13th Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court (2020/2021)

8 - 19 March 2021

26. Februar 2021

For the third time, the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory is hosting, together with the international law firm Morgan Lewis, the 13th Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court, the oldest and most prestigious student competition in the area of investment protection law. The 2021 Moot Court will take place online from 8 - 19 March 2021, https://www.investmentmoot.org/.

This year’s case is based on an actual historical case that took place during the early 19th century involving a zinc mine in Vielle Montagne. Vielle Montagne is located in Neutral Moresnet, the neutral zone (Niemandsland) between Prussia and the Netherlands, later Belgium (after it declared independence from the Netherlands on 4 October 1830). Until 1919, Moresnet held a nationless status with a legal system that was ‘frozen in time’ and used the Napoleonic Code as its primary legal source until as late as the early 20th century.

The zinc mining concession that is dealt with in this year’s case was issued in April 1810 by the French authorities to Jean-Jacques Dony, who later left the joint venture. The zinc mine and the concession issued in 1810, including the adjoining production sites, continued to operate under the direction of Dony’s former business partners, Hector Chaulet and Francois-Dominique Mosselmann. Prussia, having an interest in eliminating the competition for their own zinc mines in Kantowicze, sued Chaulet, Mosselmann and their zinc mine at least three times.

From 1823 to 1840, Prussia, the Netherlands and (after 1830) Belgium pursued their claims for the mining fees issued under a French Law of 1810 before Dutch and French courts. One presupposition of this year’s case is that Prussia, the Netherlands and (later) Belgium are all parties to the hypothetical Vienna Investment Treaty (VIT). As such, they might be in violation of Article 8 (1) VIT by posing their claims to a national court without notifying the other party in writing beforehand, therefore not seeking settlement via negotiation first.

Further information on the details of the case, the treaties and the full case study can be found here: https://www.investmentmoot.org/case-study/.

Participating student teams will prepare pleadings for both sides and then compete against each other in several rounds. The winner of each round will move on to the next round, until the two final teams compete in one final pleading, which will take place on 19 March 2021, 13:30 - 15:00 (CET), to determine the winning team.

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