LIVE Blog, Day-2,| 10th NLUO – Bose & Mitra & Co. International Maritime Arbitration Moot 2023
The National Law University Odisha is pleased to welcome you to the live blogging of the Oral Rounds of 10th Bose & Mitra & Co. International Maritime Arbitration Moot (IMAM) 2023. This event is organized in collaboration with Bose & Mitra & Co. as Title Sponsors of the Moot, International Institute of Shipping and Trade Law, Swansea University as Strategic Partner; Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution as Resource Partner, Lloyd’s List Intelligence as Knowledge Partner and SCC Online-EBC as Media Partner.
Bose & Mitra & Co. is one of the oldest and largest steadfast law firms in the field of Maritime Law in India, with a client base worldwide. They have been ranked as a band 1 law firm by Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners in the field of shipping. Recently, they received an award for excellence in “Maritime Jurisprudence” from the Indian Corporate Counsel Association.
Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law (IISTL), Swansea University, dedicates specialist research and professional training centre within Swansea University’s School of Law. IISTL has gained a worldwide reputation for its contribution to research, policymaking, professional training and teaching in various areas of maritime law.
Informa Law (www.informa.com), via its online platform www.i-law.com delivers expert case reporting, commentary, and analysis across eight specialist areas of commercial practice. Informa’s industry expertise means it does not just provide the information: its analysis tells what it means for you, your clients, and your business. And connected content and powerful search functionality, give the broad perspective you need when conducting legal research.
Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution (AIADR) is the first not-for-profit member-based Asian Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) forum. AIADR is endorsed by the Asian African Legal Consultative Organisation (AALCO) and was launched in April 2018 by His Excellency Prof. Dr. Kennedy Gastorn, the then Secretary-General of AALCO. AIADR is currently helmed by its president, Datuk Prof. Sundra Rajoo and is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with over 800 members and 40 jurisdictions.
The case study of this edition of IMAM has been drafted by Prof. Andrew Tettenborn, Chair in Law, LLM Shipping & Trade; Prof. Simon Baughen, Professor (Maritime Law), LLM Shipping & Trade; & Prof. Dr. George Leloudas, Professor, LLM Shipping & Trade; at IISTL, Swansea University, The United Kingdom.
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 3 days.
For keeping tabs on regular updates regarding IMAM, we encourage you to follow us on our Social Media HandlesInstagramand LinkedIn for more regular insights. We wish the participating teams the very best of luck! May the odds be ever in your favor! For all the latest updates on the 10th NLUO Bose & Mitra Co. International Maritime Arbitration Moot, 2023 follow us on the SCC Online Blog:
DAY 2 | 25TH MARCH 2023
COURTROOM-1: Hunley vs Lusitania
12:40 PM- Good afternoon and welcome back to the 10th edition of the International Maritime Arbitration Moot (IMAM), NLUO. It will be interesting to see the rising competition as some teams gear up to go forward while others get eliminated in the process. Stay tuned for the updates!
12:50 PM- And the Show begins ! The bench calls the counsel of the claimants to the dais. The rounds finally begin with a lot of enthusiasm and listing of the issues at hand.
12:54 PM- The counsel looks confused with the facts of the bill of lading and fumbles a bit before clearing it up for the arbitrators. No further questions are asked and the arguments continue.
12:59 PM- “English Law? English Law”, and with these words, the bench leaves the counsel in a dilemma regarding their stance on the issue at hand. The counsel is then instructed to move on to the next issue.
1:02 PM- The bench today seems to be in the mood for crisp and direct answers, and abruptly retorts “Answer in yes or no, counsel” ! It remains to see how well the teams can answer to the point to satisfy the arbitrators.
1:06 PM- “I will get back to you on this, Mr. Arbitrator.” The tricky questions seem to be putting the counsel in a state of confusion as they attempt to battle their way through the queries of the bench.
1:12 PM- As the time runs out for the first counsel, the co-counsel of the claimants takes the podium to argue upon the remaining issues. The arbitrators, resting their elbows on the table, listen intently.
1:17 PM- Oh no ! The co-counsel directly passes the documents to the arbitrators without the aid of the CRM. The arbitrators find it to be a bit informal but nonetheless ask them to carry on.
1:23 PM- One of the arbitrators asks the counsel, “Is that what the judgement says?” as they find inconsistencies in the oral submissions. The counsel concedes on the inconsistencies, apologies and corrects it immediately.
1:28 PM- The counsel moves on to the next issue but is immediately interrupted with another trick question inquiring about the coverage. The counsel, and in fact the entire courtroom is taken aback and falls silent ! The counsel gathers up courage and finally stumbles their way to an explanation, however it seems to leave the bench half-convinced.
1:32 PM- As the counsel concludes his arguments, the bench takes note of the total overtime of the claimants. The arbitrators then invite the counsel of the respondents to present their arguments.
1:38 PM- The counsel is immediately met with a rapid line of questioning. “I fail to understand the legal basis for your claims counsel. !” The bench shows their disapproval of the reasoning given by the counsel and asks them to elucidate on it.
1:45 PM- The grilling continues as the counsel is posed with various other trick questions. The co-counsel observes the session carefully trying to gauge the pattern of questioning.
1:50 PM- One of the arbitrators raises their eyebrows and nods after an explanation by the counsel. This leaves the courtroom covered in a wave of fear as they fail to bring a conclusion out of this mixed signal.
1:55 PM- The counsel claims that the issue at hand inquired about by the arbitrator is meritless. The arbitrator exclaims, “And who gets to decide that?” Woah! The bench and the counsel seems to have reached an impasse. Let us see where this goes.
2:04 PM- The courtroom is now absorbed in a constant line of questioning, with the counsels unable to satisfy the bench it ends with a “Apologies, I do not remember that Mr. Arbitrator”.
2:12 PM- The latter half of the counsel's submissions seems to be uninterrupted by the bench and the respondents sail smoothly towards the concluding submissions. And you guessed it right, It's REBUTTAL TIME!
