Name of Interviewee: Kaustubh Srivastava
Q: Tell us a little about the team members.
Our Team representing Dr. RMLNLU, Lucknow consisted of 4 members. Siddhant Ahuja (3rd Year) and I (3rd Year) were the speakers and Devansh Rathi (3rd Year) and Ravi Shankar Pandey (2nd Year) were the researchers for the team. We have all had some mooting experience before. This moot was special for Devansh Rathi, for he is also the winner of NLIU Corp Law Moot 2019-2020 edition.
Q: Please tell us about the moot court competition.
The 5th NLIU Justice R K Tankha Memorial International Arbitration Moot, 2020 is one of the most reputed Arbitration Moots in India. The Moot was first organized in 2005, and is in its 5th edition since it has turned International. The subject matter revolved around the International Commercial Arbitration which included international statutes like UNCITRAL Model Law on ICA and SIAC rules etc. The problem was acutely designed and crafted by Mr. Sagnik Das. It had multiple issues dealing with the validity of the agreement, impact of insolvency proceedings, third party issues, fundamental breach of contract etc. The problem awarded us with ample opportunities to discover multiple contours of International Arbitration. I personally had a wonderful time reading on the validity of arbitration agreements, the status of pathological clauses, pre-conditions and the impact of IBC on the arbitration proceedings being conducted outside the country. The moot was organised by the Moot Court Society of NLIU Bhopal. It was one of the finest moots I have been a part of, and I can say that for I am a part of Dr. RMLNLU’s Moot Court Committee, so, I understand the hard work that goes behind the scene. Everything from accommodation, to the schedule of the rounds to the quality of adjudication, was absolutely top-notch. Each and every judge had a very distinctive contribution and was briefed about the problem exceptionally well. The bench was always balanced. We had the distinct honour of being adjudicated by Mr. Das himself in the bench of the Semi-Finals and we had an amazing experience with the quality of interaction.
Q: What drove you towards this particular moot court competition despite such a vast number of available options?
As I have previously mentioned, 5th NLIU Justice RK Tankha International Arbitration Moot is a brand in itself, which guarantees quality. It is one of India’s biggest International Arbitration Moot. The Moot is supported by luminaries in the field. It was only natural for the teams to opt for a moot that would open so many avenues with respect to learning in the field of International Arbitration.
Q: How many days / months did you take to prepare for the moot? How many hours a day did you devote?
I, on behalf of my entire team, can very proudly say that mooting is not a task where you so pompously devote around 10-12 hours as some teams may claim. We invested a good month, but we were familiar with the subject because of our prior engagements. A very interesting division of issues and a holistic approach decided by the team helped us to scale the research on multiple fronts. We had some really valuable guidance from our seniors, at the stage of research and also mock. The preparation was based on a logical understanding of the issue and the argumentative nature of our approach, which in my opinion, helped us prepare us for the rounds as well. The principle was to be familiar with every concept so as not to be caught off guard by any opponent, but still to have our best arguments ready in the arsenal.
Q: How did you find the judges of the competition? Do you think they were equipped with enough knowledge about the moot proposition?
Absolutely, if am to comment on anything about the moot, one very important factor that the Moot Court Society should be credited with is the quality of the briefing that the judges were equipped with. Each round had a very balanced bench, with judges extremely familiar with facts of the case, which really helped the speaker, plus they were also experts in the areas of law we were arguing, which kept the conversation very engaging and added value at every step.
Q: If a team is preparing for this moot, what should it keep in mind during preparation?
Familiarising yourself with the subject matter is very helpful, to draw logical arguments. Every issue expects a logical deduction which needs to be done to allow space for an active engagement with the problem that the issue seeks to solve. Reading literature and going through cases is a routine must. One very important factor that I took from this experience was discipline. Discipline in your preparation, even if it is 2 hours a day, should take you very far in the competition. Another thing that I believe is very essential is the impromptu skill of thinking on one’s feet, but that comes from experience, so mocks really help you with that. A strong Memorial Submission with good speakers, like Siddhant, can help you in this competition.
Q: Do you think mooting, as a co-curricular activity, plays any role in shaping your personality and career? If yes, then how?
Perhaps, the activity of mooting has taught me researching in a way that is closer to my internship experiences, but I would not say they are substitutable. Speaking before a bench and being able to argue is also something you learn, making arguments, and being able to present them in that courteous tone. I believe this can also be developed through debating, except you might just need to work a little harder on the courteousness part in that case. It has taught me how to work with a team and take responsibility for your talent and your failures which is quite important in this profession.
Q: List five essentials, which every mooter should take care of while preparing for a moot court competition.
Discipline, Logical Understanding, Reading, MS Office Drafting and Formatting and Being comfortable with the judges when they share their concerns during the rounds.