Moot court competitions are one of the most enjoyable aspects of law school extracurricular activities. The concept of moot court competitions is straightforward: they are intended to simulate a court hearing. Through moot courts, the law school provides students with a taste of what it is like to be in a courtroom. Even though it is a requirement in the final year, most law schools hold inter and intramoot court competitions throughout the year to help students improve their mooting skills.
The student usually receives a factsheet, which provides a brief understanding of the dispute in question between two or more parties who are assigned to either the Plaintiff or Defendant’s side of the dispute. The fact sheet is usually provided to the students.
These teams are tasked with creating a fact sheet that includes two speakers and a couple of researchers, among other things. Within the time limit, the students must conduct research into their cases, develop arguments, and prepare responses to the dispute in the form of petitions and affidavits in opposition. Then, on the big day, the participants must defend their positions in front of a panel of judges, who will score them based on a variety of factors including their overall performance. It could be anything from researching to drafting to making an oral presentation.
Let us talk about how to prepare for moot court presentations in greater detail.
- Understand the laws that apply to you.
As a law student, you must be familiar with the relevant statutes. You are not permitted to enter the moot court without having completed any prior research or preparation. As a result, you should always begin with the facts of your case. If you’ve been given any sample briefs, make sure to read them thoroughly.
- The goal is to:
- state the most persuasive arguments for your side;
- clarify any points that were not made clear in the written material;
- address any weaknesses in your case;
- and be familiar with the counterarguments to your opponent’s arguments.
- Recognize the relevant facts of the situation.
Each and every page of the case should be familiar and understandable to you. At all times during the debate, you should present yourself as the expert on the facts and be able to answer any questions from the panel.
- Consider taking your time when framing your arguments.
Keep in mind that your arguments should be natural and organic in nature. Your oral submissions will be judged on how well you frame your arguments. It must be constructed with a great deal of patience and consideration.
The order in which the arguments are presented is critical in both moot courts and real-world scenarios alike. It should be naturally flowing, and the most compelling arguments should be presented in a timely manner in order to capture the judge’s attention. This also encourages the bench to take one’s concerns seriously.
It is necessary to be patient with both the moot court judges and the actual court judges when presenting one’s arguments. The judges’ temperament can often be affected by listening to multiple rounds of arguments at the same time. As a result, one must be extremely well prepared in order to avoid wasting their time and to keep them engaged.
The first thing you should do during the oral rounds is to lay out a broad structure for your proposed arguments. The bench should be aware of the various components of the argument as well as their chronological order. This is particularly important in moot court because each argument is divided into sub-categories.
It also helps to make one’s arguments and approach more understandable to those on the other side of the table. It also helps to keep the narration of one’s side of the dispute flowing smoothly, which is beneficial to both the speaker and the listener.
- Moot Court Etiquette is important.
- Take a few deep breaths before approaching the bench.
- Don’t start until you’re completely prepared.
- Maintain a calm and confident demeanour while speaking slowly and clearly at a medium pitch.
- Maintain constant eye contact with the other members of the group.
- Keep an eye on your tone. It is just as important how you say something as what you say. What you say and do is just as important as your gestures and actions.
- Maintain a straight back and a good posture. Don’t lean on the podium while speaking. There will be no walking or moving hands, nor will any be sliding them into the pockets. Do not fiddle with your hands, and only move them when necessary to make a point.
- Questions from one judge should be directed to that judge, but general questions should be directed to the entire bench.
- At all times, show reverence for the Bench and make reference to it. Even if you are subjected to a bench test, maintain control.
Fortunately, most intramural competitions do not require you to submit a brief; instead, you will be provided with a record of the problem and, in many cases, a basic bench memo outlining possible arguments for each party.
However, where do you begin with all of this information?
- Create a succinct outline of your point of view
Use a single sheet of paper or the inside of a manila folder that will be open in front of you at the podium to sketch out your outline for the presentation. Remember to include your major points so that you can refer to them as a quick reference — but don’t write down every word of your argument!
A conversation between you and the court is what oral arguments are supposed to be like. Between you and the judges, there should be a free-flowing exchange of ideas.
This means that you should maintain as much eye contact as possible while remaining adaptable to engage in a dialogue with your panel.
To provide yourself with some security, you can write out your introduction. If you have the opportunity, it can be beneficial to memorise the first minute or so of the presentation because it will help you feel more at ease at the start.
Make sure to include exactly what you are requesting from the court in your outline, particularly near the top and bottom of the page. As a result, it’s a good idea to mention it during your introduction and close with a strong prayer for relief.
- The Conclusion
In their capacity as law students, moot courts provide participants with the opportunity to make mistakes without fear of repercussions; however, the criticism that comes with it should be viewed in a positive light. Every piece of constructive criticism you receive should be written down or permanently etched in your memory. Other mistakes, such as stammering in front of the judges, shivering, and so on, should be taken into consideration, and you should vow not to make the same mistakes again.
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