contention and the panel seems to be impressed with the contentions raised by the first counsel. promises to be a good start!
13:37: With the permission of the panel, the first counsel move to her second submission. There seems to be no incoming questions for now and the atmosphere is overall agreeable for the time being.
13:39: Counsel relies on Hague rule and other protocols in contentions. This immediately attracted the attention of panel who, in return, directed their attention to the respective documents.
13:43: Judge seems not very satisfied with the cited case by the counsel and asked for any recent judgement. Counsel seems to be fazed out with the lack of any recent judgement at hand. Subsequently, the Judge gives her the liberty to return back to the already present case
13:46:The first counsel picks up her pace again and has started putting her arguments in a confident and assured manner.
13:47: Aaaannnnddd That’s time up! Time is up for the counsel but hang on, judges being considerate allows her to submit her argument quickly.
13:48: The first counsel concludes on a positive note, with only a few questions from the judges. The floor is now taken by the second counsel. Handing over the baton now! Looks interesting
13:49: The second counsel started by pressing on the factual grounds of the dispute and drawing attention of the judges towards the facts of the case
13:52: The Judge questioned the judgements cited by the counsel to which judge asked the counsels to deliberate over any recent judgement because counsels are relying only on the old judgements. In response, the counsels contended that they are relying only over landmark judgements which hold great presence in the current legal issues.
13:55: By looking at the presented arguments, counsel have framed their case by relying over Hague Rules and on the old judgements
13:57: The second counsel is successfully maintaining her calm and answering every question in a calm composed manner
13:59: The judges seem impressed now with the answers given by the counsel and acknowledged the presented grounds.
14:01: With only 5 secs left, counsel moves to the prayer and rounds off their submissions.
14:02: Applicants from team 922 end on a satisfactory note, with minimal grilling. The floor is now open for the respondents from team 925.
VCR-1
14:05: The first counsel of the respondents took the floor and he seeks permission to start with his case. With the permission of judges, he has started directly with the issues
14:07: This is promising! The first counsel laid down his grounds in a very graceful manner and he seems assured with what he is presenting
14:09: The panel seems to have no objection to the presented arguments put forth by the counsel which mark the already maintained positive and upbeat atmosphere in the courtroom.
14:10: Aspiring Counsels, take note! The counsel directly pointed out the loophole in the claimants’ arguments while presenting his grounds. This highlights the assertive as well as the active mindful presence of the counsel.
14:13: Claimants seem to not be giving attention to the respondents’ arguments and were engaging within themselves only which can not be acknowledged as good argumentation etiquettes.
14:15: “Are the Hague Rules binding on the party?” the judge asked to which the counsel said no and further stated his reasoning for the same.
14:16: Counsel is trying to justify his answer but somehow he seems to get flustered in his reasoning. Judges seems to not be satisfied and stated that he is getting confused in the established facts.
14:17: Time is running out but still the first counsel is trying to justify his reasoning. This marks the not-so-attentive approach of the counsel by not keeping check on time.
Geez, it’s getting stressful out there. Time is up but counsel is going on with his arguments without asking for prior permission, and on objection put forth by the judge he asked for 30 more seconds to finish with his arguments.
14:20: The first counsel concludes on a positive note, with only a few questions from the judges. The floor is now open for the second speaker to take the mantle from here.
14:21: The second counsel started with an informal note by saying “Hey” and asking for more time because her laptop’s battery is dying.
14:23: The second counsel is presenting her grounds in a prepared and composed manner, but it seems that she is constantly reading from her notes. Also, consistent usage of hand actions could cost her points.
14:28: The first judge asked the question regarding ‘due diligence’ aspect in the case which claimants have presented in an assertive manner. The second counsel puts forth her answer with the ground that facts are silent, to which judge again questioned her on the same point. but counsel fails to satisfy the judge to which judge replied “not convinced”.
14:31: While the second counsel is going with her issues, it seems that a monotonous atmosphere is developing in the courtroom with no questions and appreciative expressions from the judges.
14:35: With no questions put forth by the judges, the counsel seeks permission to proceed with the prayer.
13:36: The second counsel successfully completed her arguments.
13:37: Following the intensive deliberations and counter-questioning, we will now proceed to the session of rebuttal and sur-rebuttal.
13:38: Claimants pointed out the same due diligence ground which respondents failed to prove in their arguments when asked by one of the judges. This indicated active listening on the part of claimants.
13:42: After the completion of sur-rebuttals, one of the judges asked the second counsel from respondents’ side to repeat her sur-rebuttal because she went too fast in making her arguments.
13:44: Oral rounds have successfully concluded. Judges have joined the Judges room to discuss the marking scheme and feedback to be given to both the teams.

VCR-2: 924 vs 910


13:42: Despite the slight delay owing to inevitable technical issues, the preliminary round 1 has started with a blast. The first speaker from the applicant’s side has started with a blast and is confidently striding through the statement of facts .

13:45: The first speaker is advocating in favour of the application of SCMA Rules and is emphasizing on the appointment of 3 arbitrators.

13:46: There’s a mix up! The speaker has quickly been stopped by one of the judges asking for more clarification on the last paragraph of the first issue, however it turns out that there was some mix up in the memo pages of the judges and the speaker has thus moved on to the next issue.

13:50: The Counsel i.e. the first speaker is now arguing on the part of negligence and has even cited an authority to substantiate his argument. The judges have not interrupted him yet and it seems that they are probably satisfied with the carefully drafted argument.

13:52: There has been a bit of confusion among the judges as it turns out that the pages of the memo sent across to them are different from the ones cited and vehemently advocated by the first speaker. Oh, this is not turning out well for now.

13:53: The second counsel on the part of the applicants has taken the floor now and is taking the judges through the third and fourth issues at hand.

13:54: The second counsel appears quite confident with the arguments and authorities she has meticulously prepared..

13:56: Well, the technical issues have crept in and the second counsel had to be interrupted by one of the judges due to audio lag.

13:58: The counsel has been shooting authorities left and right in an attempt to substantiate her arguments on the compensation amount which is to be bagged from the respondents.

14:01: The judges have been patiently heeding to all arguments of the counsel and asking for clarifications wherever required.

14:05: It’s a wrap for applicants’ arguments and the first counsel of respondents has now taken the floor.

14:07: The Counsel has now progressed to the Hague Visby Rules and is fiercely advocating for the damages and compensation over which the applicants have the right to claim. This has been followed by the prayer on part of the applicants.

14:09: The Counsel appears to be quite zealous and is citing various sections and articles of the SCMA and IAA Rules to corroborate the two-fold argument he is submitting.

14:12: The Counsel from the respondent’s side has made it abundantly clear that the Hague Rules may not be applicable and the same is not mandatory under English law either.

VCR-2

14:15: The Counsel has now cleverly picked at the intention of the parties for the application of HVR and even pointed towards the deletion of a clause in the Bill of Lading which points towards the fact that the HVR should not be made applicable.

14:18: The second Counsel from the Respondents’ side has now taken charge of the floor and with a very positive attitude is now proceeding with her arguments.

14:20: The judges have been giving out positive vibes too as they can be seen nodding their heads in approval of the arguments. The Counsel is submitting arguments on the Bill of lading in an attempt to save the actions of the defendants.

14:25: The Counsel is now steadily trotting through her 4th issue arguing on the liability and the amount of compensation along with the citation of a prominent case. There topples the internet connection of the second counsel leading to mis-communication. The judges have however sought for more clarification on the parts which were inaudible and hence unclear.

14:30: One of the judges has pointed out on excessive reliance over the addendum by the Counsel and is now bombarding the counsel with relevant questions pertaining to the addendum

14:33: The Counsel has now concluded her arguments with the prayer and has now stepped down.

14:34: Here come the tricky couple of minutes reserved for rebuttal. The Counsel of the Applicant is plucking parts of arguments of the defendant and firing questions on the ambiguous parts.

14:37: The Counsel of the Respondent doesn’t look nervous or shaken by any of the questions posed in the rebuttal rounds and is seen confidently batting away all the queries citing authorities.

14:42: The judges have now been given a separate room for deliberation on the arguments and performance of the counsels. With that, this highly enriching and wonderful session has reached its end and we hope that we get to witness many more such amazing discussions and sessions.

 


VCR-3: 906 vs 921


13:36: As the Arbitrator begins questioning of the counsel, the counsel handles the intensively long question in a poised manner with composure.

13:38:Another lengthy question has been thrown in the way of the counsel and yet they seem unfazed about it. Good going for them!

13:41: Arbitrator asks a pertinent question regarding the tests laid down to decide whether a rule can have mandatory or non-mandatory compliance.

13:42: After the counsel proceeded with the answer, the arbitrator seems satisfied with the response.

13:46: The arbitrators grant the counsel an extension of 1.30 minutes to conclude their last argument. Time is running out but the quality shouldn’t!

13:49: The counsel for the respondents begins with their first submission. Let’s see how they go now!

13:54: Uh-oh. The counsel does not seem to understand the questions laid by the arbitrator leading to an unsatisfied response

13:55: The arbitrator has been leading the counsel with many questions and the counsel seems baffled by the questions raised. This is not confidence-inspiring.

VCR-3

13:59: The counsel seems to recover from their dazed state and gives an elaborate response, the arbitrators too seem satisfied by the answers. Crisis averted, it seems!

14:07: Now, the second counsel for the claimant begins with their submissions.

14:12: And network problems strike! The counsel seems to be facing network issues but the arbitrators patiently repeat their queries.

14:16: The arbitrators now seem a little frustrated due to the counsel’s inability to give a satisfactory answer in response to the judges’ questions.

14:20: The arbitrator asks whether Respondent 1 can recover damages from the Respondent 2?

14:23: The arbitrators appear to be not satisfied with the response and they move ahead with more questions on deciding liability in the given issue.

14:32: The second counsel for the respondent begins with their final submissions

14:54: The counsel for claimants begin with their rebuttals now

14:57: The counsel for respondents begins with their sur-rebuttals now

14:59: The oral rounds have concluded.


VCR-4: 905 vs 904


13:32: Finally the wait is over and the oral rounds have begun in VCR-4.

13:33: The first speaker from Team 905 appears to be a little flustered with the crisp instructions of the Bench. However, she composed herself and she handled the situation wonderfully and continued with her submissions, without wasting a moment.

13:38: The first speaker continues with her submission. On being directed a question at, from the Bench, the Speaker alludes at certain provisions, which she goes on to elaborate upon.

13:39: The Bench is slowly coming into its element after a few minutes of the commencement of the session. The next thing they hurl at the Speaker is about case laws in the memorial, which the Speaker, with some hesitation, admits have not been mentioned in the Memorial at all. However, she quickly covers the faux pas up with a very similar case law. The Bench looks satisfied for the time being.

13:42: Speaker 1 concluded her first submission. The Bench had reserved a particularly tricky question for her to attack her with. The Speaker however, confidently stands by her submissions and continues defending her stand.

13:44: The Bench and the Speaker continue with a back and forth round of questions and answers. The Speaker continues to maintain her composure with utmost perfection! This is high quality stuff!

13:46: Speaker 1 proceeds to her second submission, this time with a surge of confidence after having been able to defend her stand in the first submission to the best of her abilities.

13:49: The Bench accuses the Speaker of not having mentioned the requisite information in their contract with the respondents. The Speaker, not surprisingly, directed the Bench yet again to where the relevant information has been mentioned.

13:50: But the Bench is still not satisfied. Asking the Speaker to read the provision again, repeats their question to her.

13:51: The Speaker tries to convince the Bench for 5 more extra minutes. The Bench agrees to grant her 3 more minutes, which can be increased later on.

13:53: The Speaker and the Bench are engaging on a particularly contentious point again. But the Speaker’s time is running out and the Bench continues to be dissatisfied, throwing one after another complicated question and clarification at her!

13:57: Oooopss, looks like someone is not getting along. The Bench is referring to the documents. They direct the Speaker to refer to a particular section. Both the Bench and the Speaker continues having disagreements on.

14:00: The Bench reads out the provision they are referring to, for clarity in the Courtroom.

14:01: The first speaker is confident that the Hague Rules will apply in the present situation and further consolidates her position with an English case law, where the obiter was the relevant portion.

14:03: The Bench directs the Speaker to conclude her arguments despite her pleading for a few more minutes. But the Speaker has been taking the Courtroom by storm for practically half an hour and that, as the Bench provided, was too much for one Speaker! But it has to be said that those 30+ minutes were extremely engaging and interesting!

14:04: Speaker 2 takes the floor now.

14:06: The Speaker reiterates what her co-counsel had already mentioned- the Hague Visby rules would apply. But the Bench continues having issues with their stand and directs them to specific provisions.

14:07: Oh my! The Bench declared that the Hague-Visby rules would not apply because it has not been mentioned anywhere in the problem!

14:10: The Speaker continues with her submissions with grace and confidence, refusing to be swayed by the mind boggling questions which the Bench continue to throw at her! This is brilliant stuff!

14:11: “Sub-bailment is independent from the Privity of Contract…” the Speaker continues with her well drafted arguments with flair and complete assurance in her team’s understanding of the problem and accordingly their structured arguments.

14:14: The Bench is now throwing controversial questions at the Speaker! Will the opinion of the jurist be binding on the arbitrator? What will the Speaker say?

14:15: The Speaker managed to answer the question, however, it still remains to be seen whether this Honourable Bench would be pleased with her explanation.

14:17: The Bench explains to the Speaker how the Duty of Care changes as per the situation in question. The Speaker answers that, but the Bench mentions that it is the Shipper’s duty to inform the Carrier of the value of the goods and is not the responsibility of the latter to ascertain the same.

14:19: The Speaker then pleads for 5 more minutes to clarify their position on the damages front.

14:20: The Bench however feels that this team has already taken up a lot of time! But it still relented and granted the Speaker 5 more minutes.

VCR-4

14:21: Kudos to the Speaker! The Speaker rushes to defend her stand and makes the most of the blessed 5 minutes! Despite her desperation to convince the Bench, the Speaker never once loses her composure or her cool and continues defending her stand to the best of her abilities.

14:24: The Bench directs the Speaker to conclude and get to the Prayer. The Speaker did try to snag a few extra minutes again, but this time the Bench did not budge at all!

14:26: First Speaker of 904 takes the floor now representing the Respondents.

14:29: The Bench has allowed the Speaker to keep her camera off so that they can hear her better, and indeed, at the moment the connection is stable, the Speaker has completely captivated the Courtroom with her submissions!

14:32: The Bench has a host of new and equally mind boggling questions for this Speaker as well!

14:35: The Bench demands a clarification on the number of arbitrators the parties have decided upon, since that has not been mentioned anywhere! Have the parties decided upon three arbitrators, just like they have decided upon the seat of arbitration as Singapore?

14:37: To alleviate the concerns of the Bench, the speaker tries to draw their attention to a particular case law, which the Bench flatly refused to accept, stating it as irrelevant. The Speaker however tried to convince the Bench of its persuasive value, but the Bench still does not look too convinced by that.

14:42: This Bench is extremely hard to convince! The Speaker is trying her level best to do it, but it still remains to be seen if her efforts are actually coming to her aid!

14:42: The Bench continues grilling the Speaker!

14:43: The Bench offers to make the argument for the Speaker since they are running out of time!

14:44: The Bench clarifies that the Speaker has not given them any precedence of relevance and they only make the argument which the Speaker was supposed to make.

14:46: The Bench criticizes the Speaker for arguing on points which completely contradict the Problem given to the teams.

14:48: The Speaker is granted the permission to complete her arguments entirely because of her unstable connection, after which the bench would direct questions at her.

14:54: But the Speaker is facing internet issues again and is unable to answer. The Bench agrees on directing the questions at the second speaker itself.

14:55: As a result, the second speaker takes the floor.

14:56: As promised by the Bench, they have started directing all their questions for this team to this Speaker within a minute of his taking the podium!

14:57: “Can you be discharged from the Duty of Care?” The Bench has hurled this particularly confounding question the second time in this session!

15:01: “Wasn’t it your responsibility to have a vessel that is sea-worthy?” The Bench continues with their confusing and possibly ‘difficult to answer’ questions at the Speaker!

15:04: The Speaker, with absolute confidence, argues that the liability to have a vessel that is sea-worthy is not vested in his team!

15:08: The Speaker continues with his submissions and substantiates his arguments with case laws. However, it seems the aggravating internet issues, which plagued his co-counsel throughout her submissions, are catching up with him!

15:09: Having been directed by the Bench to turn off his camera for better connectivity, the Counsel in a very self-assured manner continues defending his stand since he has a stable internet connection now.

15:11: The Speaker continues with his submissions and has the complete attention of the Bench who listen to him with rapt attention, looking for any loopholes in his arguments! From the looks of it, they do not seem to have been able to find any in 2 whole minutes and counting, which in itself is an achievement!

15:13: The Bench has formulated a question based on the new landmark judgement which was brought up by the Speaker and the bench demanded the obiter to be shared with the Courtroom.

15:15: The Bench has completed their question and the Speaker is back to defending his stand!

15:19: Looks like the Bench has been able to spot a chink in the Speaker’s armour and now they are definitely not going to let go of that easily! The back to back questions are clearly putting the Speaker under a lot of pressure.

15:21: The submissions are finally done and now it is time for the rebuttals!

15:21: The Speaker, in the same breath, dealt with the rebuttals he had up his sleeve.

15:24: Speaker 1 from team 905 is back! With her air of calm she is back to handling her rebuttals.

15:28: Now its time for the sur-rebuttals! Speaker 2 from 904 is back to address these on behalf of his team.

15:31: The rounds have concluded.


VCR-5: 919 vs 915


13:29: And it’s a go-ahead and the claimant start their preliminary round with grace and ultimate confidence with the statement of facts.

13:33: Some questions posed by the bench on the SCMA rules were confidently answered by the speaker. Let’s hope this continues!

13:36: The streak of confidence seems to have to come to an end, the judge and the speaker have different interpretations of the provisions in question!

13:38: The incessant grilling has visibly thrown off the speaker, but the show must go on!

13:42: The bench continues to grill the speaker with long questions on the first contract and the liability of the claimant

13:45: With an extension of time, the judges continue grilling the claimant on the operation of the Hague rules and the gap in the contract by the claimants

13:48: The claimant contends that the Hague Rules will take precedence over the liability clause that exists in the contract between the parties. The bench seems unsatisfied and ask for authorities for the same to be submitted.

13:54: The second speaker takes the floor now, trying to start on a fresh page with the judges. It’ll be interesting to see if they can turn it around!

13:59: The claimant elaborately submits that there need not exist a separate exclusive contract between the bailee and sub-bailee. They also refer to the submissions of the first speaker with regards to the Hague Rules.

14:03: The judges seem to be impressed with the speaker’s calm demeanor while dealing with repeated questions regarding the cases cited in their memorial

14:07: The bench is having a tough time navigating the extensive memorial of the claimant

14:10: Questions regarding the issue of liability of a third party in a contract have thrown off the speaker and the judges continue to grill the speaker on the same

14:20: The bench is frustrated with the claimant’s contentions not being quoted in their memorial. The speaker is warned and is asked to refer to the memorial for cases and rules mentioned in their submission.

14:22: The judges again have a different view of the Hague rules compared to the Claimants. The speaker is visibly affected but moves on with their submissions.

14:26: The claimant is questioned on the addendums. The bench opines that an unfair burden is being put on the respondents and that the addendums are being ignored.

14:29: The claimant tries to counter these accusations but fails to do so satisfactorily. The bench has also given up on trying to get a clear answer from the claimants.

VCR-5

14:35: The respondent now starts to address the bench, starting off on a confident note

14:38: The bench questions the respondent on the arbitration proceedings arising out of the bill of lading, In response, the counsel cites the addendum but fails to submit why the bill of lading should not be followed. The bench says that there is no dispute at all, and even the consolidated arbitration proceeding should follow the bill of lading which is binding on both parties.

14:43: The counsel is unsuccessful in countering the questions regarding the law under which the parties are governed.

14:48: The bench questions the counsel on why the other rules regarding the appointment of three arbitrators should be ignored and why only the International Arbitration Act should apply and only one arbitrator should be appointed.

14:52:The bench is still unsatisfied with the answers given by the counsel with regards to consolidation of proceedings. The judges strongly feel that the facts will not change and will not lead to the re-laying of conditions after the consolidation of proceedings.

14:56: The counsel submits that there is ambiguity between the parties on the number of arbitrators and that there is ambiguity on which version of the SCMA rules will apply.

15:00: The respondents failed to take note of the claimants’ mistakes and did not mention the authorities in their submissions.

15:03: The second counsel on behalf of the respondents has taken the floor.

15:07: Fortunately for the respondents, the counsel continues to refer to their memorial for the efficiency of the court and to the relief of the bench.

15:10: The bench seems to be regretting their earlier relief, as the counsel fails to point out specific areas where the cases in the submission are mentioned in the memorial

15:13: The bench seems to be regretting their earlier relief, as the counsel fails to point out specific areas where the cases in the submission are mentioned in the memorial

15:16: The exclusion of the Hague Rules is pointed out to the counsel and the bench continues to grill the counsel on the same.

15:23: Despite an extension of time, the counsel struggles with the specific questions posed about the judgements cited. The bench states that the counsel’s interpretation and the tribunal’s interpretation of the judgement is starkly different.

15:27: The bench playfully mentions that time limits exist because of benches like them and are amused at the amount of time that has passed.

15:30: Despite the light atmosphere in the minute prior, the bench quickly switched focus and grilled the claimants in the rebuttals.

15:30: After also covering the sur-rebuttals, the judges seem satisfied with the conclusion of the round.

 


VCR-6: 909 vs 927


13:43: After a minor delay, the oral rounds have commenced. Hopefully the delay doesn’t cause any jitters or nervousness for the participants!

13:46: The judges begins their questioning the counsel about the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.

13:51:The counsel is trying her best to put forth their best arguments and satisfy the judges of their legal backing.

13:53: The judge quizzes the counsel about the difference between procedural law and procedural rules. A series of questions follow and the counsel manages to answer them, but the judges do not seem very impressed.

13:56: Oh no! The judge’s questions appears to have thrown the counsel off-track.

13:58: The speaker has been given an extra minute to conclude her submissions as she has run out of her time. She briefly summarizes her arguments.

13:59: The second counsel begins and the judges listen intently.

14:02: One of the judges is not convinced since the counsel is unable to satisfactorily respond to the questions. The counsel is once again unable to back up their claims with any credible material and is only arguing on the basis of made-up facts. 

14:06: The judges listen with rapt attention, trying to gauge the counsel’s stance on the loopholes in their arguments. The counsel seems to be merely reading out her arguments as the response.

14:07: The counsel is asked to elaborate about the facts of the case that she is citing. She stammers her way through the facts, demonstrating how it is relevant with the concept of seaworthiness.

14:11: The researcher does not come to the aid of the counsel and the judges have to move on in spite of not having received a satisfactory answer.

14:13: The counsel falters and seems not very well-versed with the arguments. Time is also running out now!

14:22: The counsel for the applicant concludes after having received several extensions.

14:22: The counsel for the respondent begins. She seems confident and full of spirit! Let’s see if that continues!

14:24: Nerves getting to the counsel! The counsel is quizzed about the applicability of the UNCITRAL Model Law. The counsel falters and ends up reading the wrong section than the one that she originally intended to read. However, she recovered herself and continues gracefully afterwards.

14:28: The Honourable judges have been attempting to gain more clarity on the arguments presented by the counsel through a series of cross-questions.

VCR 6

14:29: The judges do not seem very impressed. The arguments presented by the counsel do not seem to have enough legal backing – the judges suggest the counsel to concede the issue and the counsel acts accordingly.

