Mooting is a great opportunity to experience law in a practical setting. The word ‘moot’ can be used as either a noun or a verb to describe the argument, debate, and legal presentation of issues or points of appeal arising from a hypothetical court hearing.
There are so many reasons why mooting is beneficial to your time at law school. Key reasons include: developing your CV, improving your legal research & analysis, practicing your legal skills in a safe environment, legal networking, joining a great social scene and gaining the possibility of winning a free trip to the UKSC in London. Our final in the 2018/19 session was held in the UKSC before Lord Reed, with the final in 2017/18 held in the High Court of Justiciary in Glasgow, before Lord Matthews. The possibility of appearing in court and receiving feedback from judges themselves is invaluable. So, from all of us at the committee, best wishes and enjoy!
What is it?
A simple way of describing it is as a competitive mock court hearing. It differs from a mock trial by accepting the facts of the hypothetical case and concentrates specifically on the relevant points of law. For this reason, there are no witnesses, evidence or jury.
You moot in teams of two, with a junior and a senior counsel. Junior counsel speaks for 10 minutes followed by senior counsel who will speak for slightly longer, around 15 minutes, usually dealing with the more contentious issues.
Those who are involved include:
- Two moot teams, comprising of:
- Senior & Junior Counsel for the Appellants, and
- Senior & Junior Counsel for the Respondents;
- The Moot Judge (usually an experienced Mooter/a member of Academic Staff/a practicing Solicitor/an Advocate or a member of the Judiciary); and
- The Moot Clerk.
The two sides will argue how a fictional legal problem should be decided, by presenting oral submissions to a judge to persuade him/her to agree with their position, and backing up their arguments with authorities (cases, legislation, journal articles, etc). The winning team will be the one that constructs and presents their argument most effectively. You can lose on the law but win on the moot, and vice versa. This is because the judge can favour the legal arguments put forward by one team, but be better persuaded by the submissions put forward by the other team. Often in later rounds of the competition especially, it is not what you present, but how you present it that is the deciding factor. Persuasion is the key to success!