The International Maritime Law Arbitration Moot (IMLAM) involves a dispute relating to commercial maritime law where the controversy is determined before an arbitral tribunal. Students need not have previously studied maritime law and in fact several past winning teams had no prior knowledge of maritime law before undertaking the moot. As a counsel for Claimant and Respondent you represent the interests of your client and try to win the case.

You first submit written memoranda both for Claimant and Respondent and then prepare for the oral pleadings where you present your arguments during the arbitration hearing. The competition attracts each year more universities from around the world and gives an amazing opportunity to broaden the knowledge in the areas of maritime, contract and common law. It is usually held in cities playing a crucial role in the maritime industry like London, Singapore, Hong Kong or Sydney.

For detailed information on the moot, please visit this website.


Phase I. Writing Memoranda November-April

In November, i.e. before the moot problem is released, you are expected to attend preparatory sessions where you will acquire basic knowledge on maritime law, arbitration and legal writing. These will help you get a headstart so that you can be better prepared to work on the case when the moot scenario is released, beginning of December. Once the moot problem is released you will be asked to develop strategies and theories, based on the facts of the case. At this time you should also expect an examination on the facts of the case as well as brainstorm sessions with practitioners and professors to develop your arguments.

Your main task is to prepare written memoranda for both claimant and respondent. The team will be divided into two sides, Claimant’s team and Respondent’s team, while the members of both teams will focus either on the procedure or the merits of the case. That way not only will you be able to deepen the knowledge on the particular aspects of the case, but also to develop team-work skills in order to cover all issues relevant for your client.

During this phase you are required to upload a memo every one or two weeks.  This way, we can follow your progress and offer advice early on in the process. The coaches will give feedback on the uploaded materials. In addition there will be meetings with practitioners and professors to discuss your memoranda.

Phase II. Prepare for the pleadings April-July 

During this phase you will start practicing on your pleadings. We will meet every week for about 3 hours so everyone gets to plead at least once every week. The practice sessions will prepare you for the oral part of the competition that will be held for 2018 at the University of Queensland, Australia. Again, you can expect meetings with practitioners and professors who will advise you on presentation skills. Apart from that you will be offered individual meetings where coaches will advise you how to improve your individual performance.

For the general rounds of the competition you can expect that the team members will be allocated different tasks depending on their strong points. As a result some students may plead in front of the tribunal, whereas others will prepare required documents or do on the spot research. 

Time and effort

You have to spend an average of 8-10 hours per week on researching and preparing your arguments. Furthermore, you can expect that more time investment is required in April before the written memoranda are due and in June before the general rounds of the competition. Be aware that we will try to arrange our meetings and submission taking into account the weeks you have exams or other courses, but this is not always possible.

Moreover, during the first phase, it is very important to share any and all information you found while researching your own topic with all of the team members. You will find out that all topics are related to one another so that without sharing your information the team will not succeed. The success of the team will be measured not only by the quality of arguments you prepare but also by the effective team-work. Thus, have in mind that your individual work needs always to be supported by the cooperation with the rest of your team.

You might think that after the memoranda have been submitted all research is finalized. You will find out however, that when you start the preparation for the oral rounds, the strategy for pleadings might require the preparation of additional argumentation. It should be noted that you are not obliged to use the arguments you presented in your written submissions. As a result, a team can come up with completely new or different arguments for the oral pleadings.

To facilitate the cooperation between team members, you can create some type of Dropbox/Google Drive, to which all team members can contribute valuable sources. 


This course is an elective course (5 ECTS) for all master students. After the finals in July each student will obtain a grade based on the participation during the written and the oral stage of the Moot.

Grades will be awarded according to the following standards:

  • Partial grade based on the quality of personal submissions during the preparation of memoranda for claimant and respondent (50 %)

    Such aspects as the quality of research and arguments, writing style and team work regarding exchange of materials and facilitating other members’ work will be taken in consideration.
  • Partial grade based on group performance (15 %)

    Such aspects as following the schedules, team preparations and cooperation with coaches will be taken in consideration.

  • Partial grade for quality of pleading (35 %)

    Such aspects as preparation for the pleading sessions in Rotterdam, and preparation for the general rounds at the venue of the competition (including on the spot research, preparation of documents and pleadings) will be taken in consideration.


  • 'The participation on IMLAM is an enriching experience that upgrades your skills in writing, pleading and doing legal research. It also improves substantially your time management skills, taking into account that the mooties have to do their Masters at the same time.' - Anonymous IMLAM 2017 

  • 'Fantastic experience! Two main reasons trigger instantly this answer. Firstly, the opportunity we had to explore some legal issues within the maritime industry at an unpaired depth. The other reason to be, the opportunity to see where the standards of competence lie at this stage, since we could make contact and compete with possibly the best students of this branch and in front of reputed arbitrators. Challenging adventure, yet undoubtedly rewarding!' Ruben Rodrigues, participant IMLAM 2017

  • The IMLAM is a great experience! It costs time, patience, and endurance but you will also learn a lot and have fun. It is a completely different experience than learning about the material in class. You get much deeper knowledge on the relevant topics. In addition, you will improve your research and writing skills. The preparation for the oral rounds is altogether another experience. You and the other team members will spend a lot of time together working on the pleading notes and practicing to plead. The actual competition will be exhausting and thrilling at the same time! All your work of the previous six months will be put to the test. It is really fun to meet all the teams from the other universities. I can only recommend to join the IMLAM.' - Anonymous participant IMLAM 2017