MOOT COURT SKILLS: HOW TO EXCEL IN MOOT COURT COMPETITIONS?
  • 21 May , 2020
  • Uncategorized

This piece delves into critical understanding of moot court competitions. What is the meaning of moot court and thereafter how can one effectively perform in these competitions is the main focus of this article.

What is moot court and Moot Court Competition?

Moot court is where the court like situation is created. It can therefore be called an artificial court.Moot court helps students learn to analyze legal issues; its larger purpose is to teach students the practical side of practicing law[1]. A moot court competition simulates a court hearing (usually an appeal against a final decision), in which participants analyse a problem, research the relevant law, prepare written submissions, and present oral argument. Moot problems are typically set in areas of law that are unsettled or that have been subject to recent developments. They usually involve two grounds of appeal, argued by each side[2].

Why moot court is important? 

There are many reasons to as to why moot is important. However, mooting enables students[3]:

  • to engage with and think deeply about interesting and topical legal issues,
  • to enhance their advocacy, legal research and writing skills,
  • to work closely with and learn from their peers
  • to demonstrate their interest in advocacy and competence as an advocate to prospective employers. Most students find mooting to be intellectually rewarding and highly enjoyable. It can be nerve-racking and frustrating but it is a lot of fun.

What are the fundamentals to excel in moot court competitions?

Though the fundamental to excel in these competitions may vary person to person as per their own real experiences, following are some of the fundamental skills and tips which the aspirants must take into consideration:

  1. Team selection

The very first step for excelling in such competitions is to choose your team wisely. If there is no understanding among the team members, the team cannot perform effectively in the competition.

  1. Choose your area of interest

After formation of the team, next comes in line is your interest area as to what all are the law areas that attract you. If you choose something different from your interest area, there is nothing bad in that; however, it will take more efforts on the part of the team and research.

  1. Research extensively

When you have chosen a particular area of law and thereafter decided to participate in a moot court competition, the entire team is advised to research extensively on each and every point, law, issue involved in the moot proposition. For this you must also divide the workload of research. However it does not convey that you only have to know your part alone; at later stage, the entire team must discuss the whole thing with each other.

  1. Approaching a Moot Proposition

A moot problem is always based in facts. The aim of a moot is not merely to present a legal dissertation to the judge, but to explain what the result should be when the law is applied to the facts of a particular case. Therefore, it is important to be aware of exactly what the facts of your moot problem are. Rechecking the facts often will be an important part of any preparation, but to begin with, you will almost certainly be reading the facts to identify the applicable law and the likely legal issues[4].

  1. Preparing the details/Memorandum

The following steps must be taken into consideration while preparing a memorandum:

  1. General Reading: It also involves knowing the rules[5] which are involved in the moot proposition.
  2. Scholarly work on the problem
  3. Relevant Case Laws: Including Majority and Dissenting opinions[6]
  4. Read all the important authorities on the very problem
  5. Prepare the solid responses to likely questions
  6. Create a brief outline of each argument and practice them regularly[7]
  7. Oral arguments must be very effective[8]
  8. Structure and Sequence of arguments: Sincerely memorize your argument opening and roadmap.
  9. Never speak over a judge
  10. Know your arguments completely
  11. Do not speak out from written pages
  12. Always be confident and answer to the point
  13. Conclude with crisp and solid notes

Some basic tips for moot court competitions

Apart from the above mentioned fundamentals, the following are some of the miscellaneous tips which must be followed by the team members throughout the competition:

  1. It is highly critical to engage with the bench
  2. Always regret humbly to the bench if you do not know the answer to any question
  3. Sincerely manage your time while making oral submissions[9]
  4.  Do not rush, read or miscite the authority
  5. Do not present your argument as your opinion and don’t ask judges questions
  6. Address judges most humbly
  7. Wear proper attire and answer directly
  8. Always be credible and make simple argument[10]

With the above-mentioned tips and skills, one must certainly excel in any of such competitions.

 


[1] The Free Dictionary [Internet]. “Moot Court”. West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2, The Gale Group, 2008 [cited 20 May. 2020]. Available from: https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Moot+Court.

[2] Whar is mooting, https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/current-students/mooting-oxford/mooting-what-it-and-why-take-part.

[3] Id.

[4] Mooting Manual, University of South Pacific, http://www.paclii.org/law-and-culture/mootrules.pdf.

[5] WINNING THE MOOT COURT ORAL ARGUMENT: A GUIDE FOR INTRA- AND INTERMURAL MOOT COURT COMPETITORS, http://www.cisg.law.pace.edu/cisg/moot/Winning_the_Moot_Court_Oral_Argument.pdf.

[6] Noaman Azhar, UNDERSTANDING MOOT COURT: A Beginner’s Guide to Competing in Moot Court Competitions, http://www.ttubob.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Understanding-Moot-Court.pdf.

[7] Tips for moot court tryouts: 7 steps of preparation, https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/blog/tips-for-moot-court-tryouts-7-steps-of-preparation/.

[8] Tips on Oral advocacy, Duke University, https://law.duke.edu/life/mootcourt/tips/.

[9] Supra note 2.

[10] Tips for moot court tryouts: Oral Arguments do’s and don’ts, https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/blog/moot-court-oral-argument-tips/.

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