All about Moot Court

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Relevance Of Comparative Constitutional Law- Madhava  Menon

20 ,April 2020

There are a few essential aspects of law school that every law student must understand. These include writing a research paper, taking part in various conferences and competitions, etc. One of the most important aspects of pursuing law as a career option is mooting. Mooting is a representation of a court proceeding, involving oral proceedings. It includes written submissions in the form of a complaint and written statement. Participating teams are allotted a side that they ought to defend. This allotment of parties takes place a day before the competition.

A proper scenario based on a courtroom is created for the students to have a real-life experience. They have to pretend to be lawyers throughout the proceeding. The judges may ask them questions to test their conceptual understanding of laws applicable to the problem. Every moot court competition has a theme. It may concern matters on criminal law, aerospace law, or an amalgamation of various laws. 
Mooting did not hold as much importance in the initial days. Hence, law schools did not emphasize it. But as the demand for lawyers rose, colleges started prioritizing mooting. Many law schools added “Moot Court” as a subject in their syllabus. The motive behind this was to ensure that students understand the various nuances of the law. Mooting would help them to grasp law in its multiple dimensions and depths. 

Moot court competition can be of two types – 

1) National Moot Court Competition: These are competitions organized by different law schools within the country. Students from all over the country can participate. 
2) International Moot Court Competition: This is where students from all over the world come and join.

The first-ever moot court recorded in the world was in the year 1997. It was a common feature of “Inns of Courts and Chancery” in the fourteenth century. The focus was not only to understand the law but also the culture, art, and other essentials presiding in human life. When formal education began in the U.S., their professors followed a similar process. Mooting, like other essentials, is borrowed from Britain. In India, mooting started in the year 1981 by the Bar Council of India. By the year 1985, mooting began to become the essence of law schools. 

Read Article – Emerging Field of Law in India

Dress code for the competition is formals, as worn by lawyers in the actual courts. Wearing formals showcases that they are serious about what they want to project. The participants have to bear the courtroom mannerisms in mind in a moot court competition. Judges sometimes ask twisted questions to test the patience and wits of the students to guide them and make them profession-ready for the future. It is advised that the participants should not interrupt the judges. They should also refrain from giving any personal opinions that can affect the case. 

Another important aspect is that one must avoid the use of informal language. For example, the use of an abridged form of words is unacceptable. In a moot court competition, one has to be a convincing speaker. The judges must be convinced of their propositions. The judges can spontaneously ask anything from the participants. Thus, the participants should thoroughly prepare the problem/subject-matter. Ideally, preparations for the competition should start a few months before the competition as it requires a lot of research and practice to excel in it.

Moot Courts are often confused with Mock Trials. Mock Trials, usually happen in a law firm to help prepare budding lawyers with arguments and counter-arguments which may or may not occur, whereas Moot Courts occur in college. 

A Moot Court Competition presents a hypothetical problem. The problem might also be based on a real-life case. The students are required to understand the given problem accurately and prepare issues with it. Later on, once the facts are analysed, and issues are framed, they should focus on the most adequately applicable laws about the presented facts. After this, students must prepare from both sides; that is the defendant’s/s’ and the plaintiff’s/s’ team.

Usually, the college provides funding for the moot court competition. But in case there is a shortage of funding, there are many law firms, which aid the moot court competitions. There are several essential aspects of moot court competitions. One of the significant points is that the students get practical courtroom experience. 

Another essential advantage of moot courts is that they have different students and judges taking part in various institutions. Hence, they get to learn a lot from everyone’s perspectives about the concept of law involved in the problem. Mooting develops and hones research and writing skills. One has to find laws suitable for the facts, which are not an easy task. Additionally, preparing memorials also requires the appropriate use of legal language. 

When one presents a case in front of the judges, it requires confidence. It is only built gradually after doing a couple of moot court competitions. By then, one knows how moot court competitions work, gained sufficient experience. Another vital advantage of the moot court is that one learns to work in a team. In the moot court competition, there is a requirement of 3 members in a team. Two members act as speakers, and the third person works as a researcher.

Arushi Dhawan
Assistant Professor