Moot court is an extracurricular activity at many law schools in which participants take part in simulated court proceedings, usually involving drafting memorials or memoranda and participating in oral argument. The term "moot" traces its origins to Anglo-Saxon times, when a moot (gemōt) was a gathering of prominent men in a locality to discuss matters of local importance. The modern activity differs from a mock trial, as moot court usually refers to a simulated appellate court or arbitral case, while a mock trial usually refers to a simulated jury trial or bench trial. Moot court does not involve actual testimony by witnesses, cross-examination, or the presentation of evidence, but is focused solely on the application of the law to a common set of evidentiary assumptions and facts to which the competitors are introduced. In most countries, the phrase "moot court" may be shortened to simply "moot" or "mooting." Participants are either referred to as "mooters" or "mooties".
Moot court and law review are the two key extracurricular activities in many law schools. 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 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.
- 1 International moot competitions
- 2 Mooters with multiple international championships
- 3 Records
- 4 Domestic moot competitions
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
International moot competitions
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 the ECC-SAL Moot, which is a regional moot started in 2012 and is jointly organised by Essex Court Chambers and the Singapore Academy of Law. The first table below lists some of the more notable international moot competitions for students, while the second table lists the champions and finalists for some of those competitions.
List of notable competitions
|Competition||Established||Primary subject matter||Record annual participation||Location of international finals||National or regional rounds||Most championships|
|Philip C. Jessup||1960 (1968 for international rounds)||Public international law||650 teams (2017)||Washington D.C.||Yes||University of Sydney (5)|
|Willem C. Vis Moot||1993||International commercial arbitration||367 teams (2017)||Vienna||No||University of Ottawa (3)|
|Willem C. Vis (East)||2003||International commercial arbitration||128 teams (2017)||Hong Kong||No||Loyola Law School (2)|
|Price Media Law||2008||International media law||140 teams (2012)||Oxford||Yes||Singapore Management University (3)|
|International Criminal Court Moot||2005 (2007 for international rounds)||International criminal law||112 teams (2016)||The Hague||Yes||* Bond University (2)
* Leiden University (2)
* Singapore Management University (2)
|Frankfurt Investment Arbitration||2007||International investment arbitration||63 teams (2016)||Frankfurt||Yes||University of Miami (2)|
|Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration||2008||Investor-state dispute settlement||Varies||Yes||Murdoch University (2)|
|Hague Choice of Court Convention||2014||Private international law||12 teams (2015)||Yes||Singapore Management University (1)|
|Asia Cup||1999||Public international law||40 teams (2011)||Tokyo||Qualification by written submissions||Ateneo Law School (5)|
|LAWASIA||2005||International commercial arbitration (since 2011)||40 teams (2011)||Varies||Yes||Singapore Management University (3)|
|WTO/FTA||2010 (2015 for international rounds)||World Trade Organisation||22 teams (2015)||Seoul||No||Singapore Management University (1)|
|Red Cross (Asia-Pacific) IHL||2003 (2004 for international rounds)||International humanitarian law||80 teams (2016)||Hong Kong||Yes||* National University of Singapore (2)
* University of Hong Kong (3) (1 before 2004)
* Victoria University of Wellington (2)
|International Law Youth for Peace||2006||International humanitarian law||35 teams||Minsk||No|
|Fletcher||2016||International insolvency law||14 teams (2017)||Sydney||Qualification by written submissions||Singapore Management University (1)|
|Private Law||2014||Australian private law||?||Sydney||No||University of New South Wales (2)|
|International Maritime Law Arbitration||2000||International maritime law||26 teams (2016)||Varies||No||University of Queensland (7)|
|Nuremberg||2015||International criminal law||32 teams (2016)||Nuremberg||No|
|Oxford Intellectual Property Law||2004||Intellectual property law||48 teams (2016)||Oxford||Qualification by written submissions||Queensland University of Technology (3)|
|Pan-Asian Human Rights||2017||International human rights law||Hong Kong|
|Asian Law Students Association||?||Varies||Varies|
|ELSA World Trade Organisation||2002||World Trade Organisation||90 teams (2016)||Geneva||Yes||University of Melbourne (3)|
|ELSA European Human Rights||2012||European Convention on Human Rights||Strasbourg||Qualification by written submissions|
|Jean Pictet||1989 (2000 for the English-speaking rounds)||International humanitarian law||56 teams (2015)||Varies||No||Université Libre de Bruxelles (4)|
|African Human Rights||1992||Human rights in Africa||Varies within Africa||No||* University of Pretoria (5)
* University of Cocody (5)
|D.M. Harish||2000 (2005 for international teams)||Public international law||40 teams||Mumbai||No|
|Stetson||1995||International environmental law||20 teams||Gulfport, Florida||Yes|
|International Moot Competition on Maritime Arbitration||2010||International maritime law||Odessa||No|
|World Human Rights||2009||International human rights law||Pretoria||Yes|
|Telders||1977||Public international law||30 teams||The Hague||Yes|
|Sir Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot||1992 (1993 for international rounds)||Space law||40 teams||Varies||Yes||George Washington University (3)|
|IASLA Space Law||2010||Space law||12 teams||Varies||Yes|
List of champions and first runners-up
|Year||Jessup||Vis||Vis East||Price||Frankfurt Investment||International Criminal Court||Space (Lachs)||LAWASIA||IHL Asia-Pacific||Asia Cup||Maritime||IP||Jean Pictet||International Law YFP|
|2017||University of Ottawa/Jindal Global Law School||West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences/Nalsar University of Law||Singapore Management University/University of Oxford||Singapore Management University/Gujarat National Law University||Leiden University/Singapore Management University||Bond University/University of Hong Kong||Bucerius Law School/University of Toronto|
|2016||University of Buenos Aires/University of Pennsylvania||University of Buenos Aires/Singapore Management University||Chinese University of Hong Kong/Singapore Management University||Singapore Management University/Jindal Global Law School||Bucerius Law School/National University of Singapore||Singapore Management University||National and Kapodistrian University, Athens/Obafemi Awolowo University||Singapore Management University/West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences||Queensland University of Technology/Singapore Management University||National University of Singapore/Ateneo Law School||University of Sydney/Singapore Management University||University of Ottawa/National Law School of India University||Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights||?/BPP Law School|