2:16 PM- The oral rounds for session 5 seem to have been concluded after the sur-rebuttals from the counsel for the respondents. The bench wishes them good luck for their future and ends the session with marking the rounds.
COURTROOM-2: Dreadnought vs Clermont
12:46 PM- Welcome to Day 2 of the Preliminary Rounds of the 10th NLUO Bose & Mitra & Co. International Maritime Arbitration Moot 2023! This is the last preliminary round after which only 8 teams will go forward in the competition. The bench is geared to make it as difficult as possible. Will the teams learn from yesterday’s mistakes and make the cut?
12:49 PM- And it's a go! The bench starts off with, “Skip the facts-get to the point”, there is no point painting a pretty picture today. The first counsel for Claimants starts with their arguments.
12:52 PM- How many arbitrators? A novel argument is presented and the bench seems convinced.
12:54 PM- “You want a summary disposal but you want us to hear you!”- the bench is using the counsel’s own argument against them. Can they figure a way out of this?
12:58 PM- Bills of lading and trans-shipment ports-the discourse gains momentum and the counsel cites to substantiate, and satisfy the Arbitrator. The bench seems pleased at the use of relevant case laws.
1:03 PM- Standard industrial practices are not so standard! Where do you draw the line? The Claimants seem to satisfy the bench with simple logic. Now the co-counsel will take the stage.
1:05 PM- The bench starts conversing and smiling within themselves which throws off the co-counsel, they start to fumble, anticipating a question, and here it comes! Seems like the core arguments concerning clean bills of lading is a priority for this bench!
1:07 PM- The bench has gotten the exact answer they were looking for. Going back to basics is the right thing to do after all!
1:11 PM- The bench seems pleased at the industry knowledge of the Claimants and can be seen visibly smiling. Seems like the Counsel for the Claimants are a strong team to reckon with.
1:13 PM- “You are right”, the bench says! The Claimants can be seen to have a surge of confidence from those assuring words.
1:18 PM- Time is up but the co-counsel continues. The bench seems satisfied with the submissions and looks ready to hear the Respondents.
1:22 PM- In a feeble attempt to win this race against the clock, the co-counsel is reading out portions of judgement at supersonic speed, the bench unable to understand anything, requests the counsel to conclude. The ball is now in the court of the counsels for respondents.
1:27 PM- While the counsel starts off strong, the bench immediately interrupts, “You have not given us the exact reason why the Act will apply” ! Only time will tell whether the Respondent can satisfy an issue on which the Claimants had sufficiently satisfied the bench.
1:35 PM- The Respondents might have made a grave error. “Where are you from?” the bench had asked and counsel replied, “South Korea”. The Respondents are however, representing an American company, after a while the counsel hastily corrects this error.
1:42 PM- “Superficial rust” and “inherent vices”-the technicalities are never-ending! Citing archaic case laws before a bench that is keen on the recent evolutions in the field of maritime law is risky. Will the bench buy it?
1:46 PM- The counsel for the Respondents finishes off with a “perfect” from the bench. Co-counsel for the Respondent starts off with submissions on the invalidity of the insurance contract.
1:53 PM- Rejecting goods just because documents were not to their liking? The Respondents seem to be having a tough time justifying the same but they might pull it off!
1:58 PM- Four minutes for rebuttals! A substantial amount of time has been reserved by the Claimants for pointing out the fallacies of the Respondents. What will they focus on?
2:06 PM- We come to a close to the preliminary rounds of Court Room 2. Let us now find out who is one step closer to lifting the trophy.
COURTROOM-3: Eastland vs Carpathia
12:50 PM- As the teams gear up for the last Preliminary Round of the 10th NLUO Bose & Mitra & Co. International Maritime Arbitration Moot 2023, the energy is indeed palpable.
12:54 PM- “Are you guys comfortable with arguing while sitting?”, asks Mr. Arbitrator. The counsel of the Claimants disagrees and chooses to stand at the podium to present their arguments.
12:57 PM- “Arbitration is a creature of contract”, asserts Mr. Arbitrator and demands to be directed to where the arbitration clause exists in the case study. The counsel argues on the legitimacy derived from the bill of lading.
1:07 PM- And the clock runs out on the extension granted to the counsel, but Mr. Arbitrator tosses a fresh question. The counsel answers and invites the co-counsel to address the remaining issues.
1:12 PM- The co-counsel seems to be caught in a loop of questions and struggles to proceed further. They attempt to use a case law as their saving grace; however, Mr. Arbitrator voices his dissatisfaction.
1:21 PM- And with this the submissions for the claimants come to an end. The bench, rather disinterested in hearing the prayer, calls upon the Respondents to present their case.
1:27 PM- Mr. Arbitrator points out an inconsistency in the counsel’s arguments, to which the latter reiterates the factual matrix which forms the basis of their submission. The bench demands an authority but to no avail.
1:33 PM- The counsel cites two statutes that they think must be read together, in order to decide the appropriate number of arbitrators. Oh no! Mr. Arbitrator surprisingly exclaims, “You are not sure of anything, counsel”. The counsel appears flustered.
1:43 PM- The bench engages with the Respondents on a landmark case law cited by them. Further, Mr. Arbitrator asks the co-counsel for an additional authority to substantiate their argument.
1:48 PM- “Counsel, what do you mean by material facts?”, asks Mr. Arbitrator. The co-counsel specifies, correlating them with pertinent laws. The bench presents multiple follow-ups.
1:51 PM- Wow! The co-counsel makes strong contentions against the claimants’ views and restates the procedure and rights that their client is entitled to.
1:54 PM- Despite only 30 seconds remaining on the clock, the counsel for respondents thought they had finally made it through. But Alas ! Mr. Arbitrator starts off with a rapid line of questioning, the counsel tries to battle their way through. The bench deliberates upon the co-counsel’s interpretation of bills of lading and trans-shipment.
1:58 PM- As the floor opens up for rebuttals, the Respondent’s counsel clarifies the misunderstanding regarding substantive and procedural issues and addresses relevant sur-rebuttals.