14:31: Would hate to be in that position but it looks like the counsel for the respondent is having a hard time being grilled by all the judges.

14:37: The first counsel stands down and the second counsel takes the floor. He lays down the structure of the issue he will be dealing with.

14:45: The counsel is asked to answer some hypothetical questions. The Speaker takes his time and calmly answers the questions. The judge interrupts him with additional inquiries. The speaker then fumbles for a while before responding in the hopes that the judge will be satisfied. The judges seem to have not bought the answers and they ask him to proceed further with his submissions.

14:48: The counsel has been able to present his arguments relatively smoothly so far with no interruptions by the judges.

14:51: Decision making takes centre-stage here! The counsel for the applicant begins with rebuttals for both the merits and the procedural issues. However, before she could begin, she is asked if it is good use of her time if she rebuts the jurisdiction again. She answers in negative and the judges think that she made the right decision!

14:58: The judges think that the respondents had a plan regarding what they wanted to argue. They had a better understanding of the law, however the claimant appeared very confused about the procedural rules.

15:03: The feedback session begins. The judges stressed on the importance of being well-versed with the procedural aspects of the case.

15:08: The judges expressed their dissatisfaction about the numerous extensions asked.


VCR-7: 911 vs 902


13:46: The Applicant takes the floor and begins with their submissions.

13:50: The Judges questioned the authority and rules under which the tribunal was constituted today. The inability of the counsel to understand the question correctly led to a heated discussion between the counsel and the judge. The judge further asked regarding the several means in which the arbitrator can be appointed. The counsel being unaware of the same exclaimed that their inability to answer is due to the fact that it is not in context of the question at hand. 

13:59: After a prolonged disagreement regarding the constitution of the tribunal today, and if the tribunal should continue to hear the proceedings. The Counsel is asked to proceed to the next limb of their submissions.

13:01: An extension of 3 minutes is granted to the applicant to finish their submissions regarding Issue 1 after the speaker for the respondent has concluded their arguments on the 1st Issue

14:03: The respondents now begin with their submissions.

14:07: Counsel for the respondents gracefully answers the questions which are posed by the judges regarding the rules of Arbitration to be followed in the case today, and the standing of the Tribunal today.

14:09: The Applicant is now called upon to make their submissions regarding the issue of whether Tawe is liable to Caspian?

14:13: The submissions being made by the Applicant are well backed up with cases, and the judges seem to not question the same yet.

14:15: An extension of 1 minute granted to complete submissions by the applicant’s first speaker. After this, the submissions will be concluded for the applicant by their second speaker

14:17: The second speaker takes the floor to address the issues of compensatory damage and the damages which both the defendants are entitled to.

VCR-7

14:23: While a technical glitch hinders proceedings for a short period of time, the counsel now sails smoothly through her submissions.

14:28: After smooth sailing on the first issue. The counsel now starts with the next issue.

14:33: The judges question the counsel on the basis of the factual statements admitting that the tribunal is not one which is lawfully constituted. However, the counsel agrees that having argued before the Tribunal, it is one which stands as per law. An interesting turn takes place here as this controversial statement made by the counsel implies that they concede on the question on the formation of the Tribunal

14:38: The counsel for the respondent begins with their submissions. The counsel is confident, and is gracefully making her submissions

14:44: Having completed submissions as Speaker 1 of the respondent, Speaker 2 takes the floor to further the case for their party.

14:46: The counsel continues to make his submissions stressing on the specific phrases mentioned in the factual background and how the interpretation of those will establish their case.

14:50: With the end of the submissions, it is now time for the much awaited round of rebuttals!

14:53: As the teams had exceeded their respective time limits, a minute was granted to each team for the rebuttals and sur-rebuttals

14:55: A further extension of 30 seconds to the applicant for rebuttals enabled them to end by making a strong case for their party.

14:57: The respondents, refuting the points furthered by the applicant in terms of appointment of arbitrators as well as the liability owed by the respondent, rest their case.

14:58: The rounds ended successfully with both the teams making their submissions with utmost brevity and confidence.

 


VCR 8: 916 vs 926


13:42: Session 1 starts with a bang as fresh faces greet us for this afternoon session. The Claimant’s first speaker presents their narrative.

13:45: First speaker of claimant engages on the issue regarding applicability of arbitral rules to this dispute. The Judge interjects the speaker to test their understanding of corresponding laws regarding formation of arbitration panels. But the Speaker calmly explains their understanding of the same.

13:49: The speaker loses their flow due to the interjection posed by the judge on Cruze’s liability. But the judge allows them to address the question at a later stage.

13:54:The Speaker expresses a clear disagreement with the Judge’s understanding of the case. However, their explanation satisfies the Judge and they seem convinced with the response of the counsel.

13:58: The Speaker expresses a clear disagreement with the Judge’s understanding of the case. However, their explanation satisfies the Judge and they seem convinced with the response of the counsel.

14:07: Speaker 2 from claimant side addresses many of the doubts posed by the judges in the first half. The judges seem impressed with the speaker’s submissions as they note down points furiously on paper.

14:09:The judge interjects with the exception of Act of God in Article 4 to ask if liability still arises then. The speaker concisely answers that there is an admitted act of negligence committed

14:21: The first speaker of respondents’ side argues that the composition of the arbitration panel may even include a sole arbitrator considering the seat of arbitration.

VCR-8

14:24: The first speaker of respondents’ side responds to claimants’ arguments that the Hague Rules don’t apply on the parties and systematically responds to each of the submissions made by the claimants.

14:25: The judge interjects the speaker by outlining their higher degree of liability to preserve the cargo. However, the respondent is unable to satisfactorily respond.
14:33: The judge asks a complicated question regarding the impact of port of shipment and arrival on the laws applicable which wavers the confidence of the speaker.
14:38: The speaker representing Tawe breaks down the issue in simpler terms to say that the existence of Caspian was not made aware to Tawe in any terms. Therefore, they cannot be held liable. The judge fascinated by this novel argument engages with the speaker on various aspects
14:45: The Speaker engages on the Himalayan rule to argue that they enjoy the said exemptions and thus restrict their liability. The Judge again enters into an argumentative conversation wishing to engage in a discussion of the contract
14:54: The Speaker goes on to argue the limitation of their liability according to the Hague Visby rules and the judge asks for clarifications on their case
14:56: The claimants present rebuttals and in a surprising turn of events, the judge interjects the speakers on their rebuttals.
14:58: The round concludes with an engaging bout of sur-rebuttals presented by the claimants.

DAY 1 | 24TH MARCH 2022
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS – SESSION 1 CONCLUDES!


DAY 1 | 24TH MARCH 2022
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS

SESSION 2


VCR-1: 913 vs 924


17:40: The Courtroom is set, and the teams are ready. Session 2 of the Preliminary Round has begun in full swing in the courtroom, with an unbridled enthusiasm.

17:41: The first counsel begins with a brief narration of the facts involved in the dispute.

17:43: After the narration of facts, the first counsel laid down the structure following which claimants would present their issues.

17:44: Counsel is presenting her arguments in a very assertive and yet, understanding manner. This is helping judges to grasp the presented arguments with ease.

17:51: First counsel is already done with her arguments with minimal grilling before the completion of time. Now, the second counsel has taken the baton from the first counsel.

17:52: The courtroom largely has a calm and positive atmosphere with an agreeable approach adopted by the judges towards the counsel’s arguments.

17:54: The second counsel is having an elegant bearing over his arguments but somehow it seems that he is narrating the grounds verbatim, as in reading it aloud from something

18:00: The second counsel moves to the prayer. Claimants managed to put forth their arguments in a composed and timely manner and left with a time of over 3 min

18:01: The claimants concluded on a positive note, with only a few questions from the judges. The floor is now taken by the respondents.

18:04: After narrating the facts, first counsel started with the submission of their jurisdiction towards this court. It seems that the respondents are careful of every minor detail with which they can grab bonus points.

VCR-1

18:06: The first counsel started his arguments by relying on the particular sections of the respective act which therein bought him a series of question from the one of the judges.

18:11: The counsel is presenting his arguments by wholly focusing on the sections and specifically attracting the judges’ attention on pages of their presented compendium. In return, judges are also responding to counsel’s request in an agreeable manner.

18:13: A successful example of interaction with the judges? The counsel concluded his arguments with an ease and asked for the permission of judges to hand over the podium to the second counsel. The first counsel sets an example of courtroom etiquettes by successfully interacting with the judges.

18:17: It can be presumed that judges are getting convinced with what is presented by the counsel as there were no incoming questions from judges.

18:18: Counsel is using an effective approach in her presentation by relating each particular cited clause or rule with the facts of the present case and thereby justifying what she is presenting.

18:19: Judges found the grounds used by second counsel contradictory with what was presented by the first counsel, and questioned on the same contradiction.

18:20: The counsel fortunately convinced the judge with her explanation and proceeded with her second submission with the permission of the panel

18:21: Difference in Approach! It seems that respondents have presented their whole case on clauses and rules already existing and with a few judicial precedents, that also in the latter part. In contrast, claimants had gracefully used their cited judgements while putting forth their arguments.

18:23: The counsel proceeded with her last submission by effectively using her allotted time.

18:26: The counsel concluded her deliberations in a productive and timely manner.

18:29: As the rebuttals began, claimants are back on track, brimming with new energy and enthusiasm as they prepare to submit their arguments. They strike the very basis of respondents’ pleas and tried to negate the whole argument presented by the other party.

18:33: By taking full 5 minutes, claimants consciously highlighted every loophole left by the respondents during their arguments.

18:34: Following the intensive deliberations and minimal questioning, the courtroom is done with the rounds in the second session.

 


VCR-2: 920 vs 906


17:40: The stage has been set and all counsels are fiercely looking forward to submit their arguments before the esteemed tribunal.

17:41:The first Counsel has started off with impeccable confidence and is structurally covering all parts of the issues. The Counsel is building their case on the concept of party autonomy and citing authorities for the same.

17:45: The arguments are being submitted steadily without any interruptions till now, which shows that the judges have probably not been able to find any inconsistency in the arguments. The confident smile across the Counsel’s face shows that she is well-prepared and will not breakdown anytime soon.

17:48: The Counsel is now using the Doctrine of Equality to build on her case and is quoting landmark judgements for the same. Additionally, the Counsel has emphasized on the appointment of 3 arbitrators in the matter. The judges have not countered the first Counsel with any question.

17:51: The floor has been taken over by the second Counsel from the Applicants’ side now, who is vehemently advocating for the damages caused to the applicants as a result of the negligence on the part of the respondents.

17:54: The Counsel has been abruptly interrupted by one of the judges as the judge has a question on the Hague Rules. The Counsel looks shaken and a little nervous by the interruption and is fumbling for words to frame her answer. She has again been countered by another question fired from a Judge who is slowly shattering the confidence of the Counsel which was initially at its peak.

17:58: The Counsel is however seen commendably keeping her calm and slowly picking up her herself to answer the questions bombarded at her. Finally, after a pretty long discussion, the judge has been appeased with the answer of the Counsel.

18:01: The judge of VCR 2 is not one that can be easily satisfied and he has yet again impeded the pace of the Counsel by throwing more questions at her on the applicability of the Rules in the matter. These questions seem endless as the judge is constantly quoting the agreement between the parties and shooting more questions on the arrangement.

18:05: With 3 minutes left in hand, the Counsel is struggling to reach the end of her arguments and is acing her way through. There comes another question in the way of the Counsel regarding the quantum of damages claimed. The judge is reiterating his question as it seems that the Counsel was unable to comprehend the question and is babbling in a different direction. Maybe a bit of nervousness kicking in?

18:10: It’s no surprise that the time has elapsed with the Counsel still left with some parts of her arguments to be covered but fortunately, the judge has been kind enough to grant extension of a couple of minutes. Satisfying one specific judge would not be a cake walk for the second counsel as he is adamant on eliciting a response from the Counsel for a question she doesn’t have a concrete answer for.

VCR-2

18:15: It has been over 5 minutes since the time allotted for the second counsel of the applicant’s side has lapsed and yet the arguments seem endless. She has finally been warned and given a time window of only 3 seconds to wrap up and conclude her submissions.

18:20: The mic has now been passed over to the Respondents’ side and the first counsel is presenting her submissions with utmost care and diligence.

18:22: Within few minutes of start of the submissions on the Respondents’ side, the Counsel has been interrupted by a Judge who is questioning the application of the law and rules in the instant case. The answer given by the Counsel however seems to have quenched the Judge’s thirst.

18:25: The Counsel has been allowed to proceed to the next issue after she successfully argued on the appointment of a sole arbitrator in this matter. She has cited quite a few landmark precedents too in an attempt to establish her case.

18:31: Congratulations, you got congratulated in a moot round. Now that’s rare! Owing to the judge’s streak of unlimited questions, the Counsel’s time has elapsed and yet she has been granted an extension of another 90 seconds to answer a question spun at her. She has been appreciated by the panel for the brevity and accuracy of her answer.

18:36: The floor has been taken over by the second speaker from the Respondents’ side. the oral submissions have hardly started and the judge is armed with a lot of questions which have the potential to wreck the Counsel’s basis of arguments. The Counsel has yet been able to maneuver his way out.

18:44: A few more questions balled at the Counsel and the entire direction as well as structure of arguments is shattered. The judge pointed out that the answer given by the Counsel failed to satisfy his curiosity and lacked specifics.

18:49: The Counsel has finally been able to put forth his submissions for a couple of minutes without being interrupted by the Judge and has sought permission to present his prayer but has been countered with another question. The Counsel is seen floundering in the pool of questions.

18:53: The Counsel has been granted an extension of a couple of minutes so that the Counsel can comfortably present their prayer.

18:57:The limelight has now shifted to the applicant side again for the rebuttal rounds and the Counsel is seen contending the arguments of the defendant on the ground of priority given to certain clauses over the rest.

19:00: It seems like the respondent side was caught off-guard by the applicant side with their set of questions. Additionally, the Counsel of the Respondent has been countered with questions from the judge too. The sur-rebuttal rounds have finally been concluded with a blast leaving a smile of contentment on the face of the judges.

19:05: The judges have been sent to a separate room for deliberation and all the participants are eagerly looking forward to the feedback session to hear about their performance. With the feedback session completed, this fruitful session has also come to an end. This battle has witnessed a very satisfactory end and has raised bars for all the other participants.

 


VCR-3: 923 vs 905


17:43: After a slight delay owing to network issues from several sides, oral rounds of session-2 have finally started and the first counsel from claimants’ side begins with their submissions

17:48: The counsel completes their first limb of submissions smoothly without any clarifications being sought by any of the judges

17:52: The counsel seems to be performing in an extremely convincing manner as there has been no questions from the judges

17:53: The judge asks the first question regarding what seaworthiness means which baffles the otherwise confident counsel but they quickly recover from it and answer appropriately

17:57: The counsel seeks an extension of 1 minute in order to conclude their submissions which was granted by the judge

17:59: The second counsel for the claimants begins their submissions dealing with issues 3 and 4 respectively

18:01: The counsel begins with their submission as to why Cruze is liable to Caspian under two laws – Contract Law and Tort Law

18:08: The counsel has been unfortunately struggling as the judges face severe network issues causing such delays.

18:11: As the judge joins back, the counsel resumes with their argument directing the panel to para 3 of the case study regarding how the loss has occured and how the duty of care has been breached by the Cruze itself

18:15: Donoghue v Stevenson makes its way everywhere! The counsel yet again focuses on the essentials of the duty of care and further moves ahead to establish the three essentials in great detail using the case law of the infamous Donoghue v Stevenson

VCR-3

18:20: The counsel proceeds with their last submission regarding how the damages are to be decided after getting an extension of a minute.

18:22: The first counsel for the respondents begins with their submissions regarding issues 1 and 2 respectively

18:25: The counsel draws the attention of the arbitrators towards para 10 of the issue, substantiating that IAA rules will always be considered over institutional rules

18:28: The counsel further submits that the respondents are not liable for a breach of duty, moreover they plead that firstly, the Hague rules won’t apply ex proprio vigore and secondly, even if it does it will not prevail over tailor-made rules

18:35: The second counsel for the respondent side begins with their submissions dealing with three contentions regarding the liability of two defendants

18:46: The counsel proceeds with their last submission regarding how the damages are to be decided after getting an extension of a minute.

18:47: The counsel is able to complete their submissions smoothly as no clarifications were sought by the panel.

18:59: Both the counsels smoothly concluded their rebuttals respectively and the judges look pleased.

19:25: The rounds are over as both the teams received feedback from the respective judges.

 


VCR-4: 925 v 919


17:32: Session started! Let’s see if the participants are as refreshed as we are after the break.

17:33: The first speaker from Team 925 (claimants) has taken the floor.

17:35: After a brief recap of the facts, the Speaker has now started going through his arguments with commendable grace.

17:39: The Speaker was proceeding with significant flair, but was interrupted by the Bench with a very basic question with respect to the moot: “Is this an institutional arbitration?”

17:40: And concessions have already started! The Speaker answered that it was an ad-hoc arbitration and not an institutional one, but when cross questioned by the Bench, the speaker conceded pretty quickly.

17:42: Even though conceding to the Bench on a point, prima facie, may seem like a sound way to save time, in reality it does just the opposite! From the looks of it, the Bench seems to have squared down upon the institutional or ad hoc point and does not seem to be in any hurry to proceed to the next argument!

17:44: The questions coming the way of the Speaker now pertain entirely to the SCMA rules – from full form of SCMA to individual provisions, the Speaker seems to be in quite a tough spot, having to address all sorts of questions only on the SCMA rules!

17:47: Every time the Speaker regains his composure, the Bench throws another mind boggling question at him on the SCMA rules! However, it should also be noted that the Speaker is maintaining his cool despite the aggressive questioning by the Bench.

17:53: The Speaker needed a little more time to make his submissions, even after taking an extra 5 minutes. It was granted on the condition that the time taken by the Speaker would be deducted from his co-counsel’s speaking time.

VCR-4

17:57: Apologies or Arguments? The Bench continues to go very hard on the Speaker, ultimately pointing out that there were more apologies than arguments from his part. It is remarkable that the Speaker didn’t lose his composure even after that particularly caustic observation made by the Bench.

17:58: The floor has now been taken by the second speaker from Team Code 925.

18:01: The Bench requires the Speaker to establish that the Hague Rules are applicable because that is something the team still needs to prove.

18:03: The Speaker seems to be struggling in the face of the calm but the Bench keeps throwing complicated questions at her.

18:10: The Bench is not cutting any slack to any speaker so far! But truth be told, the Speaker is not all that flustered with the violent questioning and seems to be handling the situation pretty well!

18:12: The Speaker was given the grant to proceed with her second submission since, as the Bench correctly observed, the first submission, subsequent questioning and the respecting replies were eating up too much of the Speaker’s time.

18:14: The Speaker requested for 2 extra minutes and was granted the same by the Bench.

18:19: The Speaker contended that the Hague Visby Rules are applicable, and was immediately pounced upon by the Bench who insisted that she provide a case law to substantiate her argument, going as far as to declare that they would give her the argument to her if only she could provide just one argument in her favour. Unfortunately, the Speaker argued on the point of ambiguity and couldn’t provide a suitable case law in her favour.

18:27: The Speaker proceeded to her Prayer, however, the Bench categorically declared that though they didn’t have any more questions, they were not convinced by the team’s arguments.

18:29: The first speaker from Team Code 919 takes the floor now.

18:34: Looks like the Bench has decided to give all the Speakers a particularly bad time! The Speaker tries very hard to convince the Bench of his arguments, but the Bench seems to be absolutely against everything the Speaker is trying to propose and refuses to be convinced easily!

18:39: The Courtroom atmosphere is getting more heated by the minute! The Bench refuses to see the Speaker’s point, the Speaker refuses to see the Bench’s point!

18:42: “Counsel, are we correct in understanding that you are representing both the Carriers?” The Bench asked the Speaker, to which the latter said yes. But the follow up was trickier than he expected it to be and the Bench had the upper hand right then!

18:47: The Speaker managed to get himself an extension but does not seem to be able to convince the Bench and the Bench keeps throwing more and yet more complicated questions at him!

18:55: Speaker 2 takes the floor now.

19:02: The back and forth questioning and answering continues between the Bench and the fourth Speaker of the round, which amazingly, the Speaker handles with astonishing flair and a smile!

19:09: With the arguments going strong on the sea worthiness or the un-sea worthiness, the Speaker, in the midst of all this, has managed to get an extension of 3 minutes! But looks like most of the extension time will go into the questions that the Bench is propelling at him!

19:17: The Speaker seems to be able to convince the quite well, considering the general trend of the Courtroom.

19:19:The two teams mutually agreed to not engage in the rebuttals or the sur-rebuttals, so the moot round essentially came to an end here itself. With this, we take a short break and we will be back for our third session later this evening.

 


VCR-5: 910 v 909


17:30: Round begins after the break with full enthusiasm in reciting the facts by the claimant

17:36: The counsel leads the tribunal through their written memorial referring to the UNICTRAL rules and the SCMA rules in particular.

17:39: The bench questions the counsel on why the SCMA rules should prevail over the other rules mentioned. The counsel is further questioned on Section 32 of the SCMA rules and its relevance in the current dispute

17:43: The counsel submits that English Law governs the contract and under English Law, the Hague Rules mandatorily apply.

17:49: Are we seeing a relay race here? The first counsel for the claimant happily passes on the questions asked to them to their co-counsel and stands down. The bench promises to ask these questions to the co-counsel. The counsel silently wishes luck to their co-counsel to deal with the bench’s grilling!

17:52: The co-counsel takes forward the enthusiasm shown by the first counsel and begins with their submissions

18:00:The counsel is questioned extensively on the applicability of the Hague Rules on states that are not party to these Rules. The Bench opines that even if the parties intend for the Hague Rules to apply, if the countries are not party to these rules, these rules cannot apply.

18:10: The counsel is questioned on whether the addendums were not approved by the claimant at the time of the contract.

18:14: The counsel for respondent is visibly nervous after the thorough grilling of the counsels for respondents. They begin regardless.

18:20: The counsel’s fears have come to life, where the judges have grilled them on where the procedural law prevails over the procedural rules. The counsel stands down having three minutes of time left.

VCR-5

18:24: The counsel on behalf of respondent seems more confident, and deals with the issue of applicability of the Hague rules.

18:26: The counsel carries on the streak and deals with questions calmly and submits relevant authorities to the bench.

18:33: After three minutes of confusing questioning and equally confusing answers, the judges finally understood the submissions of the counsel with regards to the applicability of the Hague rules. The judge laughingly praises the counsel for their language.

18:40: The counsel seeks an extension of 3 minutes to conclude their submissions.

18:45: The claimants now proceed with the rebuttals after a heated 5 minutes of grilling by the bench.

18:50: The round concludes peacefully, with calm sur-rebuttals by the respondent.

 


VCR-6: 921 v 911


17:32: Welcome back from the break! The rounds have commenced on time!

17:33: It’s not even been 2 minutes and the judges have already begun a line of questioning on the amount claimed and on the facts of the case.

17:35: The counsel has begun presenting his points and in spite of being questioned about the case’s complexities, he proceeds with confidence.

17:40: Troubles brewing already? With unfettering zeal, the counsel explains how there is a liability on the part of the first defendant to provide a seaworthy vessel. However, after the judges pointed out the loopholes in the legal arguments put forth by him, the counsel’s initial confidence seems to be fading.

17:43: The counsel relies extensively on the Hague rules. Time seems to be running out when the counsel is asked to read a specific rule. The judge steps in and saves the day by saving precious few minutes by reading it himself.

