Moot court competitions are one of the best parts of law school activities. The idea of moot court competitions is simple, i.e., to simulate a court hearing. The law school gives the taste of the courtroom experience through moot courts. Although it is a part of the final year, most law schools conduct both inter and intra-moot court competitions throughout the year to build mooting skills.
The students are usually provided with the fact-sheet, which gives a brief understanding of the dispute in question between two or more parties who are allotted sides for the Plaintiff or Defendants. These teams are allotted to work on a fact sheet which includes two speakers and a couple of researchers. Within the stipulated time, the students have to research their cases, frame arguments, prepare their responses to the dispute in the form of petitions and affidavits in opposition. Then on the D-day, the participants have to argue their respective sides before the panel of judges, who marks them on various aspects of their performance. It could be researching, drafting, oral submission, etc. Let’s discuss more about how to prepare for moot court presentations.
Know Your Laws
Being a law student, you need to know the relevant laws. You cannot enter the moot court without any prior knowledge or preparation. So always start with the factual points of your case. If you’ve been given any example briefs, review them carefully.
The goal is to:
- state the best points for your side persuasively;
- clarify the points not made clear in the written material;
- address weaknesses in your case;
- know the counterpoints to your opponent’s arguments.
Know the Facts of the Case
You should know and understand each and every page of the case. During the argument, you should be the expert on the facts and be able to tackle any questions from the panel.
Take Your Time While Framing the Arguments
Remember your arguments should be organic in nature. The framing of arguments is crucial for your oral submissions. It needs to be constructed with a lot of patience and thought process.
For instance, you have three arguments in place. The best approach would be to build the intensity of the case and keep the strongest argument for the last. However, one should waste time to get to the conclusion. So the sequencing of the arguments should have a built-up to the strongest point instead of abruptly presenting an argument.
In both moot courts and actual scenarios, the sequencing of arguments plays a crucial role. It should be naturally flowy, and the strongest ones should be presented in a timely manner to capture the judge’s attention. This also helps the bench to take one seriously.
The moot court judges and the actual court judges have to be indulged with one’s arguments. Listening to multiple rounds of arguments can often affect the temperament of the judges. So one has to be very much prepared so as not to waste their time and keep them engrossed.
During the oral rounds, start by presenting a broad structure to your proposed arguments. The bench should be aware of the components of the argument and their sequence. This is most important in moots as each argument has sub-categories. It also provides clarity to the bench of one’s arguments and approach. It also adds flow to the narration of one’s side of the dispute, which helps both the speaker and listener.
Also read: List of Top Law Entrance Exams in India 2022
Moot Court Etiquette
Carry Your Resources
- Keep a pen and paper at all times.
- Carry your pen, pad, and all your case-related material in a folder so you can take it to the podium.
- Take a breath before you address the bench. Don’t begin until you’re ready.
- Speak slowly, confidently, clearly, at a medium pitch but calmly.
- Keep eye contact with the members all the time.
- Watch your tone. How you say is as important as what you say. The same applies to your gestures and actions.
- Stand straight and maintain a posture. Don’t lean on the podium. No walking or moving hands or sliding them in the pockets. Do not fiddle, and move your hands only to make a point.
- Address questions asked by one judge to that judge but address general questions to the bench.
- Show respect and give reference to the Bench at all times. Do not lose control even if the bench tests you.
The Last Word
As law students, moot courts allow participants to make mistakes without any harsh consequences, but the criticism that comes with it should be taken in a positive manner. Every criticism you get, should be noted down or etched in your memory. The other mistakes, like stammering in front of the judges, shivering, etc., should be considered, and vow to not let yourself repeat those mistakes.