2:00 PM- And with this, the ferocious grilling session comes to an end. The teams are asked to evacuate the courtroom as the arbitrators engage in a fruitful discourse on the teams’ performances.
COURTROOM-4: Bounty vs Lenin
12:54 PM- Last preliminary rounds for the Competition begin! The Counsel for the Claimants has taken the podium. The Counsel sounds confident as they lay out the three issues that they are dealing with for the day. Let the round begin!
12:59 PM- As the Judge poses one last question on the first issue, the Counsel requests for a few seconds to quickly peruse their research. Maybe the answer lies therein. The judge asks a series of questions pertaining to the arbitration rules to be followed.
1:04 PM- 5 MINUTES LEFT ON THE CLOCK. No questions so far, the Counsel storms ahead to their next issue. They are able to crisply define terms in their arguments that seem relevant. The judges seem calmer in their questioning for this counsel. Let’s see how this pans out.
1:07 PM- A few questions follow pertaining to the RETLA Clause, they seem to be easy enough for the Counsel to tackle.
1:09 PM- The judge asks a question relating to facts on the shipment. The Counsel mentions its absence in the fact sheet and the judge agrees and moves on to ask a pertinent question on the CIF Contract.
1:12 PM- The Researcher from the Claimants sends in a chit to assist their counsel. It seemed to have really helped in answering that question. TIME’S UP! The Co-counsel from the Claimant makes their way to the podium.
1:14 PM- Speaking clearly and with a poker face the co-counsel deals with the remaining issues. The arbitrators are very observant and seem to be taking note of not just the speaker, but also their respective teams' behaviour behind them.
1:20 PM- The arbitrators once again ask whether there exist recent case laws. Surely recent cases seem to be of prime importance for this bench. Another question follows in relation to insurance. There comes the researcher to the rescue. Uh oh, a numerical error! The judges exclaim a remark on the same and smirk.
1:26 PM- The arbitrators ask whether the Counsel has seen a Bill of Lading and whether they know the terms. The Counsel seems to have done their research, they are aware. In the next few questions, there is some lack of confidence on the Counsel’s part. However, all seems to be fine as they conclude their speech on a fine note.
1:28 PM- The Respondents’ Counsel makes their way to the podium. They seem clear in their speech however they are speaking at a slightly faster rate. 16 minutes is what they claim they need to convince the arbitrators.
1:40 PM- The arbitrators are patient in their questioning. They clearly explain the question for the Counsel. Kind indeed. While the counsel seems well prepared, a few errs occur as the questioning increases on the point relating to transhipment clauses.
1:44 PM- TIME’S UP. “Can I seek an extension of 20 min-” the Counsel states. The arbitrators smiling say “20 minutes, we cannot give, Counsel.” 2 MINUTES is granted. The questions and their responses continue.
1:46 PM- “If you answer this one question, we will grant you an award pertaining to this one issue” says the arbitrator. A great opportunity, lets see how the Counsel tackles this and grabs on.
1:50 PM- The arbitrator asks a question pertaining to the LMAA Rules. The Counsel attempts at an answer but the arbitrator doesn't seem convinced, “this is not mentioned in Redfern & Hunter..” they say. Uh oh.
1:51 PM- TIME’S UP. No more extensions for the Counsel. The Co-counsel takes the stage. They are a little soft spoken and maintain a consistent tone throughout.
2:00 PM- Some much needed refreshments make their way into the room. The cool ice tea is definitely helping with the heated questioning. There comes another question on the jurisdiction, let's see how the Counsel handles this.
2:07 PM- TIME’S UP. An extension is requested. Granted. The co-counsel is repeatedly trying to justify their replies through case laws. TIME IS UP once again. They request time for final prayers. “We know your conclusion and your prayers, counsel, thank you.” say the arbitrators.
2:08 PM- It’s REBUTTAL time! The counsel from claimants is here. But wait a question is followed. Before she can get to her rebuttals, time is up. She pleads for additional time. “No, counsel”. “Please sir, arbitrator.” The arbitrators smirk and grant 30 seconds.
2:11 PM- A few more seconds in, “are you questioning the bench, counsel?”, “No, Miss arbitrator.” Some replies follow from the Counsel. “Are you questioning the sole arbitrator?”. “No, madam arbitrator.” says the counsel as they wrap up their rebuttals. Wow, that was a heated minute.
2:13 PM- The respondent counsel comes in for their sur-rebuttals. Time’s up. The judges engage in some talks with each other, all in smiles. A little banter is exchanged before feedback is given.
COURTROOM-5: Valentina vs Argus
12:45 PM- A new day is here and the Bench has entered the room and is happy to see each other again.
12:55 PM- The first counsel of the day has started off strong and confident. The Bench is listening to their arguments with great interest.
1:06 PM- The Bench asks the counsel the applicability of the LMAA rules. It is followed with a question on the authority of the cases being cited by the counsel. The counsel takes a moment to gather their thoughts and answer.
1:10 PM- The back and forth between the Bench and the counsel seems to be getting interesting. The counsel tried their best to satisfy the Bench with their arguments. What better way to test their knowledge and research.
1:11 PM- After an extension of 2 minutes, the counsel has concluded their arguments. The co-counsel has now taken the lead.
1:14 PM- “Superficial defects refer to those that occur before loading or during transit” Oh an interesting question! Counsel seems a bit taken aback.
1:15 PM- The researcher has come to the rescue! They pass a note to the speaker to provide the speaker with a clarification on the previous question. The counsel keeps their calm and proceed with their submission.
1:19 PM- The questions keep coming and the counsel seeks permission to clear them during the rebuttals. The Bench is trying to test their knowledge very wittily.
1:27 PM- With 30 seconds left, the researcher passes a note again to aid his counsel regarding the clauses and happening or non happening of the transhipment.
1:32 PM- The counsel from the respondents takes the dias and commences their arguments on issue 1 regarding whether the rejection of documents was justified.
1:41 PM- A question straight from the fact sheet! A great way to check the counsels awareness about the facts of the issue and how their research applies to it.