17:45: With just a few seconds left, the counsel attempts to redeem himself by presenting all the relevant Hague rules at his disposal to make his case stronger.

17:48: The Hague rules have a central role in the counsel’s arguments. The judges’ questions pour in and they seem satisfied with the counsel’s answers as he argues his way through all of these questions.

17:52: The second speaker takes the floor now. He first states that he will establish that being a sub-bailee, the second defendant was under a contractual obligation to provide a seaworthy vessel and then that they are not exonerated from their liability.

17:54: The judges pointed out and asked the counsel about numerous legal technicalities, prompting him to come up with a number of compelling arguments. The counsel provided detailed responses to the judges.

18:04: The judges posed multiple questions to the counsel regarding how hurricane is not a common weather phenomenon which were answered by the counsel in a not a very convincing manner.

18:06: The counsel seems perplexed after being questioned on the concept of seaworthiness. The counsel concedes.

18:09: Just like the first counsel, the second speaker also speaks extensively about the applicability of the Hague rules. When asked about unilateral incorporation of a specific rule, he contends that it was incorporated by the consent of all parties.

18:11: Having exhausted his time, the speaker was granted an extra minute by the judges to summarise his arguments.

18:12: The counsel representing the respondent begins.

18:17: The counsel seems unfazed in spite of being grilled by the judges about the crux of her contentions. She succeeds in maintaining her calm demeanour and the judges seem satisfied by her answers so far.

18:18: The counsel puts forth her arguments. The judges do not seem all that convinced right now with these arguments and ask her to move on to the second issue.

18:21: The counsel has been confident in her responses, and the judges have been impressed by her advocacy skills, but the legal technicalities of her arguments have been questioned.

18:24: The counsel starts rushing, given that her time is going to be exhausted soon.

18:25: Time has run out but looks like the counsel cannot escape the judges’ grilling without giving satisfactory answers.

18:26: The counsel continues citing cases although her time is up. The judge interrupts her to question which clause will prevail in the Combicon bill of lading.

18:29: The counsel seems to be unsure about a specific case but her teammates come to her rescue and she gets back on track with her line of argumentation.

18:31: The second counsel steps in to proceed with the rest of the arguments. She starts with establishing how she will be advancing her arguments.

18:32: Wrong Name but Right Arguments! The counsel is thrown off by the questions and addresses herself as the counsel for the claimant. She is corrected by the judges and is visibly nervous.

18:34: “Your stance is conflicting”, the judges point out. The counsel justifies this by stating that there is a printing mistake in the memorial. The judges do not seem impressed at all.

18:37: The rounds come to an abrupt halt since one of the judges faces technical difficulties and loses his network connectivity. The counsel sees this as an opportunity to skin through her arguments again to ensure that she’s thorough in all of them.

18:40:The counsel doesn’t seem very confident. The judges are also not on the same page with the counsel and question her further.

18:41: The judges don’t seem to be convinced by the counsel’s arguments. ‘There is a clear breach of your obligations!’ Nevertheless, the counsel tries her best to stand her ground.

18:45: The counsel is unable to substantiate her points very strongly. The judges do not seem to find credibility in her legal representations. The judges also have to patiently explain several questions to the counsel since she’s unable to comprehend them promptly.

18:46: The speaker is clearly struggling and having a tough time coming up with relevant cases to substantiate her case. She informs the judge of the lack of availability of any.

18:50: The counsel comes to the end of her submission. The judges do not seem impressed.

18:51: Somebody has been attentively listening to the respondents! The rebuttals begin. The counsel ruthlessly decimates the credibility of the respondent’s arguments. There is a lot of debate on whether the word ‘shall’ should be interpreted as ‘must’ or ‘may’.

18:53: The sur-rebuttals seem rather dull as compared to the rebuttals. The counsel herself does not seem very sure about them and takes a fairly large amount of time to put a single point across. A lot of questions were left hanging.

18:56: The judges discuss the shortcomings of the legal arguments put forth by the teams in order to be able to provide detailed feedback to them.

19:00: With this, the judges gave valuable feedback to the participants and we reach the conclusion of the second session of today’s oral rounds

 


VCR-7: 904 v 916


17:30: Welcome back everyone! It sure seems like the applicant has come refreshed as she begins with her submissions regarding the formation of the Arbitral Tribunal with very high energy.

17:32: The first question which comes the way of the counsel is the dilemma between applicability of SCMA Rules or International Arbitration Act in the present case. The counsel handles the question beautifully, while pointing towards cited authorities to back her arguments.

17:42: Due to the paucity of time, the counsel is asked to summarise her arguments in 30 seconds. The bench appears to be adhering to the time strictly now.

17:43: Co-counsel takes the floor. He first addresses the question regarding liability of defendant.

17:45:The counsel submits that Hague rules takes precedence over any other contractual obligations. When asked to present authorities for the same, the counsel was confidently able to convince the Tribunal with the cited judgement.

17:48: Inconsistencies cropping up! While the first speaker submitted that the contractual obligations will prevail over the law, the second speaker stated that the law prevails over the contractual obligations. The Tribunal questions on the standing of these contradictory statements being made by the counsels for the Applicants.

17:50: Having beautifully argued to clear the position of the Applicant party on the contradictory statements made before, the counsel proceeds to the next argument regarding the damages to be paid by the defendant to the aggrieved Applicant.

17:53: The Tribunal puts forward a tricky question as to why the Applicant wishes to seek restitution as a damage and not compensation. As a reply to the same, the counsel explains the same by clarifying that they are seeking restitution ad integram as a remedy.

17:58: The counsel submits that the other Tribunals have struck down provisions previously, and so the present Tribunal must consider the same with respect to the liability limitation clause and ordering for the appropriate remedy.

17:59: Continuing to stick to the time limit, the counsel is asked to briefly conclude his submissions in 30 seconds.

18:01: The speaker for the respondent begins with her submissions. She first submits that the International Arbitration Act prevails over the SCMA Rules. The Tribunal questions on the unclear stance of the counsel on the number of the arbitrators and the default position of the law with respect to the rules which will prevail to govern the issue. The counsel is visibly perplexed, and is unable to convince the Tribunal regarding her submissions.

18:08: The counsel assures that if left with time in the end, she would return to the queries of the Tribunal on this issue and would be more than happy to assist the Tribunal.

18:09: The counsel now proceeds to the next issue on the question of liability.

18:10: The Tribunal questions one of the authorities cited by the counsel pointing that the case being cited is a bit different than what the counsel states. The speaker clarifies the same, and comfortably moves forth with her submission.

18:15: Proceeding further, the counsel now moves on to the question of the quantum of damages. For the same, reliance is placed on the Hidalgo Bill of Lading.

18:17: The counsel rests her case, and the co-counsel takes over. She begins by addressing the conflict of laws in the present case.

18:24: The counsel sails smoothly to her last submission regarding the liability of the defendants and the quantum of damages. She is able to establish her argument with appropriate authorities.

18:30: Further substantiating arguments for the respondent, the counsel concludes by establishing that Bill of Lading overrides the Hague Rules.

18:32: The rebuttals begin by the Applicant outrightly refuting all the arguments given by the Respondents. The rebuttals made were to the point, and catered to all the submissions made previously by the opposing counsels.

18:38: The respondent party, in their sur-rebuttals, relied on the seat of arbitration being Singapore and therefore establishing that International Arbitration Act will be applicable. The counsel also clarified that they are not arguing the complete non-applicability of the Hague Rules.

18:39: The rounds ended successfully with the parties having presented their arguments to the best of their abilities.

 


VCR-8: 918 v 922


17:37: The judge starts with a question on whether the tribunal has locus standi but the speaker refuses to engage on the question and instead continues with their submissions. Quite a nervous start to the rounds after the break.

17:42: The counsels have a long way to go! The judge interjects with another question asking whether this is a validly constituted panel and can thus hear the dispute. A long pause ensues. The panel looks to be quite a tough one to impress.

17:44: Buckling under pressure? After bouts of complicated badgering by the panel, the speaker is finally forced to concede on the first issue.

17:49: The first speaker from applicant’s side finishes 5 minutes before time. Were they in some sort of hurry?

17:56: The second speaker engages in a classroom discussion of tort law and bailment in contracts eliciting a critical look from the panel.

18:12: The first speaker from the respondent side argues on the issues of composition of arbitral panel, and whether they are liable for maintaining seaworthiness of vessel. The bench appears to be not asking that many questions in stark contrast to the first half of the round

18:19: The second speaker argues on issues of their limited liability and quantum of compensation. The counsel’s constant requests for permission to move on to other issues elicits a mildly annoyed response from the panel.

18:27: The Applicants present their rebuttals and try to undermine the respondents’ arguments but the panel seems unsatisfied.

18:29: The respondents present their sur-rebuttals laced with accusations on the applicants marking the end of the rounds.


DAY 1 | 24TH MARCH 2022
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS – SESSION 2 CONCLUDES!


DAY 1 | 24TH MARCH 2022
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS

SESSION 3


VCR-1:911 vs 906


20:06: The Courtroom is set, and the teams are ready and we are back with Session-3. The Preliminary Round has begun in full swing in the courtroom, with an unbridled enthusiasm.

20:07: The first counsel started by laying down the structure of their submissions before proceeding with substantive arguments

20:08: The counsel presented her submission concerning the jurisdiction aspect of the case and found herself in the series of questions from one of the judges of the panel.

20:11: The first counsel answered the questions and clarified the doubts of the judge in a graceful manner as if she was waiting for the particular question to be asked upon and it seems that the counsel is succeeding in convincing the judge

20:13: After laying down the factual as well as the statutory context for her justification against the question, the counsel puts forth her arguments by citing the judicial precedent too which further shows her preparation level for the incoming questions.

20:16: One of the judges is busily endeavoring to analyze the arguments of the counsels, and pouring the questions on factual context as well as on the legal context.

20:17: Without losing her calm, the first counsel is consciously listening to every question and gracefully responding by putting their grounds

20:19: TIME’S UP! Despite maintaining the upbeat atmosphere in the courtroom while putting forth her arguments, the first counsel loses the stance over her time liberty and now time is up.

20:20: One of the judges seems to be very impressed with the answers and the clarity of concept displayed by the first counsel. They further gave her extra time of 2 minutes to complete her argument.

20:22: Despite the time being up, questions still remain and the judge is now interrogating the counsel by asking them a series of questions in rapid succession. Meanwhile, the counsel does well to retain her composure.

20:24: Counsel further got the extension of 2 minutes and by relying on the judicial precedent, she tried to clarify the inquiries put forth by the judge.

20:26:The counsel concludes on a positive note, with the series of questions from one of the judges. The floor is now taken by the second speaker.

20:28: The second Counsel is presenting her arguments in an assertive manner by relying on the clauses of the particular act. This was immediately followed by questions from the judges, asking her to justify her state in the present case.

20:30: The counsel is confidently answering the enquiries of the judge. She is able to stay calm and composed in the courtroom and it seems like nothing can faze her right now.

20:32: The counsel is further enhancing the status maintained by the first counsel by deliberately answering each and every enquiry. The claimants may end up retaining some bonus points from judges for this significant improvement in courtroom ethics.

20:35: One of the judges seems to be satisfied with the presentation of her grounds and asked her to proceed with the second argument. But the point which isn’t get noted is that the second counsel asked to proceed with the “second defense” which if marked by judges can cost her points.

20:38: One of the judges encircled the second counsel with an array of questions and asked her to put forth some clarity in her arguments

20:40: TIME’s UP and the second counsel did not ask for an extension of time.

20:44: The second counsel is clarifying each and every enquiry of the judges in a balanced and prepared way. After intensive deliberations and questioning from the judges, the second counsel successfully completed the claimants’ case.

20:46: Respondents have now taken the podium and they have started presenting their stand in an elegant and professional manner.

20:47: The Respondent speaker has stated in a self-assured manner but the judges have been fairly active in asking the questions.

20:49: First counsel presented her answers in an assertive manner and deliberately attracting the attention of judges towards her assertions.

20:53: Fantastic display of composure! The way the first counsel is handling the incoming series of questions from the judges, it is reward worthy!

20:56: The Counsel is well versed with the judicial precedents as well as the clauses of concerned Act concerning her case. This can be seen with her elegant bearing and command over the arguments she is presenting.

20:59: The judges asked the counsel to repeat her stance over SCBA rules, to which Counsel presented her position ended with the satisfaction put forth by the judge

21:01: Counsel finished her part of arguments and asked the second counsel to take the podium.

21:02: The second counsel started his grounds by specifically clarifying the set of issues he will be dealing with, which further added to the clarity in response to the questions posed before him

21:04: Judge asked the second counsel to put his stance over ‘Special Clause’ aspect.

21:06: The counsel moved towards his grounds with the level-headed bearing in his assertions and victoriously satisfied the judge in his inquiries.

21:08: The counsel seemed very focused on whatever enquiry is put forth by the judge and preventing himself from missing the track of conversation.

21:10: The counsel is deluged with a number of question but he is still maintaining his calm and has not fazed out with questions coming in from all directions.

21:11: Before answering any question, the counsel makes sure that he understood the concerned context that the Judge has asked him to deliberate upon by repeating back the question of judge in a succinct way.

21:13: The Counsel proceeded toward his third ground by pleasing the judge with his stand after questions were raised regarding that ground.

21:18: The counsel seems to be very clear in his arguments and he is constantly trying to make the judge understand his points.

21:21: Time’s up! But the Counsel is engaged in presenting his stake and has managed to convince the judges to recognize his stance, without asking for time extension. Clever way of bargaining time, we must say!

21:24: The counsel completed his arguments but the queries of one of the judges isn’t completed with their questions. This is making this round more and more interesting.

21:26: We will now move on to the rebuttal and sur-rebuttal session following some very thorough deliberations and counter-questioning.

21:31: Rounds have been completed successfully. Judges have gathered in the judges room to discuss the marking scheme and feedback that will be provided to both teams.

 


VCR-2: 916 vs 905


20:05: The battle round 3 has begun with the first counsel from the applicant side taking the lead and is presenting the facts of the case concisely. She has now proceeded to challenging the number of arbitrators that should be appointed in this particular case.

20:09: Things have kicked off to a rocky start! The Counsel is carefully framing her arguments however the judges find the authorities cited vague and demand for more particulars and specifics of the authority. The answer given by the Counsel seems to leave the judges baffled and they seek for more clarification but seem disappointed given the ambiguity of the answer.

20:14: The judges look in full form and are prepared to throw questions at the Counsel. The Counsel has now been interrupted by the judge on the Liability and quantum of damages on the basis of HVR. The Counsel seems impatient to conclude her submissions and pass the baton to the second Counsel.

20:20: The baton is being carried by the second Counsel who is steadily walking through her arguments carefully drafted on the liability as set out under the Hague Rules.

20:25: The Counsel is now aggressively and firmly advocating for the applicability of the HVR in the particular case citing certain English law cases along with the Bill of Lading which mandate the applicability of such rules .

20:28: The issue of the quantum of damages as claimed by the applicants is now being presented and pondered upon. The judges have not yet interrupted the Counsel to counter any of the arguments made so far by the second counsel. There comes a query, every now and then, from the judges who are questioning the entire basis of damages claimed given that the market value has not been specified anywhere.

20:34: The time period allotted to the Counsel has come to an end but her spirit has not. She has sought an additional time window of 30 seconds to wrap up her arguments and has successfully completed the same.

20:37: The focus has now shifted to the Counsel of the Respondents who is briefly outlining the arguments and issues she intends to cover in the time allotted to her.

20:40: The Counsel is seen quoting an English judgement to emphasize on the venue or seat to be taken for this particular case. The judges however seem a little put off by the reliance of the Counsel on a particular authority which has thoroughly confused them.

20:48: The floor has been passed on to the second counsel now who is primarily arguing on the quantum of damages for the second defendant claiming that the Hague Rules cannot be made applicable and cannot be made mandatory either.

20:54: One of the judges has taken the lead and posed a question on whether the parties can contract out of the Bill to which the counsel answered in negative.

20:58: The counsel is harping on a landmark precedent which is quickly countered by the judge who does not seem satisfied with the details of the authority of the case and is demanding for more. The counsel does not have a prompt answer to the question and has requested for a minute to get back on it.

21:03: There is a creative turn in the course of submissions presented by the Respondents’ counsel who is extensively talking about implied consent of the parties involved in the case.

21:05: The Counsel is not limiting her arguments to just her memorial but is urging the judges to refer to the memo of the claimants too and is contending the same on the basis of lack of fact and proof. Additionally, the Counsel has come up with the answer to the question which was posed to her earlier by one of the judges and the same has been satisfactorily accepted by the judge.

21:08: The battle of rebuttal has commenced where the Counsel of the Applicants is firing at the Respondents saying that their stance is not clear and that they are just shifting blame to save their side.

21:11: The respondent side seems to be well-prepared with answers to the queries put forth by the claimants in the surrebuttal rounds.

21:15: The verbal battle between the parties has come to an end but the judges are in a fix deciding which side outweighs the other. There is no denying that both the sides put foth their best cases and fought tooth and nail to grab a place for themselves. With that, we come to an end to first enthusiastic day of the preliminary rounds of 9th IMAM. We hope to see the participants fight out their sides with more vigour and energy in the following days of the event.

 


VCR-3: 919 vs 922


20:08: The counsel for the claimants begins with their submissions stating the four contentions they will argue upon.

20:09: The judge asks the counsel to summarise the facts of the case in only two minutes

20:10: The judge asks the counsel regarding what further steps they will take if this particular issue regarding the arbitration fails. This fazes the counsel into utter and shocked silence

20:13: The judge continues with their query by asking for clarification regarding the definition of substantive law its distinction from procedural law. Much to the disappointment of the judges, he counsel could not deliver a satisfactory answer

20:16: The judges do not agree with the interpretation of the statute quoted by the counsel with no further substantive backing. In response, the counsel pleads to respond to this question later.

20:18: Due to the paucity of time, the counsel skips to the last limbs of their argument regarding deciding the liability of the defendants

20:19: The judge asks the counsel to relay their arguments primarily on the facts of the case rather than the law backing it up

20:21: The counsel seems unfazed even after the chain of questions put forth by the judges and the counsel smoothly puts forth their last limb of submissions

20:23: The judge continues to question the counsel regarding the facts of the issue about the diligence of the claimant itself. This throws off the counsel and the counsel is visibly shaken because of this intervention by the judge.

20:26: Who am I representing? What am I doing? The counsel is unable to respond to the question asked by the judge regarding who the counsel is actually representing – defendant 1 or defendant 2

20:27: The counsel makes a final attempt to satisfy the judges after getting a considerable period of extension in addition to the allocated time

20:29: The second counsel for claimants makes their submissions regarding issues 3 and 4 respectively.

20:31: The counsel attempts to establish sub-bailment in order to establish liability and the judges seem to consider this response satisfactory

20:33: The counsel furthers their submissions stating that the burden of proof is on the defendants in this particular case citing the Hague rules. However, the judges ask for more clarification as they are not convinced with the counsel’s argument.

20:36: The counsel stands confident amidst a chain of questions thrown in their way by the judges

20:37: Even after several attempts made by the counsel to establish the relevance of the Hague Rules in the two bill of ladings, they fail to give a satisfactory answer to the judges

20:39: The judges continue to quiz the counsel regarding the particular clauses mentioned in the bill of ladings

20:53: The counsel clubs the multiple questions asked by the judges regarding the need for a sole-member arbitration tribunal but fails to provide any merits for their arguments

20:57: The judge points out towards the contrasting arguments provided by the counsel regarding the SCMA rules and Hague rules which throws off the counsel a bit

21:00: The judge asks the counsel regarding the doctrine of approbation and reprobation but the counsel was unable to answer

21:06: The arbitrator asks the counsel to provide for a similar case where the Hague laws were not applicable to which the counsel responds with detailed arguments stating two precedents but the judges do not consider it as a satisfactory answer and consequently continue to quiz the counsel

21:09: Even after several attempts to clarify their arguments, the judges still consider the counsel’s case weak and contradictory to some of their own contentions

21:13: The second counsel for respondent begins with their submissions

21:21: The judge asks the counsel to state the relevance of the specific clauses given in the bill of lading. In response, the counsel managed to give a satisfactory answer

21:23: The counsel directs the panel’s attention towards the case study to point out when exactly the loss occured which resulted in no liability for Respondent No. 1

21:24: The judges though, do not agree with the counsel’s argument, as the counsel could not establish that they are to exonerated of the liability

21:26: On a lighter note, in response to the counsel’s defence that even if they are liable it will only be limited liability and that too, be considered as a sympathetic act by the respondents, the judge mentions that there is no room for sympathy in a courtroom

21:33: The counsel takes the judges through the last limb of her submission stating that they are not liable to pay for any of the converters as they have already reached agreement as per the mentioned contract

21:35: The Judge reviews the 2 questions asked to the first counsel for claimants which they were unable to answer before and they seem satisfied with the counsel’s response now

21:43: The counsels from both the sides conclude their respective rebuttals

21:50: That’s it for today. We will see you again and we will provide even further updates from tomorrow afternoon onwards. It’s bye-bye for today but with a promise to meet again tomorrow.

 


VCR-4:909 vs 924


20:05: Aaaanddd we are back with Session 3 of the first day here in VCR-4 of IMAM 2022

20:05: The first speaker of team code 909 has taken the floor and he is straightaway briefing the bench about the facts

20:09: Speaker 1 has dived into her submissions, but unfortunately, no small detail ever escapes the sharp vigilance of the Bench. The questions, as is naturally expected, have also started along with the submissions!

20:16: The Speaker continues with her submissions, while the Bench throws an occasional clarification and question at her.

20:18:The Speaker has concluded her submissions only to be met with the dissatisfied remark of the Bench that their question has not been answered.

20:20: Speaker 2 has taken up the floor now, taking up from where her co-counsel ended.

20:25: Speaker 2 continues with her submissions while the Bench keeps questioning her. Sea worthiness being the centre of discussion in the Courtroom at the moment, the questions and answers mostly revolve around that point.

20:36: The second speaker has almost concluded her present submission, but the Bench keeps throwing innovatively complicated brain teasers at her!

20:39: The Bench requires the Counsel to corroborate her present argument with her written submissions. The Counsel, however, was unable to present the same in her written submissions, thereby inviting a “Why should we listen to you when it is not there in your written submissions?” from the Bench.

20:42: The Speaker has concluded her submissions.

20:46: Speaker 1 of Team Code 924 has taken the floor now.

20:52: The Speaker is going strong with his arguments and has captivated the Bench with a relevant case law that he is citing pertinent to his case.

21:00: The Speaker continues with his earnest efforts to convince the Bench, but the Bench will not be swayed that easily. To make things even more interesting, the Bench is actually giving the Speaker a factual situation as an example to better understand his argument and simultaneously making him apply the logic of his argument to their factual situation!

21:02: The Speaker has been given the permission to continue with his submissions when the Bench declared that they weren’t convinced, despite the counsel’s best interests

21:09: The heated exchange continues. The Bench questions the Speaker on what he meant by the General Principles of Contractual Construction, when the former made a reference to that, but when the Speaker was unable to answer to the satisfaction of the Bench, the latter made the very pointed accusation of the Speaker squandering the time of both the Bench as well as the Speaker himself.

21:15: The second speaker of Team Code 924 takes the floor.

21:27: The Speaker tackles all the questions coming her way without skipping even a heartbeat!

21:30: The Bench continues to throw all sorts of questions, and while the complexity of the questions does not go down, the Speaker manages to handle all the questions to the best of her abilities, with impressive grace and incredible self assurance!

