2011 brings with it yet another mooting competition and I am delighted to be competing with a brand new mooting partner @Andrew_Attard.
The Dean’s Cup is an Internal University of Glasgow Law School Competition run by the Dean of the Faculty and is open to all Law students.It takes place over several rounds and is judged in the preliminary rounds by Advocates and solicitors.The Final is usually judged by a real judge and takes place around March.
My new mooting partner Andrew is new to mooting so this will be a great experience for us working together ( I will be junior counsel and he will be senior counsel)and we are delighted that we are through to the quarter finals which will be held on 26th January 2011.
If you plan to ‘moot ‘ this year the here are some tips I have used and
I hope you enjoy.Mooting is a lot of fun but can also be terrifying.
A moot is a legal argument set in a courtroom and usually involves an appeal. Most law schools will have students participate in a moot as part of the core subjects for the Bachelor of law LLB However if you are like me and just love ‘being on your feet’ then a Mooting club is a good choice.
The University of Glasgow runs an annual mooting competition The Dean’s Cup and in Glasgow we have an Annual competition between University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde The Sheriff’s Moot hosted by The Sheriff principal of Glasgow in Glasgow’s Sheriff Court. The Glasgow Mooting team also participates in National Mooting competitions through out the country.
In a moot two teams of counsel argue their case before a judge ( this can sometimes be a tutor or professor practising solicitor, advocate or even a Sheriff or Lord) who will decide on the winner by the strength of their case, reference to legal authority and mooting style of advocacy.
A moot problem is a drafted scenario or situation in which points of law are in dispute.
The role of the judge in a moot is to weigh up the arguments presented to him or her and to question counsel where this is necessary to allow the judge to understand or accept the points being made. The teams are divided into one for Junior Counsel and One for Senior Counsel.
Teams of counsel are required to present their arguments within a set time-limit, normally ten minutes for junior counsel, and fifteen minutes for senior counsel.
Mooting – The Skills
Mooting is a combination of public speaking and debating, yet differs from both.
The mooter does admittedly sometimes deliver a prepared speech, but only in so far as the judge is prepared to accept this. A speech which has become largely irrelevant due to the course of the moot will not recommend the deliverer’s skills to the judge. The mooter must always be ready to be diverted from the line of argument which he envisaged delivering. For this reason straight delivery of a prepared text is not recommended and can even be perilous at times….
The mooting is also something of a debater, in that he must be prepared to pick up points by his opponents and the judge, and those who are skilled in the art of debating should be able to make the transition reasonably easily. However the mooter is much more constrained by his subject matter than the debater, and must back up his arguments with legal authority rather than persuasive personal opinion. In addition, the mooter is denied the right to interrupt his opponents to question them directly, and cannot employ some of the more theatrical diversions which the debater can bring into play.
My TOP TEN TIPS FOR MOOTING
1. Be prepared. Work with your partner as soon as you get the problem.
2. Read the problem and then read it again and BEFORE you dash off to the Law School Library do something we are all taught to do at Law School but many of us forget ………THINK. Think about which side you represent. Think about what area of Law the problem covers. Think about what legal position you will be trying to argue .Often people think that it is unfortunate to have the side where the law is against them. I disagree and in fact in some of the best moots I have taken part in the law has been against my team and it makes you work even harder at trying to argue a case when you know that you cannot rest on your laurels.
3. Decide how you will structure your arguments. You are better to do this by deciding what legal point you need to establish first. There are many different ways to do this but it is important that both Junior Counsel and Senior Counsel work as a team. Sometimes it works for junior counsel to establish the first legal points and for senior to establish the second. However you choose make sure you both know the purpose of your submissions.
4. Understand ALL of the submissions for the team. You may be questioned by the judge on your partners submissions try to prepare for this as it shows you have worked together.
5. Outline your submissions at the beginning. Tell the judge what you are going to do before you do it. For instance M’Lord I am Junior Counsel for the appellants and I appear with my learned senior counsel. I will make two submissions which are 1 .and 2.……and my Learned senior will make two submissions which are 1 and 2……. This will allow the judge time to write down what you will be addressing him on and also it will demonstrate that you have thought about structure.
6. Watch the pen. It is a very important part of mooting. The judge will write down and make notes of your submissions. If he is scribbling away without raising his head you are probably going too fast .The Judge is just a person too and you should be considerate to the fact that he is noting your arguments and allow him time to do so.
7. PACE – It is common when students are nervous that they gather speed during their submissions. I always found it helpful to think that the time I have been allotted is MY TIME and I wasn’t to make use of every moment of it and that usually keeps me at a slow pace.
8. EYE CONTACT – Look at the judge. It may seem like a silly point to emphasize but it is really important to make eye contact with the judge. He is the Most important person in the room and he is the one You need to convince of your argument.
9. Prepare a brief – Get into the habit of preparing a folder for court. In it you should have your submissions for both of you. Don’t worry if you need to type out exactly what you want to say and you can include direction to yourself such as PAUSE……TAKE A BREATHE…….LOOK AT JUDGE. Tick off each point as you go. If you get muddled half way through you can always look back to where you last ticked and breathe and continue.
10. ENJOY – Ok so you have worked all week on your authorities and you have read several case, structured your arguments, paced up and down, practiced your submissions and now your actually at the moot. Relax even if you don’t win the legal point you can still win the moot based on your advocacy skills. Take a deep breathe, have a drink of water, ignore the audience (if there is one) and calmly bring your mind to focus. You are now read to begin. ENJOY
I hope these tips can be of help to you and if you have any questions please drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
MOOTS I have participated in
2006 – Semi-Finalist in Dean’s Cup at University of Glasgow
2006 – 23/25 for contract Moot in LLB (Hons) at University of Glasgow
2007- Winner of the Deans Cup Mooting Competition University of Glasgow
2007- Winner of the Semple mooting Prize by the Royal faculty of Procurators
2008- Semi Finalist in Sheriff Moot
2008- Judged Moot for University of Glasgow Summer School.
2010- Winner of the Annual Sheriff Moot Between Univeristy of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde
From 2005-2010 My Mooting Partner was Kelly Dulling LLB,DipLP
2010- Mr Matthew Lennon LLB (Hons)
2011- My Dean’s Cup mooting Partner will be Mr Andrew Attard LL.B
Happy Mooting in 2011