1:44 PM- The counsel seems very confident and refers to several documents they carry with themselves. They trust their efforts made would surely pay off.
1:48 PM- As the questions keep coming, the counsel does not give up and is now referring to the clarifications on the proposition to answer the questions. They don't lose their calm and ensure that their arguments are not broken down by the numerous questions of the bench.
1:53 PM- The co-counsel has made their way to the dias and looks determined to end their submissions with full vigour.
1:56 PM- “What are the procedural terms?” The counsel gets passed a note to tackle this question. Kudos to their teamwork!
2:01 PM- Times up but the Bench still wishes to check the knowledge of the counsel regarding the right to repudiate the contract.
2:04 PM- The rebuttals have begun and the Counsel first starts off by answering the questions asked to the claimant which they were first unable to answer. They go onto their rebuttals by referring to the proposition to invalidate the respondents arguments.
2:07 PM- “One small sentence for each submission” Will the counsel from the respondents be able to tackle this? One sentence down and they submitted an article to substantiate their argument. Second sentence requests them to refer to the proposition itself. Third sentence is about the specification of the contract.
2:08 PM- “Condition of the contract is what the specification of the contract is called” answers the Bench to their own question to enlighten the participants themselves.
2:10 PM- “A fairly good round” says the Bench. They advise the participants to be well versed with the basics of the law and the facts that are “under their nose”.
2:12 PM- The Bench takes an example from his childhood and says that you should try to answer the questions in any way you can just like we all did in our exams as children. What a nostalgic way to put it!
COURTROOM-6: Holland vs Scharnhorst
12:38 PM- The courtroom is all set to host the final preliminary rounds for the 10th National Law University Odisha Bose & Mitra & Co. International Maritime Arbitration Moot. A cumulative score of all the preliminary rounds shall decide our top 8 teams that shall proceed to the Quarter-Finals.
12:52 PM- The judges, all in high spirits, have joined us and have been presented with the scoresheets. We now await the participants.
12:56 PM- The participants are in the courtroom and all set to begin. Some weary faces and some full of anticipation, let us see what turmoil the last round brings for the teams.
1:00 PM- And the rounds begin. The counsel for the claimants has joined us on the podium and it seems like they are all set to make the most of the last rounds! The counsel addresses the issues under contention and is swiftly interrupted by the judges and asked about certain query related to the application of LMAA rules.
1:04 PM- “Are these LMAA terms or rules?” The judges seem dead set on making the counsel admit to their error. The counsel does not seem to realize the mistake and has been in an argumentative circle with the judges.
1:07 PM- The counsel loses a few seconds in pointing out multiple sections to the judges as per the written submission. Intense flipping through the material and behold, seems like the counsel has finally satisfied the bench!
1:14 PM- “Counsel, I am not satisfied with your argument!” The judge exasperatedly exclaimed. The room seems to be in a pin drop silence. The judge seems to have disregarded a long answer by the counsel in exchange for this remark. The counsel is seen flipping through their materials in a frenzy.
1:17 PM- And the time is up. The arbitrators seem to not have noticed and proceed with their questions related to the applicable parameters of the Hague rules. The counsel seems to be getting a golden opportunity in the form of a few extra seconds, let us see how the time is managed by the counsel to their advantage.
1:20 PM- The second counsel approaches the podium and post requisite permissions, starts with their submission. They mention that they shall be focusing on two issues.
1:24 PM- “Counsel, why not the third issue? Is it not relevant enough?” In a surprising turn of events, this is a first where the arbitrators seem to have interrupted the counsel for the lack of addressal of a certain issue. The counsel swiftly answers that it is not due to lack of relevance, but rather the lack of time. The arbitrators do not seem satisfied for now.
1:27 PM- The counsel has multiple questions sent their way related to the specific citations that they address in their submission. The arbitrators appear displeased over the lack of citations in the written memorial which the counsel is actively mentioning in their oral submission.
1:30 PM- The arbitrators ask the counsel to state the specific contract under question, the counsel answers accurately. They further question the reason behind not clearly highlighting the said contract in the written submission.
1:33 PM- With 30 seconds remaining, the arbitrators ask the counsel to proceed with their next contention, but make it evidently clear that they are not satisfied with the answers provided by the counsel.
1:36 PM- After multiple extensions owing to the lack of clarity amongst the arbitrators with respect to the arguments of the Counsel, the counsel finally concludes their last issue and is surprisingly given another extension to substantiate upon it! The counsel finally steps back and makes way for the respondent counsel at the podium.
1:43 PM- “How does this cited case even help you?” The arbitrators seem to be in a questioning spree and are very prompt in pointing out specific irregularities in the oral and written submissions of the respondents.
1:45 PM- The conversation seems to be stuck upon the implementation of the LMAA rules and the necessity to abide by it. The arbitrators and the Counsel seem to be stuck in a loop of discussion with neither ready to take a backstep. Definitely an informative discussion to witness.
1:49 PM- “Counsel, did you even understand my question?” The arbitrators seem to be getting pressed over the lack of a proper answer by the counsel over their question related to the scope of application of the LMAA rules. Finally, they instruct the counsel to move to the next issue.
1:51 PM- With a minute left, the counsel stops with the submission, apologises and points out an error that they made in their own submission a few minutes ago, the arbitrators nod in approval and seem impressed by this addressal of error and apology of the counsel. The second counsel has started their submission.
1:55 PM- The arbitrators poses a question to the counsel, “whether they are aware of the procedural issue that are present in the present factual matrix”, the counsel humbly denies and apologises for the same.
1:59 PM- Impressively, the second counsel seems to be very attentive towards the questions of the arbitrators and can be seen tirelessly flipping through the pages kept on the podium. Though it appears that even such diligence is not sufficient to satisfy the arbitrators who reprimand the counsel over their lack of clarity in the statements they are making.
2:06 PM- And the time is up! The arbitrators do not seem to mind though, and proceed with their explanation related to the absence of certain provisions in the insurance contract.
2:09 PM- The counsel is reprimanded over their reckless use of the word “mandatory” in a part of their submission. The arbitrators informs the counsel about the need to use specific terminology only when explicitly mentioned, and to not needlessly throw big words around.
