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This is a document designed to help the novice mooter avoid any embarrassing gaffes, and quickly learn the rudiments of mooting. It should be read in conjunction with the 'Mooting Competition Rules'.
- Each mooting team consists of two mooters: a junior counsel and a lead counsel, the difference being that the lead counsel speaks first and for longer.
- The two opposing teams are the appellants (appealing against the decision in the lower court) and the respondents (responding to the appeal).
- The appellants sit on the left hand side of the judge(s) as the judge sees it.
- The appellants speak first, and the leading counsel should introduce all four mooters, possibly as follows: 'My Lord, I am X and this is my learned junior Y and we appear for the appellants, Z plc, in this case. My learned friends opposite, A and B, appear for the respondents.'
- The lead counsel for the appellants should then proceed with a quick summary of the facts of the case, and the grounds of appeal before commencing his/her arguments.
- The speeches then proceed in the order as outlined in mooting rule 12.
- The judges will be influenced in their decision by how well each side presents their speeches.
- It is a good idea to dress smartly, as this also helps with the atmosphere of the moot.
- Speeches always look better if delivered from cards or notes rather than a script, and scripts become hard to follow when the judge interrupts with questions.
- It is better to look the judge in the eye when delivering your speech rather than at a sheet of paper, if possible.
- You are trying to convince the judge of your arguments, so try to interact with the judge. Talk to the judge rather than at the judge.
- Speak slowly and clearly, and give the judge time to understand your arguments fully.
- Always stand to speak to the judge, even when answering a question - it shows respect!
- Never interrupt or speak over the judge.
Research / Authorities
- In problems with two grounds of appeal, it is generally easiest if each counsel deals with one problem. However, it is best if you plan your speeches together and bounce arguments off each other.
- You only have a set time to convince the judge of your argument, so it is best, after a brief introduction to get to the point quickly. Conclude by restating your main points.
- Authorities are used to back up legal points and can be quoted from. However, such quotations will be included in the timing. Ensure that if the judge wishes to find a quotation he is given a precise reference (i.e. page number, paragraph) and time to find it.
- Before citing a case, counsel should ask the judge if he wishes to be acquainted with the facts of the case. If so, a quick factual summary and the decision of the case should be given. This is not included in the speech time.
- The judge should be addressed as 'My Lord' or 'My Lady', where you might otherwise address him/her by name. Use 'Your Lordship' or 'Your Ladyship' instead of 'you' or 'your'.
- Cases should be referred to as Donoghue and Stevenson, rather than Donoghue v Stevenson or Donoghue verses Stevenson.
- The judge may interrupt with questions at any time. Do not talk over the judge, and always answer politely and respectfully. However, do not be afraid to disagree with the judge, particularly if you can back up your argument with authority. Alternatively, thank the judge for pointing out something you have missed. The question and answer are not included in the speech time, so be sure to answer the judge fully.
- Ask the judge's permission to continue at certain stages where you feel it is appropriate. This may be phrased as 'With your Lordship's permission, I will now move on to my second point...'
- The role of a barrister in court is not to give opinions, but to assist the judge in his/her decision making by giving submissions and suggestions. Do not tell the judge what you think or feel, tell him/her what you suggest and the reasons for your submission.
- Where possible, respond to your opponents' arguments. There are a number of ways in which legal arguments can be criticised, and it is particularly important for the respondents and the appellants in their five minute speech to point out the flaws in the other side's arguments, as well as restating your own.
- It is often easiest to begin by looking at cases cited in the problem and in course textbooks. Other useful facilities include LEXIS, CD ROMs and the Legal Journals Index for relevant contemporary articles. Ask library staff or your mooting officers for assistance with these.
- Only ten cases may be cited per team. Remember that this is a maximum - it is all too easy to become lost in lists of irrelevant cases, and moots can be won with only two or three good citations.
- It is best to cite a case in its own right rather than quoting it from another case.
- Cases that are not binding on the court may be persuasive anyway. E.g. Cases from Australia, Canada and New Zealand and Privy Council cases.
- Non-lawyers should ask for further explanation of the court structure and rules of precedent.
- Never cite case headings or arguments of counsel as authorities - only the judgments carry any legal weight.
All mooting teams should be particularly aware of the mooting rule that a copy of your authorities must be given to your opponents and the mooting officers by
LATE CITATIONS USUALLY MEAN DISQUALIFICATION FROM THE MOOT.
It is extremely beneficial to read chapter 11 of Glanville William's book Learning the Law. The Observer Book of Moots is also useful.
Contacting the Mooting Officers
The mooting officers can be contacted for help and assistance as follows:
This document is available in PDF format here.