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What is a Moot?

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.  The procedure imitates that followed in real courts: the judge enters, the  mooters and the judge bow to each other, the clerk announces the matter, the  mooters give their appearances and are then called on in turn to present their  submissions, the judge asks questions of the mooters, the court adjourns, and the  judge then returns to deliver a brief judgment and some feedback.

Mooting is not the  same as public speaking or debating, although it shares some common elements  with these activities. It is a specialised application of the art of persuasive  advocacy.


Why Moot?

There are many reasons to moot. Mooting enables students to

  1.  engage with and think deeply  about interesting and topical legal issues,
  2.  enhance their advocacy,  legal research and writing skills,
  3.  work closely with and learn from their  peers and
  4.  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-wracking and  frustrating but it is a lot of fun.

Preparing to present your moot

Some basic tips and techniques

  • It is critical to engage with the bench. This requires you  to bring many skills together including maintaining eye contact with the judge,  speaking at an appropriate volume and pace, responding directly and accurately  to questions and holding the judge’s interest. It also incorporates a cardinal rule  of mooting: never, ever talk while the judge is talking. Remember that it is  accepted to ask a judge to repeat a question if you do not understand it. 
  • Mooting is not just about presenting propositions of law. An  important aspect is applying those propositions to the facts in order to argue  for the result you want. You should be very familiar with the moot problem and  be able to take the judge to relevant paragraphs in it.
  • You will often make extensive use of authority in delivering  your submissions. You need to know what principle a given case stands for and  if a case is binding on the court before which the moot is being argued.
  • A critical aspect of mooting is time management. You need to  be able to expand or contract your submissions depending on how interventionist  the judge is.


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