2:11 PM- With their hands on the head, the respondent researcher seems anxious and jittery. Could this possibly be due to their counsel’s inability to satisfy the arbitrators over most of their questions?
2:14 PM- After multiple extensions, the counsel is asked to read aloud certain sections from the RETLA clause and is further awarded an extension of 30 seconds to conclude. The arbitrators sure do seem very gracious today!
2:17 PM- With another extension of 30 seconds working as a holy grail for the counsel, they rush towards their teammates and grab a compendium to further substantiate their submission. The arbitrators pass a subtle smile amongst each other. The time for the respondents finally ends.
2:19 PM- The Claimants begin with their rebuttals which are focused on the insurance and exclusion clause while simultaneously addressing certain specific sections of the Hague rules
2:21 PM- The Respondents start with their submission against the rebuttal. Without many long sentences or the need of an extension, the counsel swiftly concludes their submission in a minute. With the rounds ending, the arbitrators seem laid back and relaxed. We wonder whether this is due to the performance of the participants or due to the upcoming lunch break.
COURTROOM-7: Skate vs Savannah
12: 38 PM- Hello and welcome back to the 10th NLUO IMAM 2023. As we reach the 2nd day of this prestigious competition, we hope to see some extraordinary mooting sessions. Let us see what this new day holds ahead for us!
12:49 PM- The teams have entered, greeted the Bench with their gracious smiles and taken their positions. The CRMs have some initial check-lists aaaaaaand we are good to go!
12:53 PM- The claimants start off by establishing their autonomy to be governed under the LMAA. They have adopted a two-pronged approach. Lets see how that goes!
12:58 PM- “Where does the doctrine of separability stem from counsel?” The Bench tries to tap into the conceptual clarity of the counsel. They seek statutory backing from the claimants.
1:04 PM- In no time, the discussion has moved to the question of summary proceedings. The arbitrators are quick to point out that the counsels have not mentioned the arguments in their written submissions. “No, you cannot do that”, they said.
1:08 PM- The co-counsel commences their submission by discussing the legality of the insurance certificate. They sure sound convincing at this juncture.
1:15 PM- Madam Arbitrator points out the certificate, and wishes that the claimants provide some clarity. With just 5 minutes left, the bench and the co-counsel continue to disagree.
1:22 PM- The co-counsel tries to satisfy the Bench that the certificate is not invalid, by citing certain case-laws. The Bench does not sound convinced. They must up their game now.
1:27 PM- With the claimants concluding their submission, the Respondents have assumed the podium. “How have you approached us, I am not asking why” the Bench questions the counsel. They provide a few sections from the statute, but all in vain.
1:33 PM- The respondents buttress on their right to reject the consignment, and put forth various grounds to supplement the same. The Bench leans forward, actively takes note and seeks clarification as and when necessary.
1:39 PM- “What is the issue you have about the bill of lading?” asks the arbitrator. The claimants listen intently, jotting down points for the rebuttals in full swing.
1:43 PM- Looking at the numerous faults pointed out by the respondents, the Bench wants the counsel to get into the shoes of the claimants and explain how would they have handled the issue.
1:48 PM- Next up is the co-counsel who has walked up to the podium with an optimistic attitude. They have already made the arbitrators nod in agreement with their position on summary disposition being violative of their right to natural justice. Good stuff!
1:54 PM- “As per the limited knowledge of the counsel, I say-”, the counsel seems to have given in to the bombardment of questions. The Bench allows them to move forward to the next set of arguments.
2:00 PM- Towards the end of their submissions, the Bench wishes the co-counsel to shed some light on their understanding of principles of natural justice. Looks like they missed out on this one.
2:08 PM- The rebuttals by the claimants were a series of counter-questions in the direction of their opponents.
2:14 PM- With this, we come to an end to this exhilarating session. Hope the readers had a good time, cause we sure did!
COURTROOM-8: Argonaut vs Mayflower
12:44 PM- We are back here for Day 2. The participants look anxious yet confident. They entered the room with rejuvenated spirits. Have they been able to cement their arguments with the feedback they received yesterday? Or did they take the criticism to heart? Nevertheless, it is evident that the first day has left behind a lasting impact.
12: 46 PM- The claimants begin their submissions and touch upon the composition of Arbitrators and the number of Arbitrators necessary. This is a point that has come up earlier but still as important ?
12: 52 PM- Two days of intense submissions and the question remains what law would govern the number of arbitrators. Will the Claimants be able to answer the judges’ correctly?
12:56 PM- The claimants argue that they require a summary disposal because the Respondents' case has no merit. A few feet away, the Respondents glare at the speaker waiting for their opportunity to speak.
12:59 PM- The co-counsel took the podium. With a distinctly different style of speaking, it sounds as if he is engaging in a conversation with the Bench. However, the Arbitrators interrupt them and demand them to speak louder. It is definitely not the conversation, the Claimants wish to be in.
1:06 PM- “Do the Respondents have a claim for damages? “ The Speaker answers, but it's not the one that the Bench was looking for.
1:11 PM- “How are you establishing a breach of contract?” With a half a minute left in their basket, have the Claimants failed to establish one of the most fundamental limbs of their argument? Meanwhile, one of the members of the Respondent team fidgets in anticipation of their rounds.
1:13 PM- The co-counsel takes their seat. The arbitrators whisper amongst each other and share a laugh while the Claimants engage in a discussion.
1:17 PM- “We agree that the Act will take precedence over a rule. But this Act is different.” remarks the Bench. The speaker seems confused and they repeat the answer. The judges do not miss a beat. This is not the first time they are dealing with this query. They clarify what they meant.
1:20 PM- The Counsel has begun their submissions by listing authorities to disprove the first point of the Claimants. The tables have now turned. “Can you give us even one case to prove your point ?” The Respondents seem to be stuck in an odd fix.