21:37: The Speaker has run out of time, but looks like she had more to say. But unfortunately, even her extension has run out!

21:38: The Bench does not feel there is any need of any rebuttals anymore, and the teams did not have any specific rebuttals to make either, except for a clarification from one team which the Bench addressed.

21:39: With this, the round comes to an end for today. We will tune in again from tomorrow afternoon! Cheerio!

 


VCR-5: 927 vs 913


20:03: The last preliminary round for the day starts with a bang and the judges seem excited for the submissions by the participants. Whether it is because it is the last preliminary round for the day or for the grilling of the counsel, we will never know.

20:06: It seems to be the latter, as the judges within three minutes have managed to question the very premise of the counsel’s submissions.

20:10: The counsel is extensively questioned on the seat of arbitration and Rule 32 of the SCMA Rules.

20:18: Although the bench seems dissatisfied with the counsel’s submissions on the applicability of the Hague rules, the counsel’s knowledge of facts have apparently impressed the judges.

20:21: The co-counsel begins the submissions and tries to keep up with the flow that their co-counsel had set 15 minutes earlier.

20:24: The bench questions the counsel on the liability of the sub-bailee to the sub-bailee. They are further questioned on the master-servant relationship between Tawe and Cruze.

20:30: Immediately after the counsel’s answer, the bench nudges the counsel towards the right answer but the counsel doesn’t take the bait.

20:32: Face-Palm! The bench is visibly frustrated, with both of them face-palming at the counsel’s answers.

20:38: The counsel then proceeds to make their submissions regarding the unseaworthiness of the ship and the issues of due diligence

20:45: The counsel is inching towards the right answer, but fails again. The bench continues to grill the counsel on the limitation of liability.

20:51: The counsel for respondent begins with their submissions now.

20:54: The bench questions the counsel on the contradictions between the application of the Hague Rules and the limited liability clause being valid.

20:59: The counsel answers questions regarding the applicability of Equity under English Law with regard to duty of care and the absolute denial of relief to the claimant

21:03: The bench continues to grill the counsel on the basics of the addendums and the Hague Rules.

21:10: After repeated questioning on whether the addendums will prevail or the Hague Rules, the counsel took the bait and changed their answer. The bench then grilled the counsel on the new answer after observing the change in their stance.

21:16: The co-counsel for the respondent begins the submission of their issues on arbitration.

21:20: The bench questions the counsel on whether the SCMA rules deal with multi-party arbitrations, like the current dispute before the tribunal.

21:25: The SCMA rules and the procedure laid under it has been extensively discussed back and forth by the judges and the counsel with regards to the number of arbitrators to be appointed. The bench concludes that there is no inconsistency between the parties’ agreement and the SCMA Rules.

21:31: Despite the late hour, both the bench and the counsel seem as enthusiastic as ever. The counsel refers to the breach of contract as a draconian effect. The judge remarks that a draconian effect only applies to society and not a commercial contract.

21:37: The bench grills the counsel on the damages that they claim to not have liability for.

21:45: The respondent post conclusion of submissions thanks the bench for a patient hearing and kind questions. The bench playfully remarks that it was an honour troubling the counsel with questions

21:49: The counsels move forward with respectful rebuttals and conclude. The bench also spares the counsels from grilling in the rebuttals.

 


VCR-6: 915 vs 918


20:03: Welcome back! The rounds have commenced after a short break! We hope that the judges are feeling refreshed as well

20:05: All of the teams are ready to put forth their arguments with renewed vigour and enthusiasm.

20:08: The judges were finally able to locate the case. However, precious time has already been lost in what could otherwise be considered to be a fairly simple point to get across.

20:11: The counsel was asked to skip this on the issue on the basis of kompetenz-kompetenz and move on to the next issue.

20:15: With the competition proceeding, we can see the counsel asking the judges several times to refer to the memorial which results in time running out.

20:17: Slowly and steadily, we are getting there as this round has proceeded at a rather slow pace till now.

20:19: Exactly one minute was granted to the counsel to summarise the rest of his submissions. Flustered, he attempts to condense months of research into a few sentences to convince the judges in his favour.

20:21: Just as he concludes, he is quizzed about the Hague rules and whether or not they have the force of law. His request for extension is also denied while the judges do not look very convinced with respect to his arguments.

20:22: Speaker 2 joins to address issues 3 and 4.

20:25: The speaker takes the help of case laws to assert that damage could have been avoided had the respondent provided the seaworthiness of the vessel.

20:26: The counsel directs the attention of the judges to the wrong page numbers. Again, precious time is lost looking for specific citations.

20:30: The speaker faces a bout of questions regarding the agreed terms between the claimant and respondent.

20:34: Albeit not very skillfully, the counsel manages to answer the judges questions. The rounds proceed with the counsel seeming dazed throughout. The counsel again makes the mistake of mentioning the wrong citation. Wrong Citation? We have all been there!

20:36: The judges deny granting the counsel one and a half minutes more. They ask him to wrap it up within a minute. The counsel makes it evident that he’s not happy about it. ‘But I have to conclude one more issue!’ The judges do not seem at all impressed by this behaviour.

20:39: The speaker appears to be confused on the connection of the Mucaster Castle case in light of clause 15, but shifts his attention to another area of the argument in an attempt to satisfy the judges. Despite being subjected to a lot of criticism on this topic for a long time, the speaker maintains a cool demeanour.

20:42: Before she could begin, the first speaker of the respondent is quizzed about the legal technicalities. However, she is unable to hear anyone due to internet issues. The judges allow her to give a monologue.

20:45: Due to exceptional circumstances, the speaker is allowed to proceed with her arguments with only minimal questioning by the judges at the end.

20:53: The counsel seems to be clueless about her arguments. She stops midway and loses her train of thought. As a result, the judges are visibly not happy with him.

20:56: After a rather lukewarm 12-minute segment in the round, the counsel finishes her submissions with time to spare. The researcher is asked to convey the questions of the judges to the speaker.

20:57: The second speaker commences arguing the final two issues.

21:02: The judges are listening intently to the speaker and ask her to shed some light on the loopholes in her arguments. The counsel answers them coolly and proceeds without any stutter.

21:07: The counsel stammers quite a lot while answering the questions posed by the judges. She doesn’t sound very convincing and appears to be unsure about her arguments.

21:08: The counsel is extremely nervous and desperately attempts to calm her nerves in order to be able to answer the question coherently. She is unable to explain why Tawe is liable if they are not privy to the contract.

21:11: Flustered because she’s unable to satisfactorily answer the judge’s questions, the counsel is told ”You have wasted our time, why should we not impose damages on you?” The counsel stammers her way through the few sentences that she manages to speak

21:13: The judges remind the first speaker of the respondent that she is yet to answer their questions. After apologizing for the technical glitches, she proceeds to defend the respondent.

21:16: We proceed to rebuttals and sur-rebuttals. The counsels are informed that there is a constraint of time. However, they fail to keep them restricted to relevant points only and are interrupted midway due to the same for a series of questioning.

21:21:The counsel for the respondent chooses to tell the prayer instead of opting for sur-rebuttals.

21:22: The counsel insists on the panel giving her additional time to present her sur-rebuttals after her prayers. The judges deny the request.

21:23: The judges deliberate among themselves in order to be able to provide feedback to the participants.

21:25: We have reached the last stop of the day. All the rounds of the first day have concluded.

 


VCR-7:926 vs 923


20:01: The Applicant begins by summarising the factual scenario before the Tribunal today.

20:05: Moving to the submissions, the counsel begins by the issue of number of arbitrators to be appointed in the Tribunal. The counsel substantiates her argument by means of the factual statement as well as refutes that there is no conflict of law in SCMA rules and International Arbitration Act due to the addendum introduced.

20:08: “Parties have not consciously applied their minds to agree to the number of arbitrators to be appointed” states the Tribunal, however the counsel caters to the question posed by contending that the wordings of the provision point to the fact that its not a compulsory provision, and in case of express contract the same cannot be applied.

20:14: The counsel, while catering to the queries of the Tribunal, moves forth with her next submission.

20:16: An extension of 1 minute has been granted to the counsel to conclude her submissions before the proceedings are taken forth by the second speaker for the Applicant

20:17: An interesting turn took place when the Tribunal asked the counsel whether it can be inferred if the applicant was themselves negligent when they agreed to go forth the trans shipment without any safeguards.

20:20: The co-counsel takes the floor and begins by addressing the query of the Tribunal regarding negligence committed by the claimant. She is able to substantiate the same with confidence for their party’s case and thereafter moves forth with her submissions regarding damages and liability.

20:26: The counsel interestingly establishes her case regarding the liability of the defendent by drawing a story line. The submissions made were further strengthened by a landmark cases decided by the House of Lords.

20:28: The counsel agreed with the bench that the duty to ensure the seaworthiness of the ship was with Cruze. The counsel argued the same beautifully in a three fold manner!

20:33: The counsel puts forth the next issue before the Tribunal now.

20:35: Due to the paucity of time, the counsel is asked to summarize the arguments in less than 30 seconds.

20:38: The respondents’ counsel takes the floor. The submissions begin on the issue of the constitution of the Arbitral Tribunal

20:46: Moving to the next submission, the counsel continues her submission by refuting any liability of Tawe in the present case. She submits that she represents Tawe and jointly with her co-counsel is here for Tawe and Cruz

20:56: An extension of 30 seconds is granted to the counsel to conclude her submissions.

20:57: The second speaker for the respondent takes the floor and begins with the question of liability of the respondent in the present case

21:02: The submissions by the counsel continues and she confidently establishes further in favor of the respondents.

21:05: The counsel now proceeds to the issue of damages and the quantum of the same.

21:08: The counsel is questioned on the privity of contract and agent-principal relationship

21:09: An extension of a minute was granted, after which an additional 30 seconds granted to the counsel to sum up her submissions.

21:10: The applicants begin with their rebuttals. The counsel highlights that Cruz has not refuted the present arbitration process. Also, there is no conflict as per the counsel therefore raising no question of applicability of IAA. Moreover, the counsel states that the respondent’s liability ends in Chennai and not Columbia as per the factual background. The counsel established a strong case for her party by making the rebuttals.

21:15: The counsel for the respondent begins her sur-rebuttals by stating that IAA is very well applicable to the present case which was backed up by authorities. She also states several other points which cater to the points raised by the applicants in their rebuttal.

21:19: The rounds conclude with both the teams having made their case brilliantly. It was indeed a round full of interesting arguments and strong advocacy skills.

 


VCR-8: 902 vs 920


20:20: This round in VCR-8 has been cancelled for now. We will update the teams with future developments regarding the rounds.


DAY 1 | 24TH MARCH 2022
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS – SESSION 3 CONCLUDES!


DAY 2 | 25TH MARCH 2022
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS
SOS SESSION 


VCR-8: 902 vs 920


9:59: Welcome back! It’s an unusually early morning for us, slightly unplanned sure but we are very excited to bring you the coverage from the SoS session which will start very shortly. Do note that this round is being held as session 3 in VCR 8 had to be canceled due to unforeseen issues. Those teams will go head-to-head today in the SoS session after which we shall resume normal service of Sessions 4 and 5.
10:01: The SOS round starts with a lot of trepidation after the rescheduling. The judge tries to unnerve the counsel by asking them to state facts crisply.
10:09: Looks like it’s getting tense in the morning! The judge asks a complicated question on the applicability of Hague Rules in the dispute causing the first speaker to pause and think. Unsatisfied with the response, the judge seeks to follow-up constantly causing the counsel to stutter. This judge seems like a tough nut to crack.
10:14: A verbal parry has ensued between the Counsel and judge on the issue of the nature of Hague Rules for the last ten minutes. The judge makes a sarcastic comment, “I didn’t know there were COMSTAT rules for 1994 as well.” Counsel apologises and says it must be the 1971 rules.
10:19: The first speaker requests a 5 minute extension but the judge is disinclined to provide one. He proceeds to begrudgingly provide a 3 minute extension due to the Counsel’s inability to reach the next issue.
10:22: The judge asks twice whether Tawe is an underlying carrier but counsel proceeds to argue that they are a sub-contractor. Judge comments, “I believe I have to speak louder” and laughs.
10:28: The judge engages in some banter with the teams, “Are you enjoying the moot?” Counsel complains about the SoS rounds to which he replies, “Other teams had 3 rounds so you must adjust as well”. The judge encourages the respondents to speak after seeing them sitting quietly. 
10:32: Claimants start arguing that we need a sole arbitrator for the dispute and the judge interjects “I believe you need to argue that you need 3 arbitrators on the panel”
10:35: The second speaker has conceded that SCMA rules would apply, the judge points out that rule 30 of the relevant rules would apply and consequently, the International Arbitration Act would apply. However, the counsel counters that it is a non-mandatory provision by citing a jurist’s writing. Upon questioned by the judges, counsel has no answer as to whether a jurist’s writing would have any value in a tribunal/court applying English Common Law. Unsatisfied with the lack of proof provided by the counsel in this regard whether the relevant provision of the International Arbitration Act is mandatory, the judge goes on to barrage the counsel with multiple questions.
10:42: The judge accuses the counsel of complete ignorance of relevant facts of the problem by citing the addendum which states that the relevant provision that the counsel is citing, stands deleted. As a result, their arguments regarding the valuation of damages are invalidated.
10:48: The second speaker is unable to convince the panel regarding the applicability of the relevant rules and the Hague rules as force of law and that they’re merely a contractual obligation. The judge tries to seek clarifications, however, the speaker ignores and moves on to their further submissions.
10:53: Visibly annoyed, the judge in a teaching moment clarifies to the counsel that the Hague Visby rules are inapplicable to this dispute and the same cannot be used by them to escape the clear negligence committed by them.
10:59: In contrast to the first half of the rounds, the panel listens attentively to the respondents’ first speaker’s submissions. The judge interjects by saying that they must abide by the SCMA rules which provide for multiple arbitrators. Therefore, there is no inconsistency as the counsel states.
11:03: Rules 9.1 and 9.2 of SCMA clearly states that 3 arbitrators have to be appointed in cases of multi-party arbitrations. However, counsel argues that section 9 of the International Arbitration Act is mandatory in nature in terms of statutory interpretation and thus would prevail over SCMA. The judge asks for some relevant case law that would substantiate the same but Counsel pleads ignorance.
11:10: Bluff masters in the house? The first Speaker 1 from the respondents’ side cites a case to support their submissions. But when the judge probes about the case, the principles cited by the counsel from the case are not present anywhere in the case law itself. The judge remarks, “So you have been bluffing all this time?”.
11:14: The judge remarks, “Are you questioning the prudence of this tribunal by insisting on a single arbitrator on the grounds that you’re broke? Give us some money, fill our pockets we’ll give you an expeditious solution.” The panel finally remarks that the counsel was unable to convince them substantially.
11:20: The judge questions the second speaker as they start their submissions that, “Can you deny your liability on the basis of equity since you were negligent?”
11:26: When asked what laws under Common law would be applicable to the parties, the parties cite a case to show that not all acts are mandatorily applicable upon parties simply because they’ve submitted to Common Law. However, the panel finds the conclusions stated to be ludicrous and asks for specific reference to the page in the compendium. The judge contends that any and all acts under English Common law would be inapplicable.
11:32: The counsel hurriedly tries to answer the barrage of questions posed by the panel and the judge requests, “Counsel pause for a while and take a deep breath. Please understand the question”. In a teaching moment, the judge says that the counsel must educate themselves about lex arbitri, procedural laws and contractual interpretation and how it may be applied. Due to the counsel’s constant interruptions the judge annoyedly points out, “Please let the judges finish their questions.”
11:37: The second speaker argues that Tawe has no liability in this case whatsoever and shifts the entire burden on Cruze at which the judge laughs and comments, “So the claimant is without any remedy?”
11:41:  In yet another attempt at educating the counsels, the judges point out the constant points of negligence committed by Tawe including failure to include a radar and providing a seaworthy vessel, they have a certain liability under Hague rules that override the COMBICON rules according to the contract. However, the judge is seemingly dissatisfied with the submissions. The judge points out that the respondents should have done their due diligence while agreeing to the the terms of the contract.
11:47: Annoyed with the extensive submissions given on the issue of lack of Tawe’s liability, they direct counsel to proceed to the quantum of damages. The counsel’s subsequent attempts to satisify the panel are held to be in complete ignorance of facts.
11:49: The second speaker refuses to concede on applicability of any of the rules. Judge remarks, “If you wanted to contract out of applicability of any and all rules you should’ve gone for a mediation.”
11:55: The judge is reminded that counsels may present rebuttals to which he replies, “I feel we have exhausted every argument that was to be said but they may proceed.”
12:02: In a surprising turn of events, the panel asks questions to the counsel on their sur-rebuttals and clarifies the rebuttals presented by applicants. However, the sur-rebuttals provided are unsatisfactory and the judge points out that the counsels are egregiously wrong on their understanding of the applicability and interpretation of law.
12:02: The rounds finally conclude on a slightly nervous note. This brings an end to an engaging round where there was a lot of back and forth discussions between the judges and the counsels. We will be back from 1:30 pm onwards for Session-4!

DAY 2 | 25TH MARCH 2022
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS – SOS SESSION CONCLUDES!


DAY 2 | 25TH MARCH 2022
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS 
SESSION-4

VCR-1: 927 vs 910


13:23: The Courtroom is set, and the teams are ready. The Preliminary Round has begun in full swing in the courtroom, with an unbridled enthusiasm!

13:24: The first Counsel begin with her submissions. She provides a succinct and concise outline of the structure of her arguments.

13:26: The counsel is putting forth her grounds by keeping the attention of judges on specific clauses cited by her.

13:28: As the Counsel is moving ahead with her submissions, she retains a balanced bearing on the factual context of the present case. She seems to be well versed with each and every fact involved in the proposition.

13:29: The counsel moves to her second submission with no incoming questions from the panel. It seems that the judges are having no queries in response to the case presented by the counsel.

13:31: After almost 11 minutes of submissions, finally the counsel received a question from the panel which she countered in an elegant manner and the counsel was able to satisfy the judges with her submission.

13:33: Rather than limiting her submissions to either factual context or legal context, it can be observed that the counsel is following a balanced and prepared approach by taking both the contexts in a graceful way.

13:35: With no queries from the panel, the counsel successfully submitted her grounds. The floor is now open for the second speaker to take the podium.

13:36: Second Counsel starts with the fourth issue.

13:38: With uninterrupted presentation from the second Counsel, the courtroom is maintaining a positive atmosphere. Though with no questions from the panel, it may seem that there are slightly less productive discussions taking place.

13:41: While both the counsels are well versed with what they intend to present, it can be concluded from the external view that the first counsel was more certain and composed in her approach.

13:44: There seems to be a similarity and extensive background work from submissions of both the Counsels as both of them are following the same approach in their submissions, i.e., citing legal precedents and attaching it to the facts of the present case.

13:45: Judges still pose no queries. Counsel is maintaining his hold over his submissions and constantly keeping check with the satisfaction of the judges.

13:47: The second Counsel completed his submission by presenting claimant’s prayer before the allotted time.

13:48: The first counsel of respondents proceeded with his submissions after laying down the structure which he will be following in his presentation.

13:50: There arises no queries from the part of panel. Counsel is presenting his submissions relentlessly.

VCR 1

13:54: In the Courtroom, the atmosphere is becoming more and more monotonous. An energetic response is in utmost need from the panel.

14:00: Finally a question came from the panel regarding the intention of the parties in the present case. The second Counsel answered the query in a positive note.

14:01: The first counsel asked for an extra 30 seconds to complete his second argument.

14:02: The first counsel completes his presentation. Judges, who are as cool as before, gives the permission to the respondents’ second counsel to take the floor.

14:05: The second counsel retains the attention of the panel on her submissions by referring to particular sections and facts of the case.

14:09: The counsel is proceeding with her submissions in a graceful manner, while at the same time asking for satisfaction of the panel time to time.

14:13: The judge asked the 2nd counsel to expand her argument over the intention aspect in her submissions.

14:14: One of the judges directly questioned the liability behind the actions which respondents are trying to protect.

14:16: The counsel answered the query which was met with a satisfactory response from the panel and thereafter proceeded with the 4th submission.

14:17: Counsel asked for an extension of time of 2 minutes to complete her submission.

14:18: It is to be noted that while the claimants completed their submission before the completion of their time limit, both the counsels of respondents have asked for extra time.

14:20: Time’s up but prayer is still left. The counsel proceeded to complete her prayer. Time management could be the effective tool in deterring the position or marking scheme of both the parties in the present case.

14:21: Following the extensive deliberations on part of all the counsels, we will proceed to the rebuttal and sur-rebuttal stage.

14:22: Claimants put forward their rebuttals in less than 1 min. It seems either they are fast in putting across their submission or they have failed to find loopholes in the respondents’ case.

14:25: Rounds have been completed successfully. Judges have gathered in the judges room to discuss the marking scheme and feedback that will be provided to both teams.


VCR-2: 902 vs 921


13:35: The war bell has rung and the fierce oral rounds for session 4 has started. The first counsel is enthusiastically proceeding with his arguments. The absence of research on the applicants’ side does not seem to have brought down their spirit in any way.

13:38: The counsel has taken pace and is confidently proceeding with submissions on basis of the IAA. The counsel is aggressively arguing on the mandatory clause of the agreement.

13:42: The arguments have taken a turn where the counsel can be seen resorting to their own memo and citing parts of the Hague Visby Rules too. The Counsel has an air of confidence engulfing him which is enabling him to present his arguments smoothly and structurally.

13:45: The internet connection issues are severe and haven’t spared the judges either! It may be difficult to judge the Counsel given the constant disruptions but hopefully the scenario will change in some time.

13:47: One of the judges in this particular Court room is engaging with the Counsel at some points seeking clarification on arguments and posing relevant questions too. The Counsel, in every way tried to, frame answers for the same but abruptly got disconnected.

13:50: The Counsel has returned in full swing and is knocking away the questions spun at him proceeding to the final limb of his argument. The Counsel is seen emphasizing on the liability of the defendants claiming an exorbitant sum in the form of damages. It seems like the judges were satisfied with the submission before them since they refrained from asking any questions further.

13:55: The second counsel of the applicants has taken the floor. She looks equally confident and has started with her arguments blazingly. She has, however, been stopped by one of the judges with a genuine and brief question which has been excellently answered by the counsel citing a prominent case law.

14:00: The counsel is seen carefully building up on her arguments using concepts of bailment and sub-bailment. She has strided onto her final submission regarding the due diligence and breach of duty on part of the defendants justifying the claim made by the applicants.

14:05: The Counsel can be seen emphasizing on modern technology wielded in weather radars but this limb of the argument is objected by one of the judges who intends to question the accuracy of technology altogether.

14:08: After the Counsel has presented her submissions, she is countered with a question on the Himalayan clause which has been beautifully cleared by the Counsel with a soothing smile.

14:11: The baton has passed on to the Respondent side but the first counsel has encountered severe connectivity issues and the respondent side has proposed a unique solution of starting off with the submissions of the second counsel.

VCR-2

14:15: The second counsel is thus seen aggressively defending his party but there are certain gap areas identified by one of the judges who is politely asking for more more clarification on the same.

14:17: The initial arguments entail the nitty-gritties of the limitation of liability along with the intricacies of the bill of lading in question. With 5 minutes left in hand, the Counsel is being fired with questions from the judges.

14:21: The Counsel is seen quoting and elaborating on the various rules and provisions used in their memorial in an attempt to substantiate the Respondents’ side.

