The Ian Fletcher International Insolvency Moot is the most prestigious moot competition in the field of international insolvency law in the world. Even though the competition is still relatively young (the first competition was organised in 2017), it has already gained a significant international reputation.
In the words of the organisers:
- “The Fletcher Moot encourages the best and brightest students around the globe to learn about international insolvency law and international commercial litigation. The competition is dedicated to raising the profile of insolvency and restructuring within the university curriculum.
- Students will have a chance to engage with their peers, judges and members of international insolvency bodies. It also provides an avenue for academics, judges and a diverse range of insolvency experts to collaborate in mentoring the next generation of lawyers.
- The Fletcher Moot is coordinated by Professor Adrian Walters (Chicago-Kent College of Law, red.), and Jelena Wenlock is the Moot Registrar.”
Last academic year, the competition attracted a record number of 28 registrations from law schools across the world. This is a similar number to comparable moot courts in a niche field of law, such as the International Maritime Law & Arbitration Moot, and the PAX Moot.
Comparable as well to other moot courts, the Fletcher Moot consists of two parts: written submissions for both claimant and respondent, followed by pleading sessions directly against other universities. The teams are evaluated on both these aspects separately. Previous winners of the written aspect of the competition include the National Law University (India), Leiden University, the University of Queensland (Australia), and the National University of Singapore. Previous winners of the oral pleadings include the University of British Columbia (Canada), Singapore Management University (twice), and the National Law University (India).
The venue of the pleading sessions is different every year. The pleadings have been organised by the Queensland University of Technology in Sydney and in London, by the University pf British Columbia in Vancouver, and by Singapore Management University in Singapore. Both Leiden University and Radboud University have represented the Netherlands in previous editions of the Fletcher Moot.
A university team consists of two to maximum four students, and they may be supervised by a maximum of two coaches. Teams are evaluated in four categories: legal analysis, research, argument, and style. Competing students must resolve the moot problem based on the Model Laws on Insolvency created by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). These are most notably the UNCITRAL Model Law on Cross-border Insolvency (1997) and the UNCITRAL Model Law on Enterprise Group Insolvency (2019). These instruments have been determinative in unifying the field of international insolvency across all continents and they are leading in the academic debate on this topic.
The competition is supported by the two largest international associations for insolvency practice: the III (International Insolvency Institute) and INSOL International (International Association of Restructuring, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Professionals.
Finally, the name giver of the competition, Professor Ian Fletcher, is internationally recognised for his outstanding achievements in the field of insolvency law. In 2013, he was the first academic to be awarded the highly prestigious INSOL Scroll of Honour. Sadly, Professor Fletcher passed away in 2018.
Following government measures in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, the entire 2021 competition will take place virtually.
The moot problem has already been released on 11 September 2020. Registrations for the competition close on 16 October. Subsequently, on 6 November the deadline for written submissions is scheduled. Teams are informed of their acceptance to the oral rounds in December. Finally, the oral rounds will take place in March 2021, with the grand final scheduled provisionally on 20 March 2021. Since the competition is already in progress, it is crucial that interested students can apply as soon as possible.
In conclusion, the Fletcher Moot is an exceptional opportunity for students, studying a Commercial Law or Private Law master, who want to deepen their knowledge on international insolvency law. At the same time, this competition uniquely prepares students for legal practice by simulating a real-case scenario. Especially in times of economic turmoil, like nowadays, educating excellent insolvency law practitioners is essential. Few better opportunities than the Ian Fletcher International Insolvency Moot exist to do so.