1:23 PM- “Are you making any argument here that is not in your written submissions?” asked the Bench. “In the course of discussing matters of such complexity, we might.” replied the Counsel. The Bench dismissed that claim and declared that the matter is not complicated. “Why do you demand a lengthy oral hearing? We will charge an extra fee.” The arbitrators laugh as the Counsel struggle to understand if it was a joke. Eventually, the mood lightens and everybody shares a similar smile.
1:26 PM- The Counsel has asked for an extension. But the Counsel extended their case beyond the extension. The Bench and the counsel smile in unison as the they promise to end their submissions with that sentence.
1:33 PM- The Co-counsel reads from their transcript as they mention the Bill of Lading. While reading the same, the counsel tries to avoid eye contact and continues, as if to dodge the upcoming questions.
1:37 PM- The Rebuttals begin and the Claimants seem to have made a blunder. The Counsel sits there with their hands folded as the Co-counsel makes the rebuttals.
1:39 PM- The Claimant speaker uses the analogy “It is like Cinderella all dressed up and nowhere to go” to criticise the points made by the Respondents.
1:45 PM- The Respondents take the podium and make their rebuttals. The judges end the last preliminary round of IMAM’ 23.
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS - SESSION 5 CONCLUDES!
DAY 2 | 25TH MARCH 2023
COURTROOM-1: Dreadnought vs Nautilus
5:52 PM- After the preliminary rounds and a rather delicious lunch break we are back to witness the quarter final rounds of the 10th Bose & Mitra Co. International Arbitration Moot (IMAM), NLUO. As the competition gets tougher, it will be interesting to see which teams bring out their best performances and bag their places at the semi-finals tomorrow.
6:04 PM- Upon the nod from the bench, the counsel of the claimant confidently walks up to the podium. The rounds have officially begun!
6:09 PM- “Is the seat explicitly mentioned somewhere?” Looks like the bench isn’t going to make it too easy for the counsel for claimants. The Arbitrator seeks direct, crisp and unambiguous answers from the counsel.
6:12 PM- The bench intently listens to the counsel without much interruption and gives them ample leeway to make the arguments.
6:17 PM- “Is your argument now not premature?” And lo and behold ! There goes the smooth. The counsel is seen in a fix and is rather flustered as the arbitrators look unconvinced and ask the counsel to reconsider.
6:20 PM- The bench begins a rapid line of questioning on the relevancy of the judgements cited by the counsel. It looks like the rounds won’t be becoming easier for the counsel anytime soon.
6:24 PM- The time’s up! Already? That flew fast. The co-counsel of the claimant is all ready to take up the place at the dais while the counsel requests an extension on time.
6:29 PM- The arbitrator throws in a hypothetical situation. Woah, that’s new! The counsel takes a minute before they seek another clarification and pick up a document to answer the question. The same is answered satisfactorily.
6:34 PM- “You cannot cite a new case. Slip a note with the citation to us and to the respondents later”. The bench is a real stickler for rules and standard practices.
6:40 PM- The arbitrators and the counsel shuttle between the issues of transshipment and insurance. While the counsel strives to prove their point, the bench looks for a better justification.
6:44 PM- The courtroom is drowned in silence as the bench pauses for an internal discussion regarding a clause cited by the counsel. They ask the counsel to reiterate their last argument.
6:54 PM- There is another deliberation amongst the arbitrators as they go over the reasoning and ask the counsel for a clarification regarding the procedure. But Alas ! The counsel fails to give one.
6:59 PM- The bench throws in a hypothetical scenario regarding ship-to-ship transfers! Just the arbitrators making sure that a wave of anxiety goes through the teams and stays there. Chilly indeed!
7:09 PM- The arbitrators are in no mood to let the counsel of the claimants go back to their seat as they continue with the questions. Overtime seems to be the new normal now.
7:20 PM- “Too much of anything is good for nothing.” The quote stands tall in this courtroom as the arbitrators advise the counsel against taking another overtime.
7:25 PM- The arbitrators seem to have gotten some scope for more questions as the counsel tries to conclude their arguments. The bench also gives a nod for the prayer.
7:32 PM- After a long wait, the respondents have taken up the place at the podium for presenting their arguments. Meanwhile, the arbitrators are busy with the marking of the first-half of the rounds.
7:37 PM- The arguments seem to be flowing without any interruption. As the arbitrators are flipping through the pages, it looks like it might just be the ‘calm before the storm.’
7:43 PM- The courtroom is silent again as the counsel looks for the answers on a case law and the arbitrators eagerly wait for the same. Upon receiving a justification, the counsel is asked to proceed further.
7:48 PM- The statements are going back and forth on the number of arbitrators as the bench brings in more tricky questions for the counsel to answer.
7:55 PM- The arbitrators indulge in elaborate discussions with the counsel regarding the RETLA clause and ask for more clarity on the issue. The counsel must satisfy the bench, keeping in mind the time management requirement.
8:02 PM- The co-counsel for the respondents is all set to replace the counsel as they conclude their arguments on the applicability of certain clauses referred to by the bench.
8:06 PM- The co-counsel confidently starts with the arguments for the remaining issues and continues without much interruption. All looks good for the respondents as of now.
8:13 PM- The arbitrators look for convincing arguments related to the bill of lading but look more focused on the issue of liability as they state, “Please show us how it’s a bad tender, counsel.” The counsel explains.
8:17 PM- The counsel points at the amount of damage to the goods for which the arbitrator inquires whether the counsel has checked upon the condition of the goods. They hesitate and reply that the facts are silent on the same thereby negating their own argument.
8:23 PM- The tension in the courtroom elevates as time is running out for the counsel of the respondents. The arbitrators continue with their questions and look for more refined answers.
8:26 PM- As the respondents begin with their prayer, the counsel of the claimants gear up for the rebuttals. The arbitrators can be seen indulged in a heavy discussion.
8:32 PM- After the rebuttals, the respondents now enter the field for the sur-rebuttals. The arbitrators can be seen smiling at the teams as they wait for the arguments to start.
8:35 PM- “Good session? A very good session indeed!” And with this both the teams are sent back for dinner as the arbitrators return to their sheets before calling it a day. The teams will have to wait in suspense before the results for the semifinals are disclosed. Till then, good night!