14:24: Finally after resenting the last two arguments, the mic has been passed on to the first Counsel who has finally been able to get hold of a stable connection. He looks a little nervous due to the rocky start and is advocating for the appointment of a sole arbitrator.

14:28: It seems like the Counsel has still not got hold of a stable internet connection because the persistent disruptions have made it difficult for judges and the other participants to comprehend his submissions. Despite the minor consistencies, the show is going on.

14:30: The Counsel has been thrown off-track by one of the judges who has posed a query which doesn’t seem to have been answered with conviction. Nonetheless, the judge has been kind enough to let the Counsel proceed with his other arguments.

14:33: The network glitches seem impossible to be tackled on the part of the first counsel who has been struggling to submit his arguments from the very beginning of the rounds. There has been a turn of events where the first speaker has given up on his network and resorted to his co-counsel for aid. The second counsel has thus lent his device to his co-counsel.

14:38: The first counsel is now pacing with his arguments and his voice can finally be heard with clarity and lesser impediments. The counsel ended his submissions with a sincere apology for the inevitable virtual world issues.

13:43: The rebuttal rounds have commenced and the first counsel from the applicant side is seen vehemently refuting certain parts of the arguments used by the defendants. The defendants have successfully catered to the questions put forth by the applicant side in the sur-rebuttal round.

13:48: With an end to this wonderfully quirky and consistently inconsistent round, the judges have been sent to their respective rooms to deliberate upon the scoresheet and performance of the participants, we hope that the internet connection is kind to the participants in the following rounds!


VCR-3: 915 vs 925


13:43: Due to connectivity issues from the judges’ side, there was a delay in the initiation of oral rounds.

13:44: The first counsel from the claimants’ side begins with their submissions regarding issues 1 and 2 respectively.

13:46: The arbitrator asks the counsel to furnish more clarification regarding the application of judgements in this particular case.

13:38: Even after incessant questioning by the judges, the counsel proceeds with great confidence makes seemingly satisfactory arguments

13:51: The counsel submits that the SCMA rules will precede and there should be 3 arbitrators appointed, the counsel goes on to explain in great detail and substantiate their arguments suing several case laws.

13:55: The arbitrator again attempts to baffle the counsel with an intensely long question but the counsel seems unfazed and gives a satisfactory response.

13:59: The counsel proceeds to establish their last limb of the submissions stating that, the Hague Rules supersede any other rule as it has force of law in the present contract.

14:02: The second counsel begins with their submissions regarding issue numbers 3 and 4 respectively regarding the liability of the respondents and the amount of damages the claimants are entitled to.

14:05: The judge asks the counsel to furnish any fact findings regarding how exactly the loss occurred and in what specific circumstances. Also, the judge asked the counsels about the exact meaning of ‘seaworthiness’.

14:06: The counsel attempts to respond to the judge’s two-fold question and draws their attention towards the case study but unfortunately the counsel is not able to give a satisfactory answer.

VCR-3

14:12: The counsel proceeds to submit that Respondent 2 is liable due to lack of due diligence and cruise is rendered unseaworthy which was the duty of the respondent.

14:16: The judge asks the counsel to apply the Hague Rules in the current case and establish a direct connection between the bill of lading and the loss occurred.

14:19: The counsel receives an extension of 2 minutes to summarise their submissions.

14:21: The first counsel for the respondent side begins with their submissions regarding the first issue and a sub issue of the second issue.

14:26: The counsel disagrees with the judge’s contention regarding what law will govern the arbitration and submits that the institutional laws will not override the International Arbitration Act of Singapore.

14:30: The judge asks the counsel that why would the party autonomy be overridden? They also asked to justify how the International Arbitration Act will have precedence over SCMA rules?

14:36: The counsel receives an extension of 2 minutes to summarise their submissions.

14:39: The second counsel for respondents’ side begins with their submissions regarding the remaining issues.

14:42: The counsel continues to establish the overriding effect that the Hague rules will have over SCMA rules.

14:46: The judge again interjects to ask the counsel to establish how in the current case the applicability of Hague Rules will take place in order to decide the liability

14:50: The counsel seems utterly baffled by the question asked by the judge but smartly attempts to evade it by moving on with their submissions.

14:53: The judge directs the counsel to clarify the position regarding who is the carrier and the consignee to further establish the liability of the respondents. In response, the counsel seemingly gives an unsatisfactory answer.

14:56: The counsel makes the last limb of their submissions by submitting that the Himalaya clauses can be considered valid exemptions with regards to establishing liability

15:00: The counsel concludes their submissions by submitting the final arguments regarding the damages to be decided in the current case

15:04: The counsel for the claimants conclude their case by submitting their rebuttals.

 


VCR-4: 920 vs 911


13:31: The round has started. The first speaker from team code 920 has taken the floor.

13:33: The speaker has confidently taken charge of the courtroom. Maybe, they are very assured about their chances in this round.

13:36: The Bench has taken to questioning as well. Till now, the speaker has been handling those questions with perfect composure.

13:40: The Speaker braved through the network glitches she was facing and continued with her submission in full force!

13:41: The Bench directed a “Where is the seat of arbitration, Counsel?” at the Speaker and a follow up question after that, which the Speaker breezed through!

13:43: Good going! The Speaker continues keeping the Bench and the Court captivated with her crisp submissions!

13:45: The Speaker has concluded her submissions and the floor now belongs to the second speaker.

13:48: The Speaker has a slight tremor in her voice while answering the question directed by the Bench at her, but she has been putting up a very brave face and keeping it under control!

13:50: “Why are you so adamant that it serves the Claimants better if the Hague Visby Rules apply instead of the Hague Rules?” The Bench asked the Speaker, which the Speaker started to address, only to become prey to yet another connected question from the Bench!

13:53: After a certain point raised by the Speaker, the Bench continued to go just as hard on her by directing a “We suggest you abandon that line of argument, Counsel.” However, the Speaker, this time, had a case law up her sleeve to substantiate her argument with!

14:00: The Speaker is rapidly running out of time! Will she have enough time to complete her submissions to the best of her abilities?

14:02: Less than a minute left for the Speaker to finish her submissions and the desperation on her face is showing! But she still manages to articulate her thoughts and arguments perfectly!

14:08: It has been several minutes since the time was up for the Speaker, but her arguments managed to enthrall the Bench enough for them to take no notice of it. The judges allow her to continue with her speech.

VCR-4

14:10: 911 S1 has now taken the floor.

14:14: “Counsel, I will stop you right here and ask you a very simple question. What according to you is the procedural law for arbitration?” the Bench has directed this brain stormer at the Speaker, which turned out to be a trick question and looks like the Speaker walked right into that one!

14:26: Looks like this Speaker also has a lot to submit! Several minutes since her time was up and the Bench continues to listen to her without interrupting!

14:28: The second speaker has now taken the floor representing team code 911.

14:30: The Bench has a lot of questions for this speaker it seems, answers to which need to be substantiated and corroborated upon with the written submissions!

14:37: The Speaker continues with her submissions, not deterred by the plethora of questions coming her way!

14:45: The Speaker is finally done with her submissions, and now it is time for the rebuttals.

14:46: Team code 920 is back with a slew of rebuttals!

14:50: Team code 920 is done with their rebuttals and boy, there were so many of them! Enough for the Team to actually ask for an extension of 10 seconds!

14:51: Team code 911 is now slicing through the rebuttals of Team code 920!

14:52: After an epic fight in the rebuttals round, we conclude session 4 in VCR-4. Stay tuned for more sessions and more mooting!

 


VCR-5: 923 vs 916


13:40: The counsel for claimant starts off the first preliminary round for the day here in VCR-4 by making their submissions on the composition of the Arbitral Tribunal.

13:45: In a tense atmosphere, the counsel makes submissions of the implicit agreement between the parties on the application of the SCMA Rules.

13:49: Submissions regarding the unseaworthiness of the vessel supplied by the respondents are made by the counsel. Further, the applicability of the Hague Rules is discussed by the counsel.

13:55: Yielding the floor to their co-counsel, the first counsel for the claimant escapes from rigorous questioning.

14:00: The counsel makes comprehensive submissions on the duty of care that flows from the contract and the liability of the carrier.

14:06: The bench questions the counsel on the tests of negligence and asks for authorities on the same.

14:10: With an extension of time, the counsel races to the finish mark, concluding with their submissions on causation and liability.

14:14: The counsel for respondent begins confidently and explains the facts for the panel.

14:17: Submissions regarding the application of the International Arbitration Act and the liability clause are made.

14:22: The applicability of Hague Rules is submitted to be only valid from tackle-to-tackle period. Further, the counsel submits that reasonable endavours were made to prevent damage.

VCR-5

14:26: The bench aggressively questions the counsel on the duty of care of the respondents and the failure to perform the same. However, the counsel does not crack under pressure and continues to answer calmly.

14:29: The counsel addresses the bench’s questions on the applicability of the Himalaya clause and the unseaworthiness of the vessel.

14:32: The co-counsel now takes the floor and makes their submissions regarding the conflict of laws, contractual intention of applicability and the liability of Tawe and Cruze.

14:39: After some technical issues, the counsel resumes their submissions on how the bill of lading saves the respondents from liability.

14:49: The counsel makes their submissions on the non-applicability of the Hague Rules.

14:50: Trying their best to battle technical glitches and the intensity of the questioning, the counsel races towards the end of submissions on the side of the respondent.

14:54: The claimants’ rebuttals contribute further to the tense atmosphere in the room.

14:54: The respondents do not back down from a fight and submit an equally fiery rebuttal, concluding an extremely intense round.

 


VCR-6: 926 vs 904


13:36: The rounds have commenced! It’s a new day and every is here with renewed zeal and vigor to win this. May luck be in their favour and may the best team come out as the winner!

13:38: The first counsel gracefully answers the question regarding the ‘clause paramount’ and was apparently able to satisfy the judges with the answer.

13:41: Confident and poised, she puts her point across and deals with tricky questions skillfully. So far, so good!

13:44: Oops! Looks like the counsel is being grilled by both the judges regarding the application of the SCMA rules. While this can seem intimidating to most, the speaker seems to have no problem answering their questions. Her confidence is unwavering.

13:47: The speaker continues, her team members nodding in unison. The judges ask her to provide some precedents. The counsel answers in affirmative but doesn’t specify what the precedents are. After some probing by the judges, she very vaguely directs them to her compendium. All this while, the team have been losing precious time.

13:51: The clock is ticking and looks like the counsel is rushing to finish her arguments in whatever little time she is left with.

13:52: Jurisdictional Importance! “But we are not in UK, so why should be follow this?” The judges are intrigued to know why the counsel is basing her arguments on just the presuasive value of UK law, as the counsel contends.

13:53: The counsel is quizzed regarding the facts of the case. Turns out, she’s very well-versed in them and has no problem coming up with the right answers!

13:55: “Show me another rule or something else, this is not applicable!” The counsel seems flustered after the judge’s remarks but she quickly gains composure and answers the question. But looks like her answers aren’t good enough and the judges do not seem very happy about it.

13:58: The second speaker begins and the judges have started their line of questioning already.

VCR-6

14:01: The grilling has begun! The counsel however seems very unfazed by it. Her overall demeanour is very calm and poised which must’ve sure helped her score brownie points.

14:05: The rounds seem to be progressing smoothly, with minimal questioning.

14:13: “So you agree that you have failed to provide them with all the details when you didn’t tell them to the value of the goods?” The counsel agrees, albeit reluctantly. The counsel pleads on the basis of morality and contends that they should be concerned about the people on the vessel. “How can they send a vessel to the seas that is not seaworthy? Think of the people!” The counsel seems enraged.

14:09: “I am sorry, but is this an appropriate forum to deal with torts?”, ask the judges. The counsel answers that even if not with tort, the claimant would like to go ahead with bailment. When asked to provide a precedent, the counsel denies by stating that she has two more issues to cover. Turns out, this isn’t a smart move. After some more questions, she decides to abandon this argument. The judges do not seem very impressed by this.

14:14: Seems like the counsel can already predict what the respondents will argue and tries to provide satisfactory counters during her pleadings.

14:18: The judges do not look very happy. “You haven’t satisfied us with respect to our jurisdiction, so I don’t understand how you are proceeding?” The researchers come to the rescue and save the day by providing an answer for the same.

14:21: Uh-oh! The counsel is flustered, the judges are not impressed and she has already exceeded her time limit by a huge margin. The counsel tries to pacify it by ensuring the judges that she will read about every answer that she has been unable to give during the rebuttal rounds. What good will that do, one might wonder.

14:25: From the looks of it, time is an illusion for the counsel and she proceeds with her submissions, even after exceeding her time limit by a huge margin.

14:28: “You should have reminded us and asked us for extensions!” The judges are enraged and ask her to wrap it up quickly.

14:30: “Not at all satisfactory.” The flustered counsel quickly summarises her arguments and steps down after what seems like an eternity.

14:33: The judges are baffled! “You say its an honour to argue before the Tribunal but your co-counsel says in the chat that it is a gross miscarriage of justice!” 

14:37: The virtual courtroom is in chaos! When unable to answer the question, muffled whispers which eventually proceeded to become loud screams could be heard from the speaker’s background.

14:44: The counsel suddenly becomes quiet and tries peeking at previously prepared material by her team when she’s unable to answer the judges.

14:47: The counsel is shivering, she goes completely still when the judges grill her. There’s complete silence and her other team members are in distress.

14:50: She accepts defeat! “Madam arbitrator, I do not have an answer for that. I apologise.”

14:51: Apparently exceeding time limits is the defining feature of the teams in this courtroom. The respondent’s first counsel also has exceeded her time limit by a considerable amount.

14:53: After a lot of shaky remarks like “I am not sure Mister arbitrator” and “I don’t know”, the counsel tries to explain how all sorts of hurricanes are natural disasters. The judges think otherwise.

VCR-6

14:54: The second counsel steps in. Let’s watch if he can undo the damage and redeem the rounds for the team

14:57: So far, so good! The counsel argues confidently and everyone in the courtroom listens in awe.

15:02: The round is progressing smoothly with minimal questioning.

15:06: The judges seem impressed by the counsel and do not question him regarding his arguments.

15:08: Trouble has started brewing for the counsel! His arguments lack proper legal reasoning and the judges grill him regarding the loopholes in the arguments.

15:13: Following suit, the counsel has been speaking for more time than what was originally allotted to him.

15:19: The counsel concludes with the prayer.

15:20: Speaker for the claimant begins with her rebuttals. She has kept her promise – she indeed has come prepared with answers that she was previously unable to answer during her submissions.

15:26: The counsel is one of the lucky few who get extensions during the rebuttals also. But just like last time, she goes on and on. The judges however, do not seem to mind that and are intrigued to listen to her arguments.

15:29: There is a total disregard of time limits in this courtroom. The counsel for the respondent finishes with his sur-rebuttals. But the judges need more clarity and have more questions for him.

15:32: The teams have joined the prep rooms and the judges deliberate among themselves.

15:39: We are beginning with the feedback for the participants. For the readers, we will resume our live-blogging in session 5 which starts from 5:30 pm. We are so excited for the last preliminary round i.e. Session 5 before we start with the knockout rounds tomorrow!

 


VCR-7: 918 vs 919


13:31: The new day begins with energized teams making their submissions with full confidence.

13:33: The applicant is asked not to deal with the submissions regarding the number of arbitrators since the respondent has already agreed to have Singapore as the seat of arbitration.

13:35: The counsel proceeds with her further submissions stating that SCMA rules will govern the proceedings today.

13:38: The next point raised by the applicant is that the panel shall consist of three members instead of one.

13:39: The Tribunal is perplexed regarding the application of International Arbitration Act since the seat is already decided to be Singapore. Moreover, the counsel is also asked to justify the same with the help of a test as proposed by law.

13:40: The counsel handles the question well and is able to convince the Tribunal with her explanation

13:45: While a slight technical glitch halted the proceedings in the courtroom, it has now resumed in full swing.

13:46: The submissions continue with the counsel’s argument regarding the damages caused by the defendant and the counsel lays reliance on the Hague Visby Rules and Bill of Lading

13:47: The Tribunal questions on the basis of the addendum which provides for discharge of liability (which ends when goods leave Odyssefs)

13:50: A long series of questions follows on the arguments put forth in this regard, and the authorities being cited by the counsel are also heavily questioned. The counsel dodges the questions, however the judges do not appear to be convinced with her line of reasoning.

13:52: With a little skepticism on the part of the judges for the submissions of the first counsel, it is now time to judge the second speaker. Time will tell if the second speaker is able to turn the tables!

13:54: The second counsel begins by addressing the issue of liability. She makes her primary submission confidently.

13:57: The judges cite their difficulty in understanding the submissions being made in the regard of Hague Rules being applicable vide a contract, and how the defendants cannot use the Bill of Lading for their defence.

13:59: The counsel puts forth the justification for the same in terms of the relationship of bailment which exists. However, the judges do not appear to be convinced.

14:00: “There exists a legal impediment” the judges exclaim! The Tribunal continues to pose questions to the counsel and express their hesitance to uphold the arguments being made by the counsel.

14:03: After a nail-biting series of questions, the counsel finally proceeds to her last submission regarding the damages that the applicant is entitled to.

14:04: The counsel heavily relies on judgements of the past from different courts and authorities to establish that the sum of 6 million dollars as damages is justified, and must be paid by the defendants at the earliest.

14:05: The counsel manages her time well, and is able to complete her submissions and further her prayer to the Tribunal.

14:10: The respondent begins with his submissions by stating that the parties have not agreed to multi-member arbitration, and hence only a sole arbitrator must preside over the proceedings.

VCR-7

14:13: “It is a solvable problem” as stated by the Tribunal. From the same judgment that the counsel pointed to previously, the Tribunal cites a few lines which highlights the issue they have with the arguments being made.

14:15: An interesting situation develops in the courtroom, and it is with finesse that the counsel tries to tackle the rapid questioning. He continues to maintain his stance, and justify the same.

14:17: The Tribunal continues with their questions on the issue. The counsel handles them beautifully.

14:19: The counsel finally proceeds to the next submission regarding the question of liability.

14:20: The counsel begins by reiterating the same concern that the Tribunal had raised when the claimant was making their submissions in this regard. Relevant cases are also cited to strengthen their stance.

14:21: “What is your position on Article 3 Rule 8 of the Hague Rules?” asks the Tribunal. The same guides the counsel to move to his next submission which very well addresses the concern of the Tribunal

14:24: The counsel yields the floor to the second speaker who takes over to address the issues of liability and damages payable thereafter.

14:28: The counsel sails smoothly through his submissions. Just when it looked like the Tribunal is convinced, the judge questions the counsel stating that he was unable to comprehend his submissions and his party’s stance on the issue

14:29: The counsel quickly caters to the issues of the Tribunal and proceeds to the issue of damages and its quantum.

14:30: To establish their case, the respondent outlines the factual background to enable the Tribunal to appreciate the facts in light of which the defendants submit their arguments.

14:32: “Greater weight is to be attached to the contractual obligations.” submits the counsel. He states that the contract between the parties must prevail over the Hague Rules.

14:33: The counsel now proceeds to his prayer.

14:34: Before the round ends, the counsel encounters one last question from the Tribunal regarding the gold value. The counsel clarifies that the clause paramount in the addendum clearly states that the stance taken by the respondent is justified.

13:37: With a little less than one minute remaining on the clock, the respondents step down.

13:38: The applicant makes few befitting points as rebuttals on the submissions made by the respondent.

13:39: The respondent now states their points of sur-rebuttals. He keeps it short and to-the-point.

13:40: The rounds concluded successfully, with both the teams having put forth their points meticulously.

 


VCR-8: 913 vs 909


13:31: The round starts with speaker 1 from claimant’s side confidently stating facts. The judge however, insists that the first point to be shown is whether this Arbitration Tribunal has jurisdiction in order for them to proceed.
13:33: Merits before Jurisdiction, is that even possible? The counsel insists that their next speaker would cover the jurisdiction issue. In a teaching moment, the judge clarifies that the jurisdiction issue must be taken up first in order to proceed on merits.
13:36: Nervously, the first speaker tries to proceed on the jurisdiction issue. However, their ignorance of the same is caught on by the panel. Dissatisfied, the panel begrudgingly allows the first speaker to proceed with other issues.
13:41: To show that Tawe and Cruze do have some liability the speaker relies on Article 4 of the Hague Rules. However the judge points out that, “This article goes against you to protect the respondents from any liability”. One of the judges directs the first speaker to Art.4(1) of the rules to show that they must rely on the same for their arguments
13:46: The judge points out that the speaker has well exceeded their time and they must ask for an extension of time. The panel then allows for a 5 minute extension
13:49: The judges point out that there is lack of privity of contract since the party involved does not have a contract with Tawe and thus, they can’t hold them liable. The judge loudly proclaims, “How are you holding Tawe liable in the lack of a contract with them?” The judges are visibly annoyed with the counsel’s lack of understanding of the question and their attempt at circumventing the questions.
13:53: The judges point out that the Counsel fails to clearly mention whether Hague Rules or Hague Visby Rules apply since only Hague Rules are directly applied through a clear contractual provision. Their memorial also reflects this confusion.
14:02: Typos exist everywhere! The first speaker seeks to conclude their arguments by stating that the liability of Tawe applies as a carrier in this case by relying on relevant paragraphs. The judge points out that the applicants have contradicted themselves in their memorial by stating that the applicants were negligent in the transactions as well and therefore must suffer liability. The first speaker apologies for the typographical error and the judge remarks, “Please be careful about the liability you impose on yourself”.
14:06: The second speaker of applicants’ side proceeds with the issue of number of arbitrators to be appointed. However, the judge insists that they get back to the jurisdiction issue.
14:09: Counsel argues that by prior agreement the seat of arbitration is Singapore and the judge contends whether rule 32 of the SCMA would apply or not. The counsel confidently answers the question that SCMA would override the International Arbitration Act through the applicability of relevant laws.
14:14: The second speaker proceeds on the second issue relating to the due diligence liability on the carrier which is non-delegable in nature.
VCR-8
14:17: The judge proceeds to badger the speaker on how they’re arriving at such a huge valuation for the goods in the absence of nature and value of goods being declared. The judge points out that Article 4 of the Hague Rules state how the valuation is to be done and the applicants are claiming in excess of that.
14:24: The judge, while reading from the factsheet, points out that in failure to declare value before shipping, they cannot claim an excess amount. Counsel argues that Article 9 of the Hague Rules have to be applied to arrive at the amount. The second speaker’s faux paus has come to a height of claiming an amount of 600 dollars instead of 600,000 dollars from the respondents.
14:29: Unsurprisingly, the judge proceeds to ask questions on the prayers presented by the counsel. Rattled by the constant questions, speaker 2 requests permission to proceed to prayers in the middle of stating his prayers.
14:33: The judge insists that the jurisdiction issue needs to be argued, then the judge requests that whether Section 9 of SCMA is mandatory be argued by the respondents
14:36: After a nervous start, the first speaker from respondents’ side proceeds to confidently argue the issues of mandatory nature of Section 9 of SCMA.
14:41: The first speaker concludes their submissions by relying on Maxwell’s rules of statutory interpretation to show the non-mandatory nature of Section 9 of SCMA.
14:48: The second speaker argues on the lack of liability of Tawe and the judge points out, “If they’re not liable then Cruze must be liable”. This is in accordance with Common law. Counsel proceeds to rely on a jurist’s writing to say that parties may only be compelled to follow relevant portions of Hague rules as they may agree.
14:55: Speaker 2 argues that Cruze enjoys an exemption from liability on the grounds that the same is supported by relevant laws. But even in the presence of liability, the quantum of damages is much reduced.
15:03: Applicants confidently rebutted each of the points presented by the respondents.
15:05: The respondents end the round on a high note by presenting their sur-rebuttals.
15:07: With this, we have concluded session 4 in VCR-8. Do join in for more updates regarding session 5 which will be starting later this evening!

