Edition 2018

Litigators for a day: LL.M student experience @PAX MOOT’18

On the 22nd of May, the PAX Moot Eliminatory Round took place in Paris with 8
universities from all around Europe mooting a cross-border climate change case
which addressed a number of complex transnational legal questions in Private
International Law and was hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce

The Università Degli Studi di Milano team was composed by myself
together with Adela Višnjić (second year students of the LL.M) and
Elisabetta Stringhi (third year student of the LL.B). Prof. Albert Henke, Professor of International Investment Law,
was the Academic Tutor.

This year inter-university PAX Moot organised by Sciences Po Law School was
the 6th edition and has gone global to include teams from universities in
Europe and beyond. That gave us, the participants, the possibility to
interact and become friends with other young professionals that share the same
passion for Private International Law aspects and Sustainable Development. 

During the preparations, we had the chance to deepen our knowledge of
Private International Law aspects as well as Sustainable Development aspects.
Due to the fact that the Plaintiff (Luciano Diego Oliva a Bolivian farmer)
alleges that the Claimant’s (a Dutch energy giant and the world’s
fourth-largest electricity producer) industrial projects, including the
construction of six giant dams upriver, are the cause of the immediate risk of
overflow from a swollen glacier lake to his hometown of Rurrenabaque, situated along
the bank of the Beni River. In addition the Plaintiff claim that, as one of the
world’s top emitters of climate-altering carbon dioxide, DEG is more generally
responsible for climate change and its deleterious effects on the health of
farming communities, modes of production and cultural forms of life,
specifically for the effects of climate change suffered in the past 10 years in
Bolivia and Peru.

For the Eliminatory Round each team as to be prepared to plead on four main
Private International Law Issues (as jurisdiction, and applicable law) for both
the Plaintiff and the Claimant, as the moot case was an appeal before the Court
of Appeals of Amsterdam. 

As the moot case shares plenty in common with the Lluiya v. RWE, an ongoing law-suite in-front of
the Oberlandesgericht (Civil Court of Appeals) of Hamm, Germany, we had the
opportunity to research, formulate arguments and plead on a crucial
contemporary topic and, in fact, practice as the litigators of the first
International Climate Litigation Case Based on Private Law Liability.

At the beginning of the Eliminatory Round our team was assigned to represent
the Plaintiff, Mr. Oliva, and to plead on the issue of Jurisdiction of the
Dutch Court over DegHo.Which is one among many satellites in the DEG corporate
group worldwide, was incorporated in the Cayman Islands, and has her central
administration in London. To complete the picture it is important to know that
all DEGmom industrial activities in Bolivia are run by DEGBo, which is a
Bolivian subsidiary of DEGHo. 

On a personal note, it was an outstanding experience to pleaded before a
distinguished panel of judges, which included Hans van Loon, Former
Secretary-General of the HCCH
(The Hague)
, and Agnès Maitrepierre from the Cour de Cassation in Paris.
And an amazing opportunity to learn and improve our litigation skills (as
formulating a coherent argument), particularly the ability to provide ‘on the
spot’ response as part of the rebuttal and the counter-rebuttal.