COURTROOM-2: Holland vs Fulton
5:51 PM- Good evening and welcome to the Quarter-Final Rounds of IMAM 2023. The bars are set higher this time. At stake is a spot in the Semis, and a lot more. It's now or never. We are thrilled to witness something like this!
5:53 PM- The arbitrators, with all vigour and vitality, have exchanged their pleasantries and are seated comfortably. When asked if they are ready for the teams, they enthusiastically reply- “We are born ready!” Umm, to give the participants a hard time? We shall shortly see.
6:01 PM- There, there! The participants, looking slightly jittery yet hopeful, take their respective seats. Guess no one told them that the arbitrators here are “born ready” for some grilling. Behold, the rounds begin! 6:08 PM- The arbitrators want to hear both the sides on the preliminary issue first, and then again on merits. This has made both the sides a bit nervous, they must make changes to their game plan.
6:08 PM- The arbitrators want to hear both sides on the preliminary issue first, and then again on merits. This has made both the sides a bit nervous, they must make changes to their game plan.
6:12 PM- The arbitrators are firing one question after another, and are pressing on extracting the accurate answers from the Counsel. The counsel stands confused, making attempts at giving a satisfactory answer. Seems like it is not going well for the claimants.
6:20 PM- The Bench is having a difficult time getting any good answer, or any answer for that matter. This Bench is a hard nut to crack, it seems.
6:25 PM- On being asked what authority are they referring to, the counsel starts walking towards the Bench. “Don’t approach the Bench, please.” the Bench exclaims.
6:30 PM- “What is the amount you are claiming?” “This is not under the jurisdiction of the Tribunal” replies the counsel. “Isn't that fundamental to the jurisdiction?” the arbitrator mutters to himself. He lays back, looking quite dissatisfied with their answer.
6:36 PM- The Bench catches the researcher off-guard by asking for a particular page number. They catch their breath and hurriedly flip the pages, trying to answer. The teams need to stay alert.
6:40 PM- Within a minute of the respondents starting their submission, the Bench poses the exact same questions they posed to the opposite side. Seems like the counsel for Respondents wasn't paying attention to the claimant’s submission. They fumble, struggling to respond to the back to back questions.
6:53 PM- Keeping in mind the few minutes left in their basket, the counsel rushes to cover the important points still left to be argued upon. The Bench decides to grant them 3 more minutes, owing to fair treatment since the claimants got such an extension, quite generous!
7:02 PM- The co-counsel of the claimants has made the mistake of using the term “suit” while presenting an argument. “But suits are filed in courts”, the arbitrator corrects them. They might have to pay a hefty price for such silly mistakes.
7:06 PM- “If this is a practice and you were aware of it, why didn't you point it out to them beforehand?” the Bench enquires. The counsel keeps their calm and composure intact, and successfully battles their way to an answer. Kudos!
7:20 PM- Both the teams are seen scribbling notes hurriedly, clearly stressed at the frequency of complex questions coming from the Bench.
7:31 PM- There is a lot of counter-questioning and disagreement between the Bench and the counsel. The counsel is pushing to satisfy the Bench of their position on the RETLA clause. The researcher seems to have better answers with them, seeing the back-to-back chits being sent to the podium. The chits are being ignored by the counsel.
7: 44 PM- The incessant questioning has put the counsel in a tough spot. They are clearly struggling to move to the subsequent issues, with very less time left.
7:49 PM- With their time is running out, the counsel is back at their seat, their expressions indicate their low spirits.
7: 53 PM- We have now come to an end to this fruitful session. See you in the Semi Finals. Adios!
COURTROOM-3: Valentina vs Eastland
6:00 PM- Welcome to the Quarter-Final Rounds where the top eight teams battle it out to secure their spot in the Semi-Finals. The arbitrators have taken their place and the participants are slowly entering the room with tensed looks on their faces. Let the battle begin!
6:02 PM- New rules! The arbitrators state that they would like to hear the Respondents first on the procedural issues before the Claimants take the podium! After some hurried discussions, Counsel for the Respondents begin.
6:05 PM- “Please understand the question”, the bench states. Three minutes in and the questions have started on the facts itself!
6:08 PM- The unexpected line of questioning has thrown off the counsel for the Respondents. The message is clear, the preparation after an exhaustive day one will be put to test. Only time will tell how this impacts the overall performance of the teams.
6:13 PM- “What is the issue with three arbitrators? You do not like us?” the bench asks as the counsel for the Respondents grapples to answer the questions of the bench.
6:18 PM- The bench is not buying the answer given on the LMAA rules. The grilling continues and the counsel for the Respondents are unable to proceed further. They have to come up with innovative solutions fast!
6:21 PM- The bench does not seem satisfied with the line of reasoning taken by the Respondents on the non-applicability of LMAA Rules. Time is running out!
6:25 PM- “What is a summary proceeding according to you?”, the bench repeats twice. The basics are being tested and the counsel is losing confidence by the second.
6:27 PM- Know the facts which are in your favour and which can go against you! The bench can ask for anything they deem fit, and they did as soon as the counsel of the Claimant took the stage to argue on the procedural issues.
6:30 PM- “We are very uncomfortable dealing with this issue, show us precedents”, the bench asks very keen on knowing whether the Claimants are sure they have approached the right forum. Alas! They are not sure and the counsel for the claimant seems to be losing their train of thoughts!
6:34 PM- How to decide what is mandatory and what is not? There are some questions that are enough to make you want to pull your hair out!
6:38 PM- The bench has stumped the counsel! The deafening silence has sent the Of-Counsel of the Claimants to a frenzy and scribble a note that can be passed to their counsel.
6:43 PM- Only questions and no answers. “You do not know the court, you do not cite the case!”, the bench states, asking the counsel to move on. Phew! That is harsh!
6:47 PM- The bench is visibly disappointed at the inability of the counsel to answer the basics of the documents they have relied on.
