mooting lessons 101

Continuing from Part I, here we discuss how to go prepare for a moot court competition.  The basic steps can be summarized as below:

Reading and Research

Read your fact sheet very thoroughly. Your fact sheet is your bible, every single time you read it, you get something new out of it. You should read it everyday even on the day of your moot.

You need to analyze the problem given to you from all angles. Try to move in every direction which you know is not possible because in the end it is your creativeness + logic that gives you brownie points. The legal research carried out for the competition needs to be thorough. The endeavor has to be authentic, technical, procedural, critical and analytic. Each argument should be worked over in a detached manner, without any favoritism towards a single side. Legal principles and legislations regarding the case ought to be covered. One needs to keep mind that this Legal Research is nothing but a skill that will be an integral part of practicing the profession of law in the future.

Every case will always be a mixture of 2 or 3 laws, it can never be just one field of law. If your case is a competition law one, never ever think it is just going to involve Competition law because the problem will always be made in a broader sense. It will include Constitution, Human Rights, IPR, Torts probably.

Drafting the Memorial

When you start with your draft for your memo, it is really important that you are structured in your arguments well before you start writing them. Clarity of your arguments and structure are a must.

In the preliminary rounds, memorials are presented, based on which only a few teams qualify. After the submission of the memorial, teams are given a time limit in which they are expected to prepare for their oral pleadings adequately.

Preparing your Speech

After Memo Submissions, preparing for your orals is one of the toughest things. This is where you realize ‘ OHH! I have a lot left ‘. You need to prepare your speech!

Some really good and experienced mooters never prepare a speech as such they only have a flowchart with them. They prepare things in their minds. While some, on the other hand, like to prepare a handwritten speech having every little detail of what they’ll say on that day.

When it comes to speaking you realize that you are speaking way beyond your memo and it is okay till you do not contradict it. When you start with your orals, you should have clarity of 2 important things:  Why am I standing in front of this court? and what do I want from this court?

While speaking, always be patient, calm and confident. even if you do not know an answer it is your confidence that gives you brownie points. you need to convince the judges, they are way more learned than you are and they know way more than you do. What do they see in a good mooter then? – they see an aspect called- How well can you answer their questions?

In the end, it is not the speech that you have prepared, it is the basics of that particular topic that you know, your mannerisms and the logic that you use for the questions they pose in front of you. In your mooting experience, you’ll learnt that team work and the environment you have while working is one of your keys to success. You are lucky if you have team mates who are working equally or harder than you.


Depending on the competition, students may spend a semester researching and writing the memorials, and another semester practicing their oral arguments, or may prepare both within the span of a few months. Whereas domestic moot court competitions tend to focus on municipal law such as criminal law or contract law, regional and international moot competitions tend to focus on subjects such as public international law, international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, international trade law, international maritime law, international commercial arbitration, and foreign direct investment arbitration. Procedural issues pertaining to jurisdiction, standing, and choice of law are also occasionally engaged, especially in arbitration moots. In most moot competitions, each side is represented by two speakers (though the entire team composition may be larger) and a third member, sometimes known as ‘of counsel’, may be seated with the speakers or in the audience. Each speaker usually speaks between 10 and 25 minutes, covering anywhere from one to three issues.

After the main submissions are completed, there will usually be a short round of rebuttal and even surebuttal. Depending on the format of the moot, there may be one or two rounds of rebuttal and surebuttal. In larger competitions, teams have to participate in up to ten rounds. The knockout/elimination stages are usually preceded by a number of preliminary rounds to determine seeding. Teams almost always must switch sides throughout a competition, and depending on the format of the moot, the moot problem usually remains the same throughout. The scores of the written submissions are taken into consideration for most competitions to determine qualification and seeding, and sometimes even up to a particular knockout stage. Besides, International moot competitions are generally targeted at students and only allow participants who have not qualified to practice law in any jurisdiction. However, there are a handful of international moot competitions that are targeted at young lawyers, such as:Philip C. Jessup, Willem C. Vis Moot, Price Media Law Moot, International Criminal Court Moot, Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court, Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration Moot , Hague Choice of Court Convention Moot, the ECC-SAL Moot etc.



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