To be Organised by Career Launcher Allahabad, 28th October '12
Concept of MOOT COURT:
What is mooting?
Mooting is the oral presentation of a legal issue or problem against an opposing counsel and before a judge. It is perhaps the closest experience that a student can have whilst at university to appearing in court.
Why should I get involved in mooting?
Mooting now forms a compulsory part of certain law courses, but is still a totally voluntary student-organised activity in other law schools. The experience of mooting will have a positive impact on your future career.
As many students will be aware, the legal profession is an increasingly difficult one to enter. Application forms for legal professional courses, solicitors’ firms and barristers’ chambers often demand that a candidate can provide evidence of their advocacy or mooting experience whilst at university (over and above any of the more traditional areas of advocacy such as debating).
Mooting may also help you to build confidence in public speaking, general research, and presentation skills. In other words mooting experience can benefit every student whether or not one plans to follow a traditional legal career path upon graduation.
How is mooting done?
A typical moot problem is concerned solely with a point (or points) of law. Normally it will take the form of a case heard on appeal from a lower court with the grounds of appeal clearly stated.
A moot usually consists of four speakers, divided into two teams, each consisting of a leading and junior counsel. One team represents the appellants, the other the respondents. Mooters may be judged individually or as a team.
The Moot Court
The moot 'court' should reflect, as far as possible, a courtroom scenario in reality. The moot is presided over by at least one judge who delivers a judgment at the end of the moot on the law and on the result of the moot itself. The presiding judge is supported by the clerk of the moot who is responsible for providing the judge, when required, with a copy of each legal authority cited by the mooters in the course of their arguments. The clerk also times the moot speeches. The two teams of mooters sit at separate tables, taking turns to stand to present their arguments to the moot court.
A moot 'speech' will normally have a time limit of between 15 and 20 minutes. So be prepared to be on your feet, either presenting your argument or answering questions about your argument, for that amount of time. For the duration of their arguments the mooters are required to maintain the appropriate courtroom manner (remembering, to address the court and fellow counsel in the accepted form). Further, to add a touch of authenticity to the moot, the participants are often required to wear gowns.
Preparing for a Moot
- Identifying the grounds for appeal
Mooters should first read the moot problem carefully in order to ascertain the precise grounds of appeal.
- Conducting research
Given that most moots are team competitions, it may be convenient to divide the research between the leader and junior, but co-operation is essential because many moot teams lose because each team member is unsure what the other is arguing. (MOOTERS can refer to text books; footnotes for research).
- Structuring and presenting the argument
Having decided what view the participant is representing they are expected to persuade the judge to accept. They need to work out how the argument is to progress to that conclusion. The easiest way to note down the required stages of the argument is by arranging each discrete point in a sensible order and then numbering them accordingly.
The submission should be brief, as intelligible as possible. Excessive use of legal jargon should be avoided. When formulating the arguments, basic issues should not be ignored.
Finally, after all that — do not read out the moot speech. It is an aide memoir only. The moot will test not only your ability to present the argument, but also your response to questions and flexibility when interrupted by the judge.
What exactly is mooting?
A simple question, but it is surprising how many in the legal world, as well as outside it, have no idea what a mooting competition is.
In a moot, two pairs of 'advocates' argue a fictitious legal appeal case in front of a 'judge' (normally a lecturer or postgraduate student). To win, it is not necessary to win the legal case, but to make the best presentation of the legal arguments.
Mooting is useful for developing legal skills of analysis and interpretation, but also personal skills of argument and public speaking. Mooting is also useful, of course, for those considering a legal career, either as a solicitor or barrister.
Where do such sessions happen?
Many universities now have a mooting course or module available as part of a law degree. It may also be available to non-lawyers - check with your law department. If not, student law societies generally run their own mooting programme, often featuring internal competitions.