DAY 2 | 25TH MARCH 2022
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS – SESSION-4 CONCLUDES!


DAY 2 | 25TH MARCH 2022
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS 
SESSION-5

VCR-1: 905 vs 926


17:29: The Courtroom is arranged and the teams are ready. The last session of the preliminary round has begun in full swing!
17:30: First counsel from the claimants’ side provides a succinct and concise outline of the structure of her argument. she proceeds with her submission after providing a brief narration of facts.
17:32: The counsel relied on the SCMA Rules in her submissions. In response, the judge objected.
17:33: The judge questioned the basis of arguments, i.e., how can claimants consider it an arbitration seat and asked for a judicial precedent to confirm her grounds.
17:35: The first counsel provided a judicial precedent which she didn’t mention in claimant’s compendium. The judge chose to consider that judicial precedent after hearing the relevant part of the judgment and accepted the argument.
17:37: The counsel is relying on the clauses of different arbitration act to further her grounds. Judges apparently seem satisfied by the counsel’s submissions.
17:38: The counsel moved to her second argument and claimed the liability on the part of defendants.
17:40: The judges are busily endeavoring to analyze the arguments of the counsels, and pouring the question on the basis of addendum provided by the claimants. But the counsel hurried over the question of the judge by saying that she is coming to that point.
17:44: Without listening to the judge calmly, the counsel is again and again interrupting the judge between his queries, which brought a series of questions in rapid succession.
17:47: With the completion of her time limit, the counsel asked for a time extension of 1 more minute to complete her submission.
17:48: Though the Counsel is successful in presenting her grounds, she seems to lose the grace of courtroom ethics.
17:49: Following the extensive deliberations and counter-questioning, the floor is handed over to the second counsel from the applicants’ side.
17:53: The second counsel is proceeding with her submissions with ease and clarity.
17:55: The bench has questioned the counsel on the the very basis of her argument and the counsel has remained undisturbed. The counsel provided succinct responses to the enquiries made by the judges. After ensuring the satisfaction of judges, the second counsel proceeded with her submissions.
17:57: The counsel is showing her elegant bearing over the arguments and is covering her for every submission step-by-step with a balanced and prepared approach, gaining a good impression of the judges.
17:58: In response to the counsel’s argument’s nature, the judge has posed a query and questioned the whole arguments. Unless the counsel provides compelling evidence, her arguments may be dismissed.
17:59: It has happened again! even the second counsel lost her patience during the questions put forward by the judge!
18:00: Upon being questioned over the issue which has to be covered by the first counsel. The second counsel, though visibly shaken, is doing everything she can to keep a calm manner. But she is not able to answer the queries and asked the permission of the judge to allow her co-counsel to clear the respective in rebuttals. This causes apparent dissatisfaction for the judges.
18:02: The Bench is now interrogating the participants by asking them a series of questions in rapid succession. Meanwhile, the speaker retains her composure.
18:04: In order to complete his or her presentation, the second counsel requests an additional two minute of time. The reply appears to have lost her ability to maintain her calm and control, and she rushes to finish her points before the time limit. Meanwhile, respondents appear to be in a state of calm, maybe trying to manifest positive things out of these rounds?
18:06: One of the judges is questioning the second counsel on the basis of arguments which she has already provided and the second counsel instead of listening to his queries calmly at first hand, tries to impose her answers by stating that is precisely the information she wishes to convey.
18:07: A better argument has been presented, but the judge does not agree with it and has given up hope of hearing it again and asks the counsel to continue with the rest of their arguments.
18:08: The judges are still alive! Questions about technical issues are being batted about.
18:10: The judge is constantly trying to explain what he wants to hear but the counsel is taking time to come to the point and satisfy the panel with her answers.
18:11: Time is already up. Claimants have still not concluded their arguments. This is not good time management by the claimants.
18:11: The second counsel concluded her submission by saying ‘I am concluding my arguments’ but forgot to present her prayer! This faux pas will definitely cost the marks to the claimants.
18:12: Respondents took the floor with brimming energy and started her arguments confidently.
18:14: The judges are paying close attention to the submissions of the first counsel who is successfully presenting her grounds by backing them up with relevant legal grounds.
18:16: Upon being questioned by the judge, the first counsel satisfies the panel and asks to move ahead. But here we go, the judge is again in the field with his grilling!
18:20: Upon being asked by the judge on the liability aspect, respondents quickly choose to answer that they are not at all liable and in accordance with the cited rules, they are not liable to pay anything.
18:21: The second counsel is back with her confidence, but the judge is analyzing each and every argument with careful scrutiny and they directly attack the very basis of her arguments.
18:23: Though the counsel is trying to answer the queries, another level of nervousness can be seen on the side of claimants.
18:23: A member of the bench has questioned counsel on the technicalities of her case, and the counsel has stayed calm and delivered short crisp responses to the enquiries.
18:24: With only 30 seconds left, the second counsel is quickly trying to complete her submissions.
18:25: Times up! And even the respondents fail to adhere to the time limits.
18:26: In order to wrap up her submissions, respondent 2 requests an additional two minutes of time.
18:27: Something different can be seen in the presentation of the first counsel, that he is able to display higher listening capability.
18:28: The judge is again and again stressing over any liability to be taken by the respondents. But in response to this, the first counsel is very clear with her factual as well as legal version that they are not liable.
18:29: Panel seems to be satisfied and now the floor is handed over to the second counsel.
18:30: Something unique can be observed in the presentation style of the second Counsel. She is extremely clear in her submissions and she gracefully proceed with her issue to let the panel understand her stance.
18:32: The second counsel with certainty strikes the claimants’ arguments. In response, the judges seem to be agreeable with the contentions put forth by the second counsel.
18:33: The judge who has set the ground in this courtroom with his grilling is carefully listening to the submissions presented by the second counsel with a consenting tone.
18:35: Strength is visible in the submissions of the second counsel by how she is whacking the already set grounds of claimants.
18:37: New energy can be seen in the courtroom when the judge brought up the criminal aspect on negligence in the ground presented by the second counsel, but counsel seems not to get shaken with the bombardment of extra questions.
18:40: “Where there is a right, there is a remedy”, the second counsel very confidently answers the query of judge and satisfies the panel.
18:44: The second counsel is proceeding with her submissions in a delicate way and has succeeded in inviting satisfaction of the panel.
18:45: The second counsel concluded her arguments with the prayer and she stands down after taking assurance that the panel is satisfied.
18:47: Both the teams are back on track, brimming with new energy and enthusiasm as they prepare to submit their rebuttals and sur-rebuttals.
18:54: Following the extensive deliberations and counter-questioning, the round is now concluded!

VCR-2: 922 vs 915


17:40: Before the start of this glorious battle, one of the judges raised a very pertinent point on whether, he can judge one of parties again since he had adjudged them in another session formerly. However, that has been ruled out as a trivial issue given that the parties do not have any problem with that.
17:45: The first speaker from the claimants’ side has kickstarted the round but she has been interrupted by one of the judges on the ground that they deem some parts of the arguments and issues raised as futile and unnecessary.
17:48: The Counsel has quickly moved on to the other arguments and is requesting the judges to take note of certain parts mentioned in the memorial and the judges are enthusiastically engaging in a discussion with the speaker on certain relevant concepts and phraseology.
17:50: There is a full fledged debate between the judges and the counsel of the claimants on certain clauses of HVR as well as the Bill of Lading. The judge in this room is quite pro-active as he is not only posing relevant questions and elucidating his query but he is also expressing his expectations from the counsel.
17:54: The judge seems difficult to appease and he refuses to let the counsel off the hinge easily and is continuously firing questions on the clauses of the contract entered into by the parties and questioning its validity as well as its effect on the case.
17:58: Though the time has elapsed, the judge is still grilling the counsel on a question of law seeking clarification on the ratio of a particular judgment which the judge clearly does not find relevant. Despite seeking extension to wrap up the arguments, the judge seems more fascinated by the authority cited by the court and is enjoying building up more questions on the same sensing the nervousness of the Counsel.
18:00: It appears that the questions of the judges have started to affect the counsel who is slowly seen losing out on her confidence and is reading out incorrect clauses and rules. After a long and tiring discussion on a particular point of law, the floor has finally been passed to the second counsel from the claimants’ side.
18:05: The floor has been taken over by the second speaker who has been able to muster up courage and pace through her arguments after the long grilling session endured by her co-counsel. She, however, was nervous enough to not be able to differentiate between afternoon and evening and ended up incorrectly greeting the judges.
18:09: It seems like the judge won’t go easy on the second counsel either and has been constantly nagging for more information and clarification on certain authorities cited by the counsels. Time is running out but the judge doesn’t seem to run out of questions!
18:12: The counsel is trying her best to cover up and is citing other landmark judgements to substantiate the Claimants’ side. The judge is demanding for the particular case in the compendium, which the researcher from the Claimants’ side could not produce. The judge however was generous enough to let go of it momentarily and has allowed the counsel to proceed to her next argument.
18:16: The judge has struck another endless debate on the applicability of the Rules used by the Claimants. In a couple of minutes, the judge has however allowed the Counsel to proceed with the next limb of arguments. More questions have however poured in on the point used by the claimants highlighting party autonomy.
18:20: “Do you have the Minutes of the last meeting?”, one of the Judges questioned the counsel of the claimants. It seems like the arguments presented by the claimants have confused the judges as they are now questioning the entire purpose of setting up of the arbitral tribunal for this particular matter.
18:24: The judge doesn’t seem much intrigued to go into the prayer of the claimants and is asking if the counsel has more submissions to present so that there can be more substance for the judge to throw questions on. The counsel from the claimants’ side has however stepped down.
18:28: The floor has been taken over by the first counsel of the respondents’ side who appears slightly more confident in presenting his arguments but he has quickly been stopped by the judge the moment he cites an authority. It seems like every authority cited attracts a volley of questions from the judge.
18:31: The counsel from the respondent side has however been able to produce the authority cited in the compendium. It is however unfortunate that the argument used by the counsel could not please the judge and instead elicited more questions from the judge.
18:33: The counsel is quoting more authorities and provisions from his memorial which has simultaneously increased the excitement between both the judges who are hunting for the provisions in the compendium so that they can frame more relevant questions.
18:39: The counsel of the respondents’ side is of the opinion that the fact sheet is silent on a number of issues to be argued whereas the judge pointed out that the claimant side presented 5 issues.
18:42: The baton has been passed on to the second counsel from the Respondents’ side who has been immediately warned by the judge that the burden on the counsel is immense given that he is meant to cover major chunks of the issues at hand.
18:44: There comes another authority from the Respondent side. It appears that the judge is in the zone to scrutinize every detail of the authority cited in the compendium. Furthermore, the judge has posed a very pertinent question on the term “repugnancy” used in the matter.
18:49: The counsel has made it clear that he is not aware of the meaning of “repugnancy” and has sought some time to search for the meaning of the same. The judge has been considerate enough to not only spare a couple of minutes to search for the meaning of the term but has even granted the counsel the permission to gulp down some water to calm his nerves.
18:52: Though the researcher from the respondents’ side has been successful in furnishing the judge with the meaning of “repugnancy”, the argument used in relation to the same could not satisfy the judge.
18:54: Both the judges have joined hands in harmony and are striking at the counsel with questions on the agreement between the parties on particular clauses of the contract. Both the judges have outright dismissed the argument used by the Counsel saying that it lacks conviction and clarity.
18:57: The counsel has sought an extension of a couple of minutes to wrap up his contentions and submissions. The nervousness and cold sweat of the second counsel can be perceived from the screen yet he is putting on a brave face and attempting to somehow wobble his way out of this.
19:00: The respondent side attempts to frame an argument on the unpredictability of hurricane which has been rejected by the judge on the ground that there are ways to predict and ascertain time of hurricanes.
19:10: With that, we come to the end of another exhausting yet fun-filled day of adventure of IMAM. We look forward to many more such enthusiastic and engaging rounds in the days ahead.

VCR-3: 924 vs 927


17:30: The first counsel begins with their submissions by discussing the first two issues of the proposition.
17:32: The counsel submits that the Arbitral Tribunal should consist of three arbitrators as the SCMA rules should take predence over the others.
17:34: The judge asks the counsel that whether the lex curie should be followed just by the virtue of it. In response, the counsel seems a little fazed and is unable to provide a satisfactory answer
17:36: The judge asks the counsel to provide for any legal backing to decide: What rules should be considered mandatory and what rules should be considered non-mandatory?
17:38: It seems like the counsel was stunned into silence by this question but they recover quickly to give a detailed answer
17:43: The judge asks the counsel to clarify regarding the bill of lading, who becomes the carrier to which the counsel gives quite an under-confident answer
17:45: The second counsel from the claimants’ side begins with their submissions regarding Issues 3 and 4 respectively.
17:48: The counsel submits that the Hague Rules are incorporated in the contract itself but the judge questions whether it has a force of law. In response to the judge’s question, the counsel seemingly could not give a legal backing to substantiate their submissions.
17:51: The counsel continues to fail to provide any authorities to substantiate their arguments when asked by the judge.
17:56: The counsel moves ahead to submit their final submissions regarding the damages that the claimants are entitled to, by way of application of the Hague Rules.
18:00: Yet again a small technical glitch throws the counsel off their flow! But they do well to recover fast and then continue with their submissions.
18:02: The counsel for respondents begin with their submissions by submitting that the Arbitration Tribunal should be a single arbitrator panel as the International Arbitration Act of Singapore will be applicable.
18:08: The judge asks the counsel to provide the justification for considering the clause mandatory and also provide why SCMA rules should be applicable in this case
18:10: The counsel seems unfazed with the layered question and responds confidently to the judge’s question.
18:13: The judge asks the counsel to clarify the facts regarding how the liability is set with regard to the discharge of the goods to which the counsel gives a seemingly satisfactory response.
18:17: The counsel submits their last limb of their argument while taking the judges to several case laws to establish the liability with regards to how the goods were discharged.
18:20: The second counsel for the respondents begins with their submissions regarding Issues 3 and 4 respectively.
18:23: The counsel submits that the applicability of Himalaya clause is valid.
18:26: The judge points the counsel to clarify whether it’s the due diligence on the part of the respondents that will decide to seaworthiness or unseaworthiness to which the counsel cleverly gives vague answers and skips directly to the next submission.
18:31: The counsel proceeds with establishing the validity of Hague Laws but the judges do not seem very satisfied with this argument.
18:36: The judge seems to be not satisfied by the last limbs of the arguments presented on Bill of Ladings and that is how the counsel concludes their submissions.
18:39: The counsel for claimants conclude their rebuttals.
18:41: the counsel for respondents conclude their rebuttals and move into the prep room as the deliberation begins.
18:50: Finally the rounds are over as the judges provide the teams with detailed feedback. This brings us to the end of Session 5.

VCR-4: 906 vs 902


17:29: Welcome back people! Let us see how it goes in the last session of the preliminary round! The teams are ready, judges are ready and it’s showtime!
17:30: The first speaker from Team 906 has taken the floor and has started with her submissions without a moment’s delay!
17:36: The Bench directed a question at the speaker which seemed to throw the speaker off her balance for a while, but admirably, she quickly regained control and answered the question with grace.
17:40: The speaker continues with her submissions, substantiating the same with a case law every now and then.
17:48: The floor has now been taken by the second speaker.
18:05: The first speaker of team code 902 takes the floor.
18:06: The Speaker before beginning with his submissions enquired if the Bench had any preliminary enquiries to make. When replied to in the negative, the speaker dives into his submissions with full vigour.
18:15: After some significant network issues, team code 902 is back with their arguments!
18:23: The speaker continues with his submissions, addressing all questions thrown at him, and still managing to find enough time for his arguments!
18:26: “If the Arbitrators have any questions, the Counsel would be more than happy to answer them”, the Speaker concluded with flair, getting an answer in the negative from the Bench! One of those rare times, a bench has no parting questions for a speaker it seems!
18:27: The second speaker has now taken the floor and is delivering arguments just as smoothly as her teammate!
18:30: The speaker continues with her submissions, linking her arguments together to form a chain defence for her side!
18:31: Looks like the bench does not go without question for too long and is back to hurling complexities at the speakers!
18:38: The Bench, upon directing a particularly amusing comment at the speaker, ended up making the speaker smile, with her confessing that she could not help but smile at that! It is just how the facts have been arranged!
18:40: The speaker has been given an extension of 30 seconds to sum up her arguments, which she managed to do well.
18:41: It’s time for the rebuttals again! Team code 906 is back with a three-part question for their opponent team.
18:43: Team code 902 has again taken the floor with an air of enviable confidence, but this time to specifically address the rebuttals!
18:46: As we are done with the rebuttal sessions, the round has ended for this session.

VCR-5: 925 vs 918


17:37: The counsel for claimant starts off the round enthusiastically, proceeding with their submissions regarding the applicability of the SCMA rules.
17:43: After an intense period of counter questioning, the counsel proceeds with their submissions on the express agreement of the parties on the seat of the arbitration.
17:47: The bench questions the counsel extensively on the governing law and the procedural law applicable and the counsel tries their best to answer to the satisfaction of the bench. However, the counsel ultimately fails to do so.
17:50: In a line of questioning on whether the SCMA rules will apply or the International Arbitration Act of Singapore, the bench asks the counsel to humour them by presenting arguments in favour of the International Arbitration Act instead of and against it.
17:58: The co-counsel takes the floor after some technical glitches, Nevertheless, they start their submissions regarding liability of the respondents with confidence.
18:08: Post technical glitches, the counsel takes the floor again and continues with their submissions regarding the duty of care under bailment.
18:12: The bench takes a back seat and also spares the counsel from difficult lines of questioning owing to continuing technical glitches.
18:17: The counsel defends the locus standi of the claimants to sue the defendants on the basis of the bailor-bailee relationship.
18:20: The bench pursues a thorough line of questioning regarding the privity of contract and the jurisdiction of the tribunal on resolving a dispute where Cruze is involved.
18:39: The counsel for respondent begins their submissions regarding the conflict of laws and the precedence of the International Arbitration Act.
18:42: The co-counsel takes the floor and makes their submissions regarding the liability of the respondents in this dispute.
18:45: The counsel contends that the clause existing in the Bill of Lading saves the respondents from liability. The bench is skeptical on the enforceability of this unfair clause.
18:49: The counsel submits that the terms of the contract cannot be unfair if both parties agreed to it. The counsel contends that the claimants cannot “cut the cake and eat it too”.
18:55: With an extension, the counsel inches towards the end of their submissions regarding the liability of the respondents.
19:02: Owing to a technical glitch, the co-counsel again takes the floor and makes their submissions regarding the seaworthiness of the vessel
19:11: The counsel proceeds with rebuttals in a calm atmosphere and concludes the round.

VCR-6: 910 vs 913


17:32: For one last time today, the rounds have begun and here we go!
17:33: The speaker begins by thanking the judges for facilitating this event during COVID-19. He is asked to provide a short recap of the facts and he obliges.
17:35: Proceeding with his submissions, the client advocates for the adoption of SCMA institutional rules.
17:36: With the speaker proceeding with his arguments, there is anticipation of the result that awaits the teams. He comes up with very sound legal backing at his disposal to strengthen his arguments.
17:41: In what can be classified as a series of questions by the judges about the applicable law, the speaker emerges victorious by providing satisfactory answers in response.
17:42: The counsel makes references to several cases to satisfy the judges about the legal backing of his arguments.
17:44: The judges test the legal wit of the speaker and commence a tough round of questioning. He is asked to elaborate on the various provisions that he has relied on. The researcher aids him and they manage to answer a significant number of questions to the judges’ satisfaction.
17:46: The rounds are extremely engaging. However, the judges are extremely particular about the allotted time and the first speaker has to step down gloomily since he has not been able to present an entire issue.
17:49: When the second speaker suggests that she will be dealing with the third and fourth issue, they remind her that the second issue is yet to be dealt with.
17:51: The second speaker has already lost her composure. She’s stammering and seems very unsure about her arguments. Wonder what the situation will be like, when the questions come pouring in!
17:53: In what can be described as a truly nail-biting moment for the team, the judges seem extremely well versed with the intricacies and the minute technicalities of the case. Wish the same could be said about the claimant, given that she is clearly struggling to come up with answers that can satisfy the judges. Presenting the claimants’ side, the speaker sits completely quietly, staring at the screen, trying to fathom an answer for the questions asked. Finally, she breaks the silence and manages to come up with a decent answer.
17:56: The judges seem extremely well versed with the intricacies and the minute technicalities of the case. Wish the same could be said about the claimant, given that she is clearly struggling to come up with answers that can satisfy the judges.
17:59: The counsel tries to establish the principles of natural justice over the principles of party autonomy. The judges reject this contention by stating that in the present case, they fail to understand how the principles of natural justice are applicable.
18:01: The judges ask the counsel to refresh their memory regarding the facts of the case that she has cited. “The participants have to be ready with their papers because due to them, we are struggling!” The counsel seems extremely confused about whether the case is even present in the written submissions or not. The judges are displeased with this attitude and ask her to move on.
18:06: The rounds seem extremely grueling. But there are no hotly contested deliberations because the counsel seems to be unable to produce the maximum number of answers.
18:07: Visibly scared and anxious, the counsel’s teammates wait with bated breath for her to finish her arguments in an acceptable manner.
18:09: Just as the counsel concludes, the judge quizzes her about how they apportion liability as joint and several. This is an answer that the speaker seems to know. After listening to the question, she looks relieved and provides an answer. She finishes off her submissions with the prayer.
18:11: The judges warn the respondent’s researcher to be alert and ask him to put the relevant provisions in the chatbox for the judges’ convenience.
18:12: The judges ask their first question, “What is a hydrogen cell converter?” The counsel isn’t aware of its utility and seems to be speechless, which annoys the judges and they ask him to admit that he isn’t aware of the answer and not waste the court’s time.
18:14: After what cannot be classified as a very good start, the counsel proceeds to articulate his arguments efficiently.
18:16: The judges seek for authorities to back the counsel’s arguments. The counsel replies in negative. He relies on the Interpretation of Statutes but the judges are of a different opinion. In such a high-pressure situation, the counsel seems to have lost his composure and has started stuttering.
18:19: “The researcher isn’t doing his job!” When reprimanded for not pasting the authority in the chatbox, the counsel jumps to the defence of his researcher by stating that there is a problem in the chatbox and that no such option exists. The judges do not buy it.
18:21: An abrupt halt! One of the judges faces technical glitches. The counsel sees this as an opportunity to brush up on his arguments and fervently starts reading his material.
18:25: The counsel is being grilled extensively about the principles of law. The various replies provided by the counsel to satisfy the judges indicate that even though he is nervous, his arguments are well-researched.
18:27: If you don’t have an answer, don’t waste the time and just move on!’ The counsel concedes and jumps to the next issue.
18:29: After an onslaught of questions by the judges, the counsel does not do justice to the answers and passes the liability for providing satisfactory answers to his co-counsel.
18:31: The counsel seeks four minutes to summarise his submissions. He gets thirty seconds. Talk about high expectations!
18:33: The counsel yields the floor to his co-counsel.
18:35: “You and your counsel are giving us contradictory answers.” Oops, looks like there has been a rocky start. We can only hope that the speaker will maintain her composure and give the judges the answer that they want.
18:37: The counsel laughs at her answers when reprimanded and moves on to the next issue. Maybe she took the quote “Laughter can solve all your problems” a bit too seriously?
18:42: Flustered and puzzled, the counsel stammers while trying to come up with an answer that will help stop the plethora of questions being fired at her at the moment. It does not, however, look like she is succeeding.
18:46: The counsel tries to twist her words and term what the judge called ‘gross negligence’ as a minor issue. The judges don’t seem impressed by this act of her downplaying their mistakes. She is grilled on the same but can you blame the judges really?
18:48: Now that she is done with her submissions, the counsel seeks an additional minute to conclude with her prayer. Turns out, she was disputing the facts that were provided in the fact sheet. The judges point this out and look displeased.
18:51: The judges ask questions that seem to have demolished the entire line of the reasoning of the respondent. The speaker however continues maintaining her calm.
18:54: After failing to answer most of the judges’ questions, the counsel is asked to conclude by stating their prayer.
18:55: The rebuttals have begun. The applicants have come up with some really well-articulated and top-notch rebuttals to decimate the credibility of the respondents’ arguments.
18:57: The respondents are equally good with their sur-rebuttals. They give convincing replies while also pointing out the fallacies in the claimants’ rebuttals.
18:59: In what can be termed as one of the most hotly-debated segment and highlight of the entire rounds, the rebuttals and sur-rebuttals have begun. However the judges seem to not be satisfied. ‘Counsel, it’s the 21st century! What are you even saying? Hurricanes can be detected even 7 days prior to their occurrence.’
19:01: The judges move to the judges’ room and begin their deliberations. With a lot at stake, we hope that may the odds be in favour of the better team!

