Introducing Moot Court

Moot court is one of the crucial extracurricular activities in many law schools. Moot courts have been around since the late 1700s.[1] Students participate in moot court in preparing and arguing cases in front of judges.[2] This practice of ‘mooting’ has survived and evolved over a half millennia and is still widely used as a teaching tool in universities all over the world.[3] According to Oxford and Chambers dictionary; the term ‘moot’ means to propose for discussion; argue for practice; a matter about which there may be disagreement or uncertainly.[4] The moot ‘court’ reflects a courtroom scenario in reality.[5] A moot court competition simulates a court hearing in which participants analyses a problem, research the relevant law, prepare written submissions, and present oral argument.[6]

Mooting

Ambassador Bernicat congratulated the finalists and coaches from the Bangladesh National Round of the 2018 Phillip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition. [Author: 2nd one from left]

 

Steps in Moot Court Competition

Moot competitions are a great way to connect with the legal profession and build advocacy skills.[7] There are some stages or steps in mooting or moot court competition which are stated briefly as follows:

  1. Moot Problem: A moot problem is a pre-drafted factual situation in which a point or points of law are in dispute.[8] Usually these are typically set in areas of law that are unsettled or that have been subject to recent developments.[9] Moot problem is constructed in a manner that consists of facts or ingredients for both parties.
  2. Memorials: In a moot court competition, the Counsels, have to prepare memorials (written submission, i.e. petitions) on behalf of plaintiff and defendant, or, complainant and respondent and both, as the case may be.[10] The task of each team is to support the side of the argument with which it has been presented.[11] This responsibility is primarily vested on the part of the researcher/s of the team who prepares written arguments in the light of case laws, provisions, statutes, institutional writings and legal principles. A memorial contains cover; table of contents; index; index of authorities; statement of jurisdiction; statement of facts; summary of pleadings; body of pleadings; and conclusion/prayer for relief. Depending on the competition, students may spend a semester researching and writing the memorials.[12] The research and writing involved in preparing the written memorials are a crucial element of success in mooting competitions.[13]
  3. Oral Submission: The oral submission is the most exciting part moot court competition. A moot usually consists of two speakers known as Mooters. Mooters (sometimes called counsels or agents) present arguments for or against the case during the competition. Counsels are required to present their arguments within a set time-limit.[14] There must be reflection proper research as to the legal and factual knowledge upon the specific matter.  Knowledge and application of lawis tested, with an objective to check the depth over the subjects involved in the moot problem; answer to court questions, to check the thoroughness of the “Counsel” over the subjects and his degree of ‘alert’ intelligence; advocacy or presentation, to check his overall skills as lawyer and perusal of facts and perusal of memorials, again to check the presence of mind and depth of study of the ‘Counsel’.[15] Mooting is not the same as public speaking or debating rather is a specialized application of the art of persuasive advocacy.[16]

 

Significance

Gaining mooting experience provides a positive impact on participant’s future career.[17] Mooting also helps to build confidence in public speaking, general research, and presentation skills, which are useful skills you can transfer to most careers.[18] Legal Research is an integral part of learning and practicing the profession of law[19] which is learnt through moot court.

Major advantages of active participation in moot courts[20] are stated in the following:

  1. It is considered as an effective technique of teaching law by means of practical training,
  2. It helps the law students to develop argumentative talent,
  3. Students can learn the court procedures by participating in moot court without attending the courts,
  4. Ithelps the law students to learn the theory of law by way of practical approach,
  5. Itenhances argumentative talent of the law student as well as his presentation skills in a timely manner,
  6. Thisfurther enhances the research skills of the students,
  7. Moot courthelps to develop self-possession, fluency, clarity or enunciation, practice of court procedure, and the art of persuasion and presentation of moot problem,
  8. Thishelps the student to develop the ability to argue for the party with Court etiquette,
  9. Moot courtwill also help the law students to learn the duties of an advocate,
  10. It further, helps the student to develop their presentation skills as well as court mannerisms.

