Vital grounding in dispute resolution

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 June, 2012, 12:00am


In addition to winning high-profile international mooting competitions overseas, City University of Hong Kong (CityU) also plays host to a mooting competition of its own, one which emphasises the all-important areas of arbitration and mediation.

First pioneered by CityU in 2010 , the International Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mooting Competition allows students to act as arbitrators and mediators, making it the world's only mooting competition of its kind.

'In other moots, students only represent a client by acting as their lawyer,' says Rajesh Sharma, assistant professor and moot director at CityU School of Law.

Organised in association with the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) and Columbia University's School of Law, the ADR mooting competition attracts teams from top law schools in Asia and from around the world.

Sharma says students who take part in the ADR moot - each of which receive the opportunity appear before a judge, to make oral presentations and to rebut the arguments of opposing counsel - encounter courtroom scenarios many young professionals wait years to experience. 'It can take anywhere between five to 10 years to get into a room where real mediation takes place,' he says.

'In classes, students learn about theory, but through mooting, they see documents of scenarios similar to those they might see as their career develops,' says Sharma, adding that students also learn how to write, research and work as a team member while still acting independently. They learn how to question and answer in an articulate way as well.

The professor says mooting experience can provide an important advantage when applying for a position with a law firm.

'Successes in moots have traditionally been a beneficial vehicle for law students to get a good job or open up other opportunities.

'In every interview, our students receive good comments and congratulations. They often hear: 'Oh, CityU does very well in moots',' he adds, pointing out that CityU mooters have secured jobs with leading law firms and government legal departments.

Sharma says hosting the ADR moot is CityU School of Law's contribution to promoting mediation and arbitration in Hong Kong. 'The moot provides an opportunity to let other students and professionals from different countries experience mediation and arbitration as practised in Hong Kong,' Sharma says.

With both being key and increasingly important features of the legal landscape here, hosting the ADR moot, he says, serves as an awareness exercise to promote the city's dispute resolution system.