VCR-7: 921 vs 920


17:30: The applicant begins with his submission on the number of judges in the present case
17:35: The counsel makes his submissions without any hindrance.
17:36: The speaker now moves to the second issue of the conflict of law. He submits that the Hague Rules shall prevail in the present case. He reiterates the point with utmost confidence.
17:38: Upon being questioned by the Tribunal, the counsel clarifies that they are not seeking damages based on law of torts and that the same shall be dealt extensively by his co-counsel.
17:40: The counsel continues with his submissions and addresses the issue regarding the liability of the defendants.
17:41: Booming with confidence, the counsel lays heavy reliance on judgments and authorities.
17:42: The judges question the counsel regarding how they will rebut the justification of how Hague Rules will override the contractual obligations.
17:43: The counsel steps down, and yields the floor to his co-counsel to further the case of the applicants.
17:45: The counsel begins with the issue of quantum of damages first, as the same had been asked to the first speaker.
17:48: The counsel submits that a reasonable amount must be paid. He further explains what the amount must be according to the Hague Rules. He states that $40000 must be the amount.
17:49: The judge questions that as per Clause 3 of the addendum, the liability is limited. However, the counsel does not agree with the proposition being made by the judge.
17:52: The counsel continues to defend their position about how the amount they are seeking as damages is justified and as per the norms and rules agreed upon.
17:54: The counsel now proceeds to the second issue which caters to the question of liability of the defendant.
17:56: While sailing smoothly with his submissions, the judge asks which Hague Rules they rely on. The counsel confirms that it is the Rules of 1924.
17:58: The counsel gives an elaborate explanation as to why the Hague Rules will be applicable
18:00: The counsel is granted an extension of 30 seconds to wrap up his arguments.
18:03: The floor is now set for the defendants to further their case. The first speaker takes the floor and begins her submissions with the procedural issue.
18:05: The panel asks what the governing law is according to the counsel. To which she confirms that it is the International Arbitration Act. The panel disagrees with the counsel and the counsel further clarifies her stance by citing reasons from the factual background which support her case.
18:07: The panel continues to seek clarifications regarding the applicable rules. The counsel is defending her stance well and seems to hold her ground strongly.
18:10: The speaker proceeds to her last limb of the submission. She makes use of judgements to substantiate her arguments and convince the panel of the application of SCMA Rules
18:12: Being mindful of the time, the counsel concludes her submissions and yields the floor to her co-counsel.
18:13: The second speaker begins her submissions by addressing the question of liability.
18:15: The counsel confidently continues to make her submissions. She relies on authorities to back her stance.
18:17: The counsel is asked to give the factual background of one of the cases cited by her. She is able to answer smoothly, and hence proceeds with her submissions further.
18:20: The counsel proceeds to the question of damages. She states that the defendant shall be liable only for $10000.
18:22: Further, with respect of the respondent’s ask for $27,600 additionally from Cruze, the Tribunal seeks clarification on how his figure were obtained.
18:24: The speaker meticulously explains how this amount was decided and what it is inclusive of. Further, she also justifies why the sum is indeed justified.
18:27: The counsel furthers her case by stating that Cruze’s liability is limited to the amount mentioned before i.e. $27,600 only.
18:28: The counsel is all set to rest her case as she proceeds to her prayer.
18:29: The applicants begins with the rebuttals by bombarding the courtroom with cases which question the interpretations made by the defendant.
18:30: The defendant beautifully refutes the points raised by the applicant, and is able to showcase how the authorities cited were not done in the correct manner.
18:31: After a long, intense round of rebuttals and sur-rebuttals, the rounds finally conclude. The teams showed excellent advocacy skills and knowledge of the law.

VCR-8: 904 vs 923


17:31: The first speaker starts the round with bubbly confidence. She answers the judges’ questions calmly and concisely.
17:35: The speaker uses case laws to substantiate that the SCMA overrides the International Arbitration Act which seemingly satisfies the judge.
17:43: The speaker argues on the issue of liability of Cruze as a carrier responsibility for which is non-delegable. The judges listen on in rapt attention, as the speaker convincingly makes her arguments before the panel.
17:45: The speaker ends her submissions on a high with her submissions being largely uncontested.
17:48: The speaker engages in an explanation of bailment and sub-bailment to establish a direct nexus and liability upon Cruze through Tawe’s negligence.
17:51: The second speaker concisely and clearly establishes by reading out relevant contractual provisions and Hague rules to establish the nature of liability that Tawe and Cruze have as carriers.
17:54: The second speaker tries to pre-empt respondent arguments by saying that the respondents cannot claim exemption from liability under Himalaya clause since Cruze is engaged in actual carriage and not merely abetting. The judges seem to accept this novel understanding of the law.
18:01: The counsel is asked to give the factual background of one of the cases cited by her. She is able to answer smoothly, and hence proceeds with her submissions further.
18:05: The second speaker ends his submissions confidently by stating their prayers.
18:08: The first speaker of respondents’ side begins with a narration of the brief facts and position of the parties.
18:11: The first speaker engages in a detailed discussion on how the SCMA forms the lex arbitri for the dispute. Then they went into the question: how the test of sulamerica is applied in this case to apply Singapore domestic laws and the SCMA? She confidently and systematically presents the relevance and importance of the SCMA vis-a-vis the present dispute.
18:17: The judge questions the speaker that if Tawe is an agent, then would it be liable for the damage caused. The speaker answers their question satisfactorily but the judge follows up with another question, “So will Cruze be liable for damages?” The speaker clarifies that they won’t, in the absence of a proper contract.  
18:21: The first speaker clarifies that since Hague Rules have been voluntarily incorporated into the contract but not by force of law and hence, Art. 3(8) of the Hague Rules will not apply in order to limit the liability of the respondents.
18:23: She goes onto define the quantum of damages to be paid by respondents which is limited to $10,000 supported by the COMBICON Bill of Lading and the relevant Hague Rules. She ends on her submissions being well-received by the judges.
18:26: The second speaker of respondents argue that since no contract exists between Caspian and Cruze, it cannot be held liable by Caspian especially since Clause 15 of the Bill of Lading does not impose any liability on a servant hired.
18:32: The respondents skillfully use a case cited by claimants to show that the case cited by them support their contentions that Cruze cannot be held liable since it owes no liability to the claimants via contract. The judge asks for a clarification on whether Cruze has any liability towards Tawe to which speaker 2 argues that any liability of Cruze is restricted towards Tawe only and no one else.
18:36: The second speaker argues on convincing lines to substantiate the nature of the arbitration process and how the same in order to be preserved needs to be in accordance with the agreement reached between parties.
18:39: The second speaker of claimants’ side responds to the respondents” submissions with great conviction. He systematically dismantles the cases and principles relied upon by the respondents to further strengthen the claimants’ case.
18:42: The first speaker of respondents’ side points out some of the inconsistencies in the claimants’ case. The rounds ends on a strong point with a close tussle between both sides. A tough call for judges to make now.

DAY 2 | 25TH MARCH 2022
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS – SESSION-5 CONCLUDES!


RESULTS OF PRELIMINARY ROUNDS


Finally, the wait is over and The Moot Society, NLUO is going live on YouTube for the announcement of the quarter finalists for the 9th IMAM! Do check out the video below!

We heartily congratulate all the teams and wish them all the best for the Quarterfinals. These teams will give a cut-throat competition to secure a spot in Semi-Finals.

 


DAY 3 | 26TH MARCH 2022

QUARTER FINALS-1


VCR-1: 926 vs 905


15:05: The quarterfinal round has begun here in VCR-1 and the first speaker of Team 926 has already taken the courtroom by a storm with utmost confidence and clarity showcased by them!

15:08: After briefly explaining the facts, the Counsel now proceeds to her submissions. But the judges already have a question for her. This round is already going at a rate of knots.

15:09: Requesting the judges to refer to Rule 2 of the SCMA Rules, the Counsel puts forth her argument.

15:11: “Are the SCMA Rules attached to your compendium, Counsel?” asks Mr. Choudhary. When the question was met with a negative response, Mr. Choudhary smiled and said, “Then where are the judges supposed to refer to, Counsel, if it is not even attached to your Compendium?”

15:14: However, once that was sorted out, with the Counsel reading out the Rule to the members of the Bench. Looks like Ms. Thiruchelvam has another question already ready for her!

15:17: Continuing with her arguments with flair and confidence, the Counsel does not face even a moment of hesitation and anxiety, despite the clarifications and questions being directed at her!

15:20: A few minutes have passed and the Counsel is still going strong. There does, however, seem to be a drop in the number of questions in the Courtroom. Maybe the Counsel’s confidence is infectious!

15:22: Now there seems to be an internet issue the Counsel is facing.

15:23: Oh, she is back! But wait, Ms. Thiruchelvam already has a question for her, the moment she is taking up where she left off!

15:24: The Counsel, without batting an eyelid, explained to the Judge that the answer to her question comes up in her next argument, and hence continues with her submission.

15:25: The Speaker has been able to answer the question to the satisfaction of the Judge. But Mr. Choudhary now wants her to provide argumentation of the members of the Panel with case law to substantiate her arguments.

15:26: The case law question looked like a stumbling block for the Counsel. But it looks like she has taken control of the situation once again, even before we could be properly certain that she was anxious!

15:28: The Counsel has finally completed her submissions and is now answering one final question posed by Ms. Thiruchelvam, only to be directed another question at by Mr. Choudhary. That too, the Counsel answered with the perfect poise she has been mantaining throughout her submissions!

15:30:Go Teamwork! We now have the second speaker from Team code 926 who has taken the floor, taking up from where her Co-Counsel left off, seamlessly blending her submissions with the former Speaker! Now that is teamwork!

15:33: The Counsel is also citing case laws to substantiate her arguments! Looks like the Counsel will absolutely make up for the lacunae in her Co-Counsel’s submissions!

15:34: Counsel is now providing the Courtroom with an analogy to build on her stand, which indeed seems to be a great point to bring up!

15:35: The Judges have not posed even a single question to the Counsel yet. In fact, the Counsel herself asked the members of the Bench if there were any questions or clarifications to be sought, but incredibly, there wasn’t even a single question from any of the three judges!

15:41: Has the Counsel rendered the Judges completely speechless with her arguments? Unbelievable, but true, the Judges still don’t have a question for her! Wow, she seems to be doing a splendid job!

15:41: Finally, the Judges have a question! But wait- no! It’s not a question really, it is a mistake in a number that the Counsel mentioned, and Mr. Choudhary rectified that mistake that elicited a smile from the three Judges and the Speaker herself as well!

VCR-1

15:46: Looks like Mr. Choudhary’s clarification lifted the stopper in the line of questions from the Bench! Mr. Choudhary, after his clarification, directed an actual question at her, which once the Speaker answered with her self-assured smile, was quickly followed up with a question from Ms. Thiruchelvam.

15:50: The Counsel seems to have finished with her submissions, and is reserving the rest of her time for rebuttals and has directly moved onto her prayer. This was one very enthralling team!

15:51: Speaker 1 from the respondents’ side (Team 905) now has the floor to herself now. Let’s see if they can match the claimants!

15:54: The Counsel, after quite a few minutes of speaking, now has the first question to respond to! Mr. Choudhary is asking questions that somehow seem to befuddle the Speakers (all of the speakers till now) for a few seconds before they can get a hold of the situation!

15:57: Soon after the round of questioning by Mr. Choudhary, Ms. Thiruchelvam hurls a clarification based question towards the Counsel, which she is able to answer seemingly to the satisfaction of the Judge!

16:02: “Counsel, is Clause 2 a typed clause or an addendum clause?” asks Mr. Choudhary, which the Counsel attempts to answer but then she is directed to another series of questions by the Judge.

16:05: The Counsel again has the Courtroom under her control, having answered the questions of Mr. Choudhary (whether to his satisfaction or not is a separate issue). She then proceeds to the rest of her submissions, without squandering away any of those precious seconds ticking!

16:08: “Counsel I don’t think that’s the English Law position per se…” points out a skeptical Mr. Choudhary, much to the distress of the Counsel!

16:10: The Speaker is not waiting around being distressed, however! She is vehemently trying to defend her stand in front of the panel of Judges, which Mr. Choudhary acknowledged with a lighthearted laugh! Looks like her efforts were not all in vain!

16:13: “How old is the case law you are referring to?”, asks a bemused Mr. Choudhary to the Counsel. On receiving a ‘1935’ in response, Mr Choudhary asks, “Do you think that is the current position of the English Law, Counsel?”

16:14: Mr. Choudhary seems to be giving the Counsel quite a hard time with his plethora of mind bogglers! “Claimants, I would give you 30 seconds to counter that. Do you agree with the Respondents or not?” he asked the other team! The Speaker is looking genuinely harassed at this point!

16:20: Speaker 2 from the respondents’ side (Team code 905) has now taken over, and has immediately got to the crux of her arguments!

16:21: Reiterating her Co-Counsel’s argument, this speaker is determined not to get intimidated by either questions or her own explanations it seems! Admirable!

16:25: The Speaker vehemently and vigorously continues with her submissions, barely exposing even the slightest chink in her armour!

16:26: “I sense a question?” she asks the members of the Bench, and when responded to with a shake of their heads, proceeded to making the rest of her submissions with an air of confidence!

16:29: Requesting the Judges to refer to a certain page of the opponent team’s memorial in order to prove her own point, this Counsel has completely owned the Courtroom!

VCR-1

16:31: Looks like this Courtroom has quite a few Speakers today who are rendering the Judges completely speechless! So far, not even a single question has come her way, allowing her to defend her stand without any interruption at all!

16:35: The Speaker continues to emphatically argue in front of the Judges! A little more than 5 more minutes to go for her time limit to end, and she still doesn’t have to deal with a question!

16:36: The Speaker has concluded her arguments before her time was up! Gosh, that was one entire speech without a single question from any of the three Judges!

16:38: We are back with the rebuttals now! The claimants present their three-part rebuttal with ultimate precision and grace!

16:40: The rebuttals are so very well structured that the Speaker is including back-to-back case laws in her rebuttal!

16:42: The Speaker points out that any overriding decision of the Judges today to the 4-Judge Bench decision, would be gross injustice to the claimants today!

16:43: Team 905, in response, requests a quick sur-rebuttal now.

16:45: “When we are talking about the applicability of the Hague Rules, a Singapore High Court decision holds no value! The appropriate law is the English Law!” the Speaker thundered!

16:47: The round has ended, with Team 905 concluding their sur-rebuttals heatedly.

 


VCR-2:922 vs 902


12:45: Welcome all to the first knockout round of the 9th Bose & Mitra & Co. International Maritime Arbitration Moot! After announcing the breaks yesterday, we look forward to the teams battling it out in the courtroom with the arguments and penchant for mooting. We can’t wait for the participants to raise their contentions and the challenges that the knockout rounds are going to present! It’s an early start for one of the Quarter Final rounds. The round will start at 1 pm and just like the prelims, we will bring you live updates through the round.

VCR-2

13:10: Aaaaannnnddd we are underway! The Quarter Final rounds have started with cheerful and enthusiastic faces. The judges, Ms. Ann Stylianou and Mr. Rishab Saxena introduced themselves and warmly presented a forum for the parties to proceed with their arguments. A gentle reminder about the structure of the round – The claimants’ side has been allotted a full 45 minutes with the first Counsel being given 22 minutes.

13:12: The first Counsel with an air of calmness and confidence has kickstarted the round and is carefully walking through the framework of her arguments and issues. She is arguing on the precedence of SCMA over International Arbitration Act. None of the judges have stopped her yet for this limb of the argument. She has now proceeded with the citation of a couple of authorities in an attempt to establish a strong case.

13:15: The Counsel has however been stopped midway while presenting her argument. “What is the law governing the contract?”, asked Mr. Saxena. In response, the Counsel affirmatively replied “The English Law governs the contract.” Following up on his question Mr. Saxena asked “So you agree that the procedural law is that of Singapore?” The Counsel replied affirmatively to this question after which the Counsel was allowed to proceed with her next argument.

13:18: Mr. Saxena seems to be fascinated by an argument of the Counsel on lex arbitri and lex specialis seeking more clarification on the rule of mandatory and non-mandatory application. The Counsel looks confident and sounds quite prepared with the framework of her arguments.

13:21: The Counsel has been allowed to proceed to the next contention and she has confidently mentioned the Hague Visby Rules. When she is countered by Mr. Saxena who asked, “Where did you get HVR and how do you use that?” The Counsel has been able to satisfy the curiosity of the judge by pointing out the ambiguity in the factsheet where only Hague Rules were mentioned and no specifics were given. “Interesting”, commented Mr. Saxena and the Counsel was allowed to move on further.

13:24: The Counsel is now vehemently arguing over the liabilty of the defendants on the contract of carriage. Mr. Saxena looks quite involved in the session and is seeking for some reference to the contract entered into by the parties. The Counsel has successfully been able to point out the contract in the factsheet.

13:27: The Counsel referred the judges to their memorial which apparently cleared their confusion regarding Tawe’s status as a carrier. Following this, the Counsel has moved on to the next limb of the argument.

13:28: “Can you link the provisions you just read with the facts of this case because I am unable to follow?”, requested Mr. Saxena. The Counsel is enthusiastically reading up the clause in the agreement on the applicability of HVR in some cases. The Counsel is arguing that this is a general clause to which Mr. Saxena retorted, “But that is where you are wrong because this is a typed clause so how can you say that it is a general cause?” The Counsel, replying to this query, cited a landmark judgment in support of their argument.

13:32: Time’s up! And the second Counsel takes over now. Ms. Ann has promptly reminded the Counsel that he hardly has a minute left so she must wrap up her arguments quickly. The judges have been highly encouraging and involved during the entire round of submissions presented by the first Counsel. The first Counsel has now been dismissed with the second counsel taking center-stage on the remaining issues.

13:35: The second Counsel looks well-prepared and is ready to set the floor on fire with her first set of arguments. She is arguing on the liability and damages claimed. In order to establish her case, she also requests the judges to refer to the claimant’s compendium.

13:37: The Counsel is fiercely arguing that the defendants cannot claim to be a third party in the case as a result of the contract of bailment entered into by the parties. Additionally, the Counsel is seen elucidating on certain relevant case laws which can help the claimants present a strong case.

13:40: The Counsel has not been countered by any of the judges during the course of the presentation of her first issue. She has therefore been allowed to move on to the next issue which is largely based on the quantum of damages.

13:42: The Counsel is now quoting the HVR and striking at the defense argument of the respondents on the liability of their damages claiming that the first defendants are liable for the full amount of converters and they cannot claim any benefit under the limitation of liability.

13:44: It cannot be denied that the Counsel is very clear in terms of the argument she is presenting because of which even the arbitrators are unable to pose questions on her contentions. She is seen emphasizing on the duty of care of the carrier. She is of the opinion that the recklessness of the defendants caused humongous losses to the claimants.

13:46: Mr. Saxena bounces back with a question for the second Counsel for the first time during the course of her speaking time seeking clarification on clause 5. Now Ms. Ann has struck back with a question on how could the hurricane be prevented since it is a natural calamity. The Counsel is aggressively seen pointing out at the fault of the part of the defendants for not repairing their weather radar which could have predicted the hurricane and prevented the entire fiasco.

13:49: Mr. Saxena bounces back with a question for the second Counsel for the first time during the course of her speaking time seeking clarification on clause 5. Now Ms. Ann has struck back with a question on how could the hurricane be prevented since it is a natural calamity. The Counsel is aggressively seen pointing out at the fault of the part of the defendants for not repairing their weather radar which could have predicted the hurricane and prevented the entire fiasco.

13:53: Mr. Saxena seems quite intrigued by the arguments of the claimants and is curious to know if the counsel has any other arguments framed on the issue of bailment which is based on English law or Common law principles. “What are Rotterdam Rules?”, asked Mr. Saxena. This question seems to have shaken the Counsel a little and she has finally pleaded for ignorance. Ms. Ann has pointed out the paucity of time and the claimant has been granted an extension of one minute to present her prayer. The second Counsel of the claimants rests their case and the floor has been taken over by the respondents.

13:57: We begin with the round of arguments for the respondents now! The first Counsel from the respondents’ side is seen steadily moving through his arguments but owing to some technical glitch, the Counsel has been interrupted. Despite some interruptions, the spirit of the Counsel is on ‘Cloud 9’ and he is moving ahead with his set of contentions.

14:01: The Counsel is arguing on the applicability of section 9 of the IAA owing to its mandatory nature. He is now seen quoting section 15(e) of the IAA to establish the application of IAA which allows the appointment of sole-arbitrator in the matter.

14:04: The Counsel is justifying the appointment of a single arbitrator in the matter contending that a single arbitrator can help in expeditious resolution to the matter as compared to an Arbitral Tribunal consisting of 3 members.

14:05: The Counsel is directing the judge towards one of their citations in an attempt to answer the question of the judge on express as well as implied agreement. The Counsel is advocating in favour of Singapore being the seat of arbitration and adds on that lex arbitri shall prevail.

14:11: “The parties have not agreed on the number of arbitrators so does this part does not become completely irrelevant given your submission on sole arbitrator?” The Counsel has however been able to satisfy Mr. Saxena with his answer.

14:13: The Counsel is now striking a comparison between the two Bills of Ladings. Following this, Mr. Saxena shows initiative and asks the Counsel about the facts of a particular case law cited by the Counsel.The Counsel does not seem to have much information on the facts of the case but he is trying in every possible way to atleast put forth the ratio.

14:17: Mr. Saxena then points out that it cannot be denied that there has been negligence on the part of the respondent to which the Counsel replies that they are not denying the liability but they merely intend to limit the liability.

14:19: With a well-framed set of arguments, the first Counsel has concluded his side and the baton has been passed to the second Counsel. The second Counsel is harping on the contractual relationship between the parties.

14:21: The Counsel has used a very unique term “tackle-to-tackle” and she has immediately been interrupted by Mr. Saxena for more explanation on this concept. The Counsel seems well-equipped with the answer for this question and she has successfully catered to the question.