6:52 PM- Arguments on the substantial issues have commenced and the RETLA clause has taken the attention of the bench. The bench is trying to differentiate the cases cited from the present issue. Will the counsel for the claimant convince the bench?
6:57 PM- The bench is well-versed with the case being cited and is using the same against the Claimant to justify the claims of the Respondent. The Respondents seem quite excited to note down the same!
7:03 PM- You cannot mess around when you have veterans arbitrating your case. The Counsel for the Claimants fumbles as they are quizzed on the practices and the jurisprudence of the industry.
7:07 PM- “Let's get back to basics”, the bench states. It might sound simple, but it appears to be an unfamiliar territory for the counsels. Will the Claimants be able to display their skills of advocacy and logic?
7:11 PM- It is commendable that despite the incessant questioning, the Co-Counsel for the Claimants has kept their calm and composure. It is now time for the Respondents to argue on the merits of the case.
7:15 PM- The Researcher of the Claimants is seen to be yawning as the Respondents continue with their submissions. The exhaustion of the day can get to even the strongest of minds!
7:19 PM- A loaded question is asked by the bench on the compliance requirements in maritime law. The counsel for the Respondent quickly answers to the satisfaction of the bench.
7:23 PM- The Co-Counsels are being pushed to take on a more active role as the arguments proceed while one arbitrator is seen to keenly observe their movements as they hurriedly rifle through pages to find answers to questions that they did not anticipate.
7:28 PM- The Counsel is on the last issue but is slowly seen to be succumbing to the pressure that the bench is subjecting them to.
7:33 PM- As the proceedings come to a close, the bench is already seen to be scoring the participants. The bench has made up their mind! But the parties have one last opportunity to make an impression with their rebuttals and sur-rebuttals in two points.
7:40 PM- The rebuttals and sur-rebuttals end without much intervention from the bench. The bench is careful not to show their satisfaction with the same. It needs to be seen who gets knocked out and who will proceed to the Semi-Finals!
COURTROOM-4: Argonaut vs Bounty
6:00 PM- If the participants thought their trials and tribulations were over, they are in for a surprise. Welcome to one and all to the Quarter Finals of Bose and Mitra International Maritime Arbitration Moot! The participants have made it through the initial rounds. The Claimants take the podium and start their submissions.
6:05 PM- After a brief account of facts, the Speaker takes the bench towards their first issue related to the number of arbitrators according to the LMA rules.
6:08 PM- Questions around the bill of lading and arbitration agreement seem to have confused the speaker. The participants are visibly affected by the adrenaline rush.
6:12 PM- The Counsel directs the Bench’s attention towards their issue concerning Summary Disposal. The bench asks the Claimants about the applicability of different rules and why one should prevail over the other. The Claimant answers with confidence, but the Arbitrators do not look convinced.
6:17 PM- The Counsel attempts to elaborate the intention of the parties to dispose of the matter. However, the Bench seems unconvinced. An arbitrator asks about the novelty of their argument, which justifies the existence of a summary trial.
6:23 PM- The Counsel concluded their submission. The Co-counsel has taken the stage. Before they could begin, the mindful Arbitrators remind them of the question that was deflected by their Counsel. They demand an answer before proceeding any further.
6:27 PM- The Co-counsel has already taken three minutes to answer the question concerning the Agreement to Arbitrate. The Arbitrators are absolutely unreadable. Are they convinced or are they not? They demand the podium to be moved closer. The Co-counsel nods with a smile, but hesitates to comply. The submissions continue. Was the co-counsel able to recollect their thoughts during this transition?
6:30 PM- The Co-counsel attempts to answer a question put forth before them. However, the Arbitrators look down as they do so. The apparent nervousness compels the counsel to ask, “Are you here?”. The judges snap out of their train of thought and reply in unison, “yes”.
6:35 PM- The Arbitrators ask repetitively about the awareness of the buyer of the goods. It seems as if the Co-counsel has succumbed to the fiery line of questioning. The room has fallen silent as the Co-counsel goes through his sheets in order to find the answer.
6:42 PM- The Co-counsel transitions into the final limb of their agreement. The Bench points out an error in the memo and the Co-counsel humbly apologises.
6:48 PM- The Respondents approach the podium to start their submissions. The Claimants sit with their arms folded awaiting the future.
6:54 PM- The Bench asks why the Respondents believe that there is an ambiguity regarding the number of arbitrators when they have agreed to the rules. The Counsel answers with a landmark case. The Bench seems satisfied with the answer.
6:58 PM- The Bench asked, “What exactly is a summary proceeding?”. Furthermore, an arbitrator explains why the right to be heard does not mean the right to be heard orally.
7:08 PM- The Bench now starts off with a rapid line of questioning, the counsel attempts to battle their way through. Looks like they managed to convince the bench and line of questioning has come to a halt. Has the Counsel successfully achieved what no one could ?
7:13 PM- The Counsel has been awarded two extensions and they have also elapsed. The Bench fires another question and demands a clarification. The Counsel smiles and glances at the time left. They are awarded an opportunity to answer.
7:16 PM- The Co-counsel begins their submissions. The Bench asks a few questions. But it seems as if the Co-counsel came prepared with a compendium of cases. They quickly refer to a landmark judgment concerning a similar issue.
7:26 PM- The Bench has refrained from asking any questions for the past three minutes. The Respondent’s round has been smooth so far. The Co-counsel has not faltered and has been able to face every question that has come their way. The researchers smile and nod their head in agreement as they inch closer towards the end of the rounds.
7:33 PM- With seven minutes remaining on the clock for rebuttals, the Claimants ask their first question concerning the ignorance of the Respondents with respect to the ever changing nature of Maritime Law.
7:38 PM- The Respondents take the podium and efficiently utilise the time allotted to them. The Co-counsel highlights the significance of good practises in Maritime law that have prevailed over a century. After responding to other questions that had been made by the Claimants, the Respondents take their seats.
7:40 PM- After ninety minutes, the exhilarating round has finally come to an end. The participants vacate the room to engage in a conversation with each other after being at each other’s throats for more than just a while.