Participating in moot court can also provide a unique bonding experience between the members of the team and give them a mini-support system during law school.[21] In short, Moot Court helps in learning the procedures that we learn in real courts (although in restricted conditions).[22]

[1] Michelle Fabio, “What Is Moot Court?”, Updated August 24, 2017, accessed March 7, 2018, https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-moot-court-2154874.

[2] Ibid.

[3] History of mooting, accessed March 3, 2018, https://bond.edu.au/intl/current-students/opportunities/mooting-bond/what-mooting.

[4] LAWZ MAGAZINE, “Moot Court- Significance in the Legal Education”, accessed February 7, 2018, http://lawzmag.com/2015/10/24/moot-court-significance-in-the-legal-education/.

[5] Oxford University Press, “What is mooting?”, accessed March 1, 2018, https://global.oup.com/ukhe/mooting/whatismooting/?cc=gb&lang=en&.

[6] University of Oxford, Mooting: What is it and why take part?, accessed February 17, 2018, https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/current-students/mooting-oxford/mooting-what-it-and-why-take-part.

[7] University of Tasmania, “What is Mooting?”, accessed February 12, 2018, https://utas.libguides.com/mooting.

[8] University of Aberdeen, “What is Mooting?”, accessed March 1, 2018, https://www.abdn.ac.uk/law/student-activities/a-guide-to-mooting-136.php.

[9] University of Oxford, “Mooting: What is it and why take part?”, accessed March 7, 2018, https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/current-students/mooting-oxford/mooting-what-it-and-why-take-part.

[10] LAWZ MAGAZINE, “Moot Court- Significance in the Legal Education”, accessed February 12, 2018, http://lawzmag.com/2015/10/24/moot-court-significance-in-the-legal-education/.

[11] University of Aberdeen, “What is Mooting?”, accessed March 3, 2018, https://www.abdn.ac.uk/law/student-activities/a-guide-to-mooting-136.php.

[12] Dr. Kudrat-E-Khuda, “The importance of moot court for law students”, the daily Independent, 18 January, 2017, accessed March 7, 2018, http://www.theindependentbd.com/printversion/details/76930.

[13] Bond University, “what is mooting”,  accessed March 7, 2018, https://bond.edu.au/intl/current-students/opportunities/mooting-bond/what-mooting.

[14] University of Aberdeen, “What is Mooting?”, accessed March 2, 2018, https://www.abdn.ac.uk/law/student-activities/a-guide-to-mooting-136.php.

[15] LAWZ MAGAZINE, “Moot Court- Significance in the Legal Education”, accessed February 13, 2018, http://lawzmag.com/2015/10/24/moot-court-significance-in-the-legal-education/.

[16] University of Oxford, “Mooting: What is it and why take part?”, accessed February 15, 2018, https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/current-students/mooting-oxford/mooting-what-it-and-why-take-part.

[17] Oxford university press, “What is mooting?”, accessed March 6, 2018, https://global.oup.com/ukhe/mooting/whatismooting/?cc=gb&lang=en&.

[18] Ibid.

[19] LAWZ MAGAZINE, “Moot Court- Significance in the Legal Education”, accessed February 25, 2018, http://lawzmag.com/2015/10/24/moot-court-significance-in-the-legal-education/.

[20] Learning the law, “Importance of Moot Courts in legal education”, accessed March 7, 2018, http://www.learningthelaw.in/2016/08/importance-of-moot-courts-in-legal.html.

[21] Michelle Fabio, “What Is Moot Court?”, Updated August 24, 2017, accessed February 18, 2018, https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-moot-court-2154874.

[22] LAWZ MAGAZINE, “Moot Court- Significance in the Legal Education”, accessed February 27, 2018, http://lawzmag.com/2015/10/24/moot-court-significance-in-the-legal-education/.

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Jubaida Sakin

Jubaida Sakin is a legal activist. She has persuaded her LL.B. and LL.M. from Eastern University.

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