14:23: The Counsel has raised her concern on the point that the respondents’ side were under the impression that the Hague Rules of 1924 would be applicable while the claimants have prepared arguments on a different set of Hague Rules. She has further proceeded to justify the application of Hague Rules 1924 with the aide of various authorities.

14:26: Mr. Saxena has posed a question to the Counsel, “Is there any provision in the Combicon Bill which limits the liability?” The Counsel while replying to this question has cited section 9 of the Combicon Bill which is said to contain such limitation clause.

14:29: The Counsel is defending the respondents’ side refuting the applicability of Hague Rules saying that the tailor-made clauses in the Bill of Lading have to be read in harmony with the Hague Rules if made applicable at all.

14:31: The Counsel’s memorial has a very fascinating case cited which has caught the judge’s attention and they are seeking more details on the same. With these final arguments, the Counsel is closing down on her arguments with her prayer. The respondents’ side has been able to wrap up their arguments well within and they owe it all to their well-structured as well as concise submissions.

14:34: For rebuttal rounds, the claimants are posing questions on the lack of emphasis over the party autonomy by the respondents’ side. More questions pour in on the liability and its limitation as claimed by the Respondent. The Counsel from the Respondent side is coming up with well-defined answers for all the questions fired at them. This round has truly been a treat to the eyes and ears of all. Each side was seen striving to win over the judges with their set of arguments. The arbitrators have been sent to their respective breakout rooms for deliberation. It cannot be denied that declaring a winner here would be a tough call for the judges.


VCR-3: 909 vs 910


15:06: With quite a lot at stake for teams 909 and 910, the quarter-final rounds in VCR-3 have commenced! We wish the teams all the best and we hope that we have a stellar round of mooting ahead of us!

15:07: The first Counsel, poised and graceful begins with an explanation of the facts of the case for the clarity of the judges. The entire courtroom listens intently, the respondents are also eager to know how the claimants represent the facts in their favour.

15:09: Laying the structure of her arguments is the second item on the Counsel’s agenda. A very confident start and the counsel has not faced any tough questioning by the judges. Lucky her!

15:11: In what can be classified as a monologue till now, the counsel proceeds with her submissions, her confidence increasing with every passing minute due to a lack of questioning from the judges.

15:12: The respondents’ team is engrossed in listening, jotting down every single one of the counsel’s contentions that they can provide a counter for. Looks like we are going to have some fun in the rebuttal rounds.

15:14: Looks the questioning has begun! The speaker’s initial confidence has visibly reduced. The initial bout of questioning is regarding the arbitration clause governing the sub-bailment claim.

15:15: “Just a dispute regarding the bills of lading madam! Not any dispute.” The counsel is frantically trying to come up with any legal backing at her disposal to satisfy the judge. But it seems like she is unable to find any.

15:17: “I will not accept this counsel! How are you saying this! This is so simple!” The judges sound extremely displeased by both the answers and the manner in which the Counsel is answering the questions.

15:19: Uh-oh! The counsel falters. Scared and trying to gather her thoughts, she tries to come up with a suitable answer.

15:20: “You want me to just take your word for it? You don’t have any authority?” The counsel has been unable to skillfully handle the tedious questions by the judges. Not happy with her answers, the judges ask her to move on.

15:23: The judges are prompt with their questioning, quick to test the knowledge of the Counsel. The Counsel’s answers do not seem to be living up to their expectations.

15:26: The first Counsel yields the floor to her second Counsel. The second Counsel takes the floor, her confidence shaken after witnessing the fate of the first counsel. Will she be able to redeem them? One can’t wait to find out!

15:28: Luck has been favouring our second Counsel so far. She has not encountered any questions and she proceeds with her submissions smoothly.

15:29: The momentum that the speaker had established has been broken. The moment that the counsel was dreading is here – Mr. Anuj quizzes her about the combined transport bills of lading. Luckily for her, the counsel seems to already have prepared the answer.

15:31: Mr. Anuj listens to her answer and satisfied, asks her to move on. The Counsel murmurs a ‘Phew!’ under her breath and continues.

15:32: The respondent team’s disagreement with the claimants’ line of reasoning is clearly visible on their faces. The speaker continues with unwavering ease, further strengthened by the judges’ lack of questioning. Looks like it’s her lucky day and the grilling was reserved only for her co-counsel in the beginning!

15:34: With each passing second, the counsel uses every single legal authority in her arsenal in order to make an attempt to gain advantage over the other team. The courtroom witnesses the mention of various case laws and statutes by the claimants to strengthen their case.

15:36: The second Counsel displays extreme legal prowess. Suddenly however, she is faced with another question! The question is very stringent, but so is the reply. The counsel has managed to match the precision of the question and is asked to continue. Good job, counsel!

15:40: The entire courtroom is engrossed in listening to the second Counsel’s submissions. Her spirits have been bolstered by the fact that she has been able to satisfactorily answer every single question that has been thrown at her so far.

15:43: The judges pose a question regarding the Bills of Lading. “Where do you get such propositions of law?” The counsel falters, takes a moment to regain her composure and gather her thoughts and begins answering the question. Before she could finish, the judges steer her towards providing them with authorities.

15:44: The counsel has been excused for just a moment to come up with the specific case law that she bases her argument on. But oops, looks like this case is not binding and just authoritative. All that wasted time and for what? A case law that isn’t even binding, well to be fair we have all made that mistake but not in the Quarter Finals of the NLUO International Maritime Arbitration Moot!

15:46: Her initial confidence decimated by the rigorous line of questioning. The Counsel is visibly struggling to produce answers that will satisfy the judges. Her teammates are holding their breath – will she be able to answer it? Stay tuned in to find out!

15:49: There is a thrilling exchange of questions and answers! The counsel puts forth some very convincing arguments to bolster her case. The judges seem happy with her answers. In what can be truly classified as a spectacular display of her skills, the counsel HAS indeed managed to redeem their team and convince the judges that their legal backing is sound. Well done, counsel!

15:52: Another round of questions has to be dealt by the counsel. Studying her expressions, it can be inferred that these questions prove to be extremely nerve-wracking for her.

15:53: Looks like we said ‘well-done’ too soon. The counsel is visibly shaken, the judges are so taken aback by the absurdity of her answers that they’re laughing and her team’s initial excitement has died down.

15:54: This round is like none other than before! Ms. Damayanti is clearly dissatisfied with the speaker’s submissions – “What is this counsel?”, she asks. The Counsel gulps and proceeds to stammer her way through what can definitely not be regarded as a coherent sentence. 15:56: The speaker now steps down from the floor after it looks like the questions have evidently taken a toll on her. Good thing that she is finished with her arguments.

15:56: The speaker now steps down from the floor after it looks like the questions have evidently taken a toll on her. Good thing that she is finished with her arguments.

15:59: With the speaker proceeding with his arguments, there is an anticipation of the fate that awaits the teams. The entire courtroom sits still, listening with baited breaths.

16:02: This researcher is an excellent teammate! She assists the speaker in every possible manner and it seems like together, they are determined to win these rounds and perhaps have what it takes to go all the way?

16:03: Here come the questions! It is indeed extremely thrilling to see the counsel justify their side. The researcher again aids him in the same and they demonstrate in front of the judges, through combined efforts, how the presence of a single arbitrator shall prevail.

16:06: The questions just keep pouring in and the counsel tries to clarify his stance. But he isn’t paying enough attention to the questions properly! “Listen to the questions that my brother judge is asking”, Ms. Damayanti strictly warns the speaker.

16:08: Role-reversal?! When we said the researcher ‘aided’ the speaker, we meant that the support that she provided initially complemented the speaker’s arguments. However, at this point, her ‘help’ in the chatbox has become so extensive that she has effectively assumed the role of the speaker, just that she’s not actually speaking it but typing it via the chatbox. Tch-tch!

16:10: In spite of the researcher’s fanatical efforts, the counsel is unable to provide adequate answers. Dissatisfied by that, the judges instruct him to move on.

16:12: The claimants look relieved! While it’s not in the best spirits of the essence of mooting, they look happy that they weren’t the only ones who were unable to escape the grilling.

16:14: An abrupt halt! The judges wait for an answer and the counsel fumbles his way through what we can only imagine as a plethora of tabs and documents open in his laptop to fathom an appropriate answer.

16:16: The silence has finally been broken after what seems like ages. The counsel provides an answer, his teammates nod in unison and the judges ask him to continue. Wonder where his researcher went, at the most crucial moment when he actually needed her.

16:17: Mooting is definitely not for the faint-hearted. The first counsel for the respondent steps down, scared and flustered, wondering about the fate of these rounds that await him.

VCR-3

16:19: If we were to describe the second speaker’s demeanour in 3 words, it would be poised, eloquent and confident. Unfazed by the grilling that her teammate underwent just a few minutes ago, the counsel seems sure about their legal arguments and proceeds with them smoothly.

16:21: So far, so good! The rounds are going very smoothly for now.

16:25: We can feel the tension build up when the speaker is asked to answer a question. She goes completely still for a moment. However, she swiftly recovers and goes on with an answer that the judges seem to be content with.

16:28: The speaker displays immensely flawless argumentation and the judges also seem satisfied with her. The claimants do not look very happy about this though, understandably so.

16:30: The counsel and the judges are engaged in an extremely exhilarating round of deliberations over the liability of the carriers. Everyone in the courtroom is in awe of the counsel’s spirited arguments and her determination to win!

16:33: With the competition progressing, the tension in the air is palpable. Ms. Damayanti’s questions forces the counsel to admit that they are at fault for not providing a seaworthy vessel. The counsel’s dejected face bears testimony to the fact that this wasn’t a situation she wanted to experience.

16:37: Like a drowning man clutching at a straw, the counsel makes every desperate attempt to convince the judges of the strength of her arguments. The judges think otherwise.

16:38: The judges don’t seem to be buying it and with every passing second, the counsel is growing more and more nervous.

16:41: With her time exhausted and no satisfactory answers at her disposal, the counsel steps down. Welcome to NLUO IMAM, It’s a cut-throat competition!

16:42: The rebuttals begin! Precise and well-articulated, the claimant’s counsel systematically decimates every single argument of the respondents. To this, we can only wait and watch (or read) how the respondents reply!

16:46: With his eyes on the prize, the sur-rebutals by the respondent’s counsel are equally crisp and clear.

16:49: Pointed questions, efficient answers and teams waiting with bated breaths were the defining features of this round! A truly neck-and-neck competition, may only the best team win!

 


VCR-4: 906 vs 925


15:15: The quarter-finals in VCR4 start on a note of trepidation with Speaker 1 of claimants’ side listing out clearly the issues faced. The first speaker clarifies calmly to the judges about the parties they represent in the dispute and how the arbitration process would proceed.

15:19: Mr. Pabitra proceeds to ask the first speaker about where their arbitration clause is present in their Bill of Lading and the governing law of their contract. She answers calmly in the face of multiple questions posed by the judges. The teams today are facing quite a thorough bench, it must be said.

15:22: The first speaker proceeds with arguing that only a single arbitrator may be appointed according to the International Arbitration Act which she contends would override the SCMA rules.

15:25: The Counsel argues on the non-mandatory nature of section 9 of the IAA to which Ms. Tripti responds by asking if there is any case law that supports the same. She attempts to justify her stance using interpretation from Indian Jurisprudence. However, the judges insist that they want a precedent set by the Singaporean jurisdiction. Mr. Aziz catches the speaker on her ignorance of the nature of Singaporean Jurisprudence surrounding the non-mandatory nature of section 9.

15:30: Mr. Aziz having practiced in Singapore for years uses his experience to ascertain whether the Counsel is aware of the context behind the amendment of the IAA through the inclusion of section 15. Mr. Aziz attempts to cull out the speaker’s confidence and awareness of the intent behind the legislation and its subsequent developments. Her responses, however, are unsatisfactory and she quickly shifts to her next submission.

15:32: The first speaker argues that the parties only intended to subject themselves to the Hague Rules of 1924 only and this interpretation has been arrived at keeping in with the business sense applied by the parties.The parties have incorporated the Hague Rules through their agreement to subject their relations to UK Common law.

15:34: Time constraints are starting to be more apparent now. She continues to argue that Hague Visby Rules won’t apply since Santos hasn’t rectified its position on the Visby Rules. Mr. Pabitra asks a pertinent question on the applicability of Hague and Hague Visby Rules. Counsel acknowledges that the same would be addressed however, Mr. Pabitra reminds her, “You only have three minutes remaining so use them wisely”.

15:37: Ms, Tripti comments, “Why do you have Clause 2 in your agreement if you only intended to be bound by the Hague Rules?” Counsel calmly answers that Clause 2 must be struck down since it is in complete derogation of Clause 4.

VCR-4

15:39: The first speaker concludes that the Paramount Clause seen in Clause 4 is meant to have an overriding effect on all other clauses of the agreement and thus the carrier can’t limit their liability.

15:40: After a hectic round of submissions by the first counsel, the second speaker follows her brimming with confidence to cover the remaining issues.

15:42: Mr. Pabitra first asks the Counsel about the extent of liability they ascribe to Cruz and Tawe and who would pay the damages. He replies by saying that both are jointly and severally liable and must share the quantum of damages. Mr. Aziz asks whether they are asking for apportioned damages and if they seek damages from both parties or either one. Counsel concedes that they merely need 600,000 dollars however, they are not particular as to who pays them the same.

15:45: The second speaker goes on to clarify the judges’ doubts on how they arrived at the market value especially since it may differ across countries. He relies on a previous case, to show that the value they claim is based on the price at which they bought the cargo, which is what they consider to be the market value for quantifying damages.

15:48: Ms. Tripti seeks a clarification on whether Caspian tried to adopt mitigating measures like taking on an insurance to protect them from loss. However, he tries to avoid the question but Mr. Aziz catches on the speaker’s attempts to circumvent the question. The Counsel proceeds to restate the facts to show that there were no avenues for them to mitigate their losses.

15:50: The counsel proceeds to argue on the importance of providing a seaworthy vessel which forms the carrier’s liability under the Hague Rules. Failure to do due diligence makes the carrier liable in this case.

15:52: While the Counsel argues on quanitfication of damages, Mr. Pabitra asks whether Clause 3 of the addendum would apply accordingly which limits damages to $500 per unit. The Counsel argues that this is in derogation of the Hague Rules which are paramount according to the terms of the contract.

15:55: Mr. Pabitra asks, “The Himalayan clause precludes liability on all third parties so how would Cruz be held liable?” Speaker 2 responds that Himalaya clause provides a blanket immunity which is unconscionable in light of the circumstances and the precedent set in this regard. Judges seemingly satisfied allow the speaker to proceed further with their submissions.

15:58: The second speaker presents a novel argument by arguing that their clients can rely on the Hidalgo Bill of Lading even though they are not parties to the same since it indirectly impacts them. Mr. Aziz asks, “Are there any concepts in contract law regarding the carriage of goods by sea which exist outside of the Bill of Lading?” After three clarifications provided by Mr. Aziz, the Counsel is able to understand the question and satisfactorily answer the same. Seems like the constant badgering by the judges has rattled the Counsel!

16:01: Before the Counsel is able to proceed to the prayers, Ms. Tripti asks for a case law to support their method of quantifying damages at the price they bought the cargo.

16:05: The Counsel is finally able to reach his prayers despite the barrage of questions posed by the judges. The claimants’ case is concluded however, the judges are thorough and are soliciting answers even on the prayers to seek if there is any interest amount claimed. Mr. Pabitra jokingly comments, “So the interest would be $1 a person?”

16:08: The first speaker from the respondents’ side takes the podium. However, the inquisitive bench is undettered from asking a question before submissions even start! Mr. Aziz asks if they can satisfy the Tribunal that there exists no conflict in them representing both Tawe and Cruz at the same time. Ms. Tripti cinches on the Achilles’ heel of Cruz’s position in the dispute in their inability to provide a seaworthy vessel for carriage and asks if Cruz’s admission regarding the same would affect their position in any manner.

16:10: The Counsel, despite the jittery start, proceeds to confidently list out the issues and the respondents’ position on the same.

16:12: The Counsel submits that: In respect of party autonomy in an arbitration, parties’ lack of agreement to delineate number of arbitrators to be appointed and the arbitration seat being Singapore, the parent act of Singapore regarding arbitration must be followed.

16:17: Mr. Aziz contends that since the preamble to the SCMA rules clearly postulates that parties submitting themselves to SCMA must govern themselves accordingly. Why should section 9 be then considered mandatory by the tribunal? The Counsel replies that the nature of section 9 is that it is intended to override the SCMA rules and thus the Tribunal should follow the same.

16:21: Mr .Aziz in a teaching moment clarifies that during the amendment of the SCMA, the Parliament intended to respect the parties’ choices of their own arbitration rules. Thus in respect of those intentions, the respondents must apply the SCMA rules wholly. Speaker clarifies calmly that the conflict between a mandatory and non-mandatory provision, the mandatory provision would prevail. Thus, section 9 providing for the sole-arbitrator to arbitrate the dispute in the interest of preserving costs must be followed.

VCR-4

16:27: The Counsel holds his cool amidst the constant questions posed to him by Mr. Aziz and defends his position satisfactorily. However, in the last 2 minutes of the rounds, they rush through their second issue to submit that the Hague Rules don’t have a force of law, they’re merely incorporated and thus the clauses on exemption of liability must prevail.

16:30: The Counsel representing the respondents, starts her submissions by clearly laying out the interests of Tawe and the issues posed. She argues that the terms agreed upon by the parties must prevail over the Hague Rules by citing a case. The judges copiously pore over the participants’ briefs asking for page references at each instance in order to comprehensively understand their case.

16:35: Mr. Aziz upon immediately returning from a technical glitch, proceeds to ask whether the failure to ensure seaworthiness would affect their liability or not. However, the speaker argues that their exemptions are valid and in fact override the Hague Rules.

16:42: The Counsel makes a hypothetical argument to show that even when Hague Rules are applied, the exemptions are valid considering the provisions regarding trans-shipment

16:44: The judges catches out the speaker on the faux pas they made on facts on who is the shipowner and the carrier. The judges direct her to the factsheet to rectify her error. The constant badgering by the bench seems to have unnerved the speaker!

16:48: However, the Counsel jumps back into her submissions and proceeds to argue on how Caspian has waived their right to sue a third party. Further, Cruz as a sub-bailee is entitled to protection under both the original and their own contract. The Himalaya Clause is thus a valid exemption from liability that Cruz can enjoy.

16:53: Mr. Aziz in his characteristic fashion of asking long questions poses another difficult question to the speaker whether there is any precedent that they can provide to support their contentions on an exemption from liability. However, undeterred, the speaker proceeds to provide a case law to support that despite the negligence of the carrier, the exemption from liability clause would protect the carriers even then.

16:57: The Counsel concludes her submissions by stating her prayers. However, the judges proceed to ask questions on prayers as well to leave no stone unturned on what reliefs the parties are actually seeking.

17:02: The claimants present a compelling rebuttal by undermining the case laws presented by the respondents. They proceed to establish the supremacy of the Hague Rules and the responsibility incurred by Cruz under the same is non-derogable.

17:06: Respondents proceed with a convincing sur-rebuttal to establish the fallacies present in the claimants’ case. She systematically lists out the gaps in their arguments and tries to pick at the claimants’ case presented.

17:09: The participants in their advanced round have had to face a tough and thorough bench that asks compelling questions but they prevailed in their knowledge and confidence to satisfactorily argue before the judges. May the best advance to the semi-finals!


DAY 2 | 25TH MARCH 2022

QUARTER FINALS CONCLUDE!


 


RESULTS OF QUARTER FINALS


Finally, the wait is over and The Moot Society, NLUO is going live on YouTube for the announcement of the semi-finalists for the 9th IMAM! Do check out the video below!

We heartily congratulate all the teams and wish them all the best for the Semi-Finals. These teams will give a cut-throat competition to secure a spot in the Finals.


 


DAY 4 | 27TH MARCH 2022

SEMI FINALS-1


A – Chanakaya National Law University (Team Code 902)
v.

R – The School of Excellence in Law, Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University (Team Code 926)


08:55: Welcome one, welcome all! We have finally made it to the last day of the 9th National Law University International Maritime Arbitration Moot! Over the course of the last 3 days, we have had a lot of arguments submitted, a lot of questions raised by our esteemed judges and some skillful display of mooting by various students. Now, we are down to the 4 best teams, the 4 teams that will fight for the trophy that matters the most. These 4 teams will give it their all to win! And we have the privilege to witness them going hammer and tongs in their pursuit of success!
09:03: The first semi-final of NLUO IMAM starts on an exciting note with the first speaker of claimants beginning confidently with his introductory comments.
09:05: The Counsel clearly and concisely lays before the panel arguments for the nature of the arbitration agreement between the parties and the precedence of their agreement over lex arbitri.
09:08: The Counsel seems to be thoroughly prepared which is evident from his presentation of various case laws and understanding of relevant jurisprudence to defend the claimants’ position for appointment of multiple arbitrators as per the SCMA rules.
SF-1
09:11: The Counsel responds to the judge’s question on the compelling nature of the lex arbitri vis-a-vis their agreed terms of arbitration by pointing the judges’ attention to the arbitration agreement itself. He argues that the wording of the Bill of Lading clearly delineates the parties’ intention to be bound by the SCMA rules.
09:15: The counsel proceeds to his next issue on the inability of the respondents to limit their liability. Rule 9 of the Hague Rules imposes a liability on the respondents which is a mandatory provision in nature. The judges seem satisfied with this argument and the Counsel is allowed to proceed.
09:18: The Counsel highlights the liability of Tawe as a bailee to ensure that the sub-bailee discharged their liability satisfactorily through relevant case laws. The Himalayan clause was brought up by the judge, however, the same would be dealt with by the second speaker from the claimants’ side.
09:20: The Paramount clause existing in the agreement compels the respondents to abide by the provisions of the Hague Rules as well. The judge cinches on the fact that Brazil isn’t party to the Hague Rules. The Counsel responds that the same would be dealt later on.
09:23: The judges catch onto a weak point in the speakers’ arguments by asking, “We don’t arrive so simply at the same conclusion as you do. Just because the parties have agreed to abide by English Common law, can it be said that the parties have agreed to be bound by the Hague Rules since the same isn’t clear in either Bill of Lading?” The Speaker requests to address the same in the latter part of their submissions.
09:27: The second speaker from the claimants’ side starts her arguments with a bright smile reflective of her confidence over the issues. Can she turn the round in her favour?
09:30: The Counsel explains the issue of the non-delegable liability of Tawe over the carriage of the goods in a simple fashion to establish that Tawe’s responsibility exists at each port.
09:31: The Counsel addresses the judges’ previous question on the Himalaya clause. The provision in the Hague rules provides a strict liability on the respondents and the exemption in the agreement is overridden by the Himalaya Clause. The judge asks if any provision exists within the agreement that would help them undermine the exemption from liability clause. Counsel responds by saying that the agreement itself recognises the paramount nature of the Hague Rules and thus the exemption wouldn’t apply.
09:36: The Counsel emphasises on the gross negligence of the respondents in their failure to provide a seaworthy vessel which imposes a higher liability on them and thus the damages are justified.
SF-1
09:40: The judge asks if the freedom of contract of the parties isn’t being violated by insisting on the application of the Hague Rules. The Counsel responds that this was intended all along by the parties to enforce the Hague Rules. However, the judge seems unsatisfied with the answer insisting that the exemption provided in the contractual clause is absolute and clear. Thus, the claimants have to further substantiate how the Hague Rules are paramount. She uses various case laws to justify their stance on the same which are apparently enough to satisfy the judges.
09:44: The judge emphasises that since Brazil nor Columbia are parties to the Hague Rules, would they sti