Faculty of Business and Law

Law Essentials

Law in Practice

Moot Essentials

The Moot: In the Inns of Court in 15th Century, moots were seen as a premier means to train lawyers. Law students would present their legal arguments to senior lawyers or judges as "practice" for a real Court appearance, but without damaging a client's interests!

Today, mooting in Law School is just as useful as its was in the 15th century. The Moot: known to strike fear in the hearts of law students, Counsel is required to stand on his or her feet (firmly!) and present their submissions to the Court. But beware the questioning judge, who expects a precise response to his or her cleverly worded question!

Four essential points for a successful moot

A successful moot requires two things. First, thorough preparation. Second, effective presentation.

  1. Prepare! And prepare some more. Carefully read the facts. Discuss the problem with your partner. Research the applicable law. Predict your opponent’s case.
  2. Practice! Rehearse your submission in the car on the way to Uni, the night before in front of the mirror, to your friends, parents, flatmates, dog. Get feedback and make an effort to fix the weak spots. Practice words that are difficult to pronounce. Practice the beginning and end of your talk (these are the parts that are most memorable)
  3. Dress to impress. Look the best you can. Clean. Neat. Well-Presented. Shine your shoes. Usually a law student would present in a suit.
  4. Present! Make first impressions count – walk to the lectern, straight and tall, project confidence, make a strong start and finish!

Other moot tips and recommendations

  • Don’t shout or yell, but speak in a strong voice that can be heard by your listener. Don’t mumble, skip over sections, fade away into quietness …
  • Simple Statements, Stated Simply – don’t convolute matters – explain your argument clearly, simply and in a straight-forward way. Use simple words that you can explain to your listener. Talk to the educated listener who may not be as knowledgeable in the topic as you. Strive to educate your listener on your submission.
  • Use gestures naturally – never forced, just whatever comes naturally.
  • Listen to questions carefully, and respond appropriately. Don’t jump the gun! Listen to what you are being asked. You do not have to answer immediately.
  • Take a second to gather your thoughts and then give a confident and concise answer. Never ignore a question you are being asked, or try to get around it – the listener will be fully aware. Be honest if you do not know the answer.
  • Pay attention to formalities. Are you required to address the Court as “Your Honour”? or some equivalent formality? Must you make appearances? Do you need to give full case citations? Find out beforehand, and be ready to comply with these formalities confidently and smoothly.
Essential Moot Skills Links
Recommended Books on Mooting
  • Wolski, B., Skills, Ethics and Values for Legal Practice, Thomsons Lawbook Co, 2nd edition, 2008
  • Hyams, R., Campbell, S. and Evans, A., Practical Legal Skills, 3rd edition, 2007
  • Stuesser, L., An Introduction to Advocacy, 2010

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23rd April 2013