All law students, in my humble opinion, should be required to participate in mooting. Mooting, for those that are unfamiliar with the term, is not, contrary to widespread belief, a mock trial. Rather it is a fictitious courtroom ‘appeal case’ where there are two teams, each with two ‘counsel – a senior and a junior – and they argue over a case that has been decided at first instance and has now gone to appeal.
The facts of the case are NOT in dispute – it is the law that is the problem. The whole point of the Moot is that the team appealing ( the Appellants) are submitting that the Judge at first instance somehow got it wrong. He ‘erred’ in law and did not apply the law correctly and that that team are seeking to have that initial judgement put aside and have their appeal upheld ( allowed). In essence this would overturn , in part or in whole, the original judgement. Those replying to that argument, or responding to it are known, unsurprisingly, as the ‘Respondents’.
To be successful at Mooting you need a series of skills , all of which must complement each other. First and foremost this is specifically a class aimed at law students. Therefore a sound and comprehensive grasp of relevant legal issues is a must . The use of the correct legal terms, with appropriate pronunciation ( those in my class will tell you I have a serious ‘bee in my bonnet’ about this !!!) , is another given. Of course, Mooting is all about presentation and it’s really a bit of theatre so those students who inherently have the confidence to make it a bit of a show will tend to do well. Then there is diction, the correct and proper application of court etiquette and the maturity and confidence to ‘role play’ correctly so no sniggering and childish laughter . The difficult task of ‘timing’ so that, if you are given 10 minutes to speak you practice sufficiently in order that you don’t speak for 7 or 12. It is, as I have said, a set of different and individual skills which all must come together for, wait for it, a presentation which will likely last no more than 30 minutes . Done correctly, though it is quite a spectacle and a class which I certainly hope all students enjoy now, but certainly in the future, upon reflection.
NCLAN has just ran the first ever ‘Mooting Court’ and, even if I do say so myself, I thought it was an utter unmitigated success.
I now plan on being unashamedly indulgent – my group, the largest class with over 20 students were immense. I was swollen with pride only the other day as I witnessed them, the students that I had taught and who had never even heard of Mooting before we started in January, more than hold their own in front of a ‘Judge’ and an opposing team. Students who were ‘all at sea’ in January as I attempted to persuade and convince them that in only 5 months, with one 3 hour class a week and losing something like 6 classes through holidays, I would be able to transform them from quivering wrecks into accomplished speakers and I did. They were simply wonderful – full of knowledge, confidence, court etiquette and a mentality that simply told me they were up to the challenge, had embraced it all and were bloody well going to see it through.
And see it through they did. Sadly, on the day, we were only able to deal with 3 out of 5 Moots but we will get to the others shortly. The 3 that took place, with a total of 12 students ably and admirably held their own and showed me that they are a hard-working, conscientious, dedicated, self-disciplined bunch of law students and I could not have asked them for more. To accomplish the standard that they did in only 5 months was, well quite amazing and I am sure they are all proud – at least they should be.
Data Protection ( and all that ) prevents me from naming names on a website, but you lot know who you are. Well, Mr. O is bloody proud of you. Very bloody proud. It has been a pleasure to have been one of your mentors since last September. Good luck to you all.
Thanks for stopping by……