|2015||University of Sydney/Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile||University of Ottawa/Singapore Management University||Singapore Management University/University of Arizona||University of the Philippines/Singapore Management University||Jindal Global Law School/Singapore Management University||Singapore Management University||University of Mississippi/National and Kapodistrian University of Athens||Advance Tertiary College/National Law University, Jodhpur||Victoria University of Wellington/University of Hong Kong||University of Malaya/Singapore Management University||National University of Singapore/University of Hong Kong||National Law School of India University/Monash University||National University of Singapore||National University of Kyiv/?|
|2014||University of Queensland/Singapore Management University||Deakin University/National Law School of India University||Loyola University Chicago/Universiteit van Amsterdam||Jindal Global Law School/University of Oxford||University of Miami–Sciences Po||National Law University, Delhi||National Law University, Delhi/Florida State University||Singapore Management University/Chinese University of Hong Kong||University of Adelaide/National Law University, Jodhpur||Singapore Management University/Universitas Padjadjaran||Universitas Indonesia/Maastricht University||University of Hong Kong/University of Toronto||University of Virginia||Leiden University/Lund University|
|2013||National Law School of India University/Singapore Management University||City University of Hong Kong/Monash University||University of Canberra/University of Münster||National Law University, Delhi/Regent University||Stockholm University/Peking University||Leiden University||Georgetown University/Leiden University||Singapore Management University/Taylor's University||National Law University, Delhi/Australian National University||Ateneo Law School/Singapore Management University||University of Queensland/National University of Singapore||University of Ottawa/National Law University, Delhi||University of New South Wales||Institute of International Relations of Cuba/Tbilisi State University|
|2012||Moscow State University/Columbia University||Nalsar University of Law/University College London||City University of Hong Kong/University of Houston||Nalsar University of Law/University of Technology Sydney||Norman Manley Law School/University of Versailles||City University of Hong Kong||National Law School of India University/National and Kapodistrian University of Athens||Chinese University of Hong Kong/Singapore Management University||University of Hong Kong/University of Melbourne||Ateneo Law School/Singapore Management University||University of Queensland/Queensland University of Technology||Queensland University of Technology/University of Oxford||Université Libre de Bruxelles||Leiden University-Universiteit van Amsterdam/Moscow State University|
|2011||University of Sydney/Columbia University||University of Ottawa/University of Montevideo||Bond University/City University of Hong Kong||Belgrade Law School/Cardozo School of Law||University of Miami/Graduate Institute Geneva||Bond University||Florida State University/National University of Singapore||Advance Tertiary College/Singapore Management University||Victoria University of Wellington/Hidayatullah National Law University||Singapore Management University/Ateneo Law School||Murdoch University/University of Southampton||London School of Economics/University of Hong Kong||Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya||Singapore Management University–National University of Singapore/Symbiosis Law School|
|2010||Australian National University/Columbia University||King's College London/University of Ottawa||Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg/Deakin University||Singapore Management University/Cardozo School of Law||Georgetown University/George Washington University||Osgoode Hall Law School||George Washington University/National University of Singapore||National Law University, Delhi/Advance Tertiary College||University of Hong Kong/Universiti Utara Malaysia||Singapore Management University/Universitas Pelita Harapan||National University of Singapore/Murdoch University||Boston University/Queensland University of Technology||Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya||?/Symbiosis Law School|
|2009||Universidad de los Andes/University College London||Victoria University of Wellington/University of Pune||Loyola Law School/Stetson University||Cardozo School of Law/BPP Law School||La Trobe University/City University of Hong Kong||Bond University||National Law School of India University/Georgetown University||Advance Tertiary College/Singapore Management University||Universitas Indonesia/Gujarat National Law University||University of the Philippines/Kathmandu School of Law||University of Queensland/Universitas Indonesia||Queensland University of Technology/University of Edinburgh||Université de Caen||?|
|2008||Case Western Reserve University/University of New South Wales||Carlos III University of Madrid/Touro Law Center||Griffith University||International Islamic University of Malaysia/?||Martin Luther University||NA||University of New South Wales/University of Augsburg||University of Hong Kong/University of the Philippines||National University of Singapore/Multimedia University||Ateneo Law School/University of Hong Kong||University of Queensland/University of Notre Dame Australia||National University of Singapore||Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais||?|
|2007||University of Sydney/King's College London||Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg/University of Zagreb||Pepperdine University School of Law/Monash University||University of Pretoria||George Washington University/University of Queensland||University of Hong Kong/Taylor's University||University of Sydney/University of Hong Kong||University of the Philippines/Chulalongkorn University||Universitas Indonesia/Victoria University||Queensland University of Technology||University of New South Wales||?|
|2006||Columbia University/Universidad Católica Andrés Bello||Queen Mary/Stetson University||Loyola Law School||University of Auckland/McGill University||NA||University of Queensland/University of Hong Kong||Universitas Indonesia/University of Malaya||Queensland University of Technology/University of Southampton||National University of Singapore||Université Libre de Bruxelles||?|
|2005||University of Queensland/International Islamic University of Malaysia||Stetson University/University of Vienna||West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences||George Washington University/National University of Singapore||University of Hong Kong/University of Western Australia||University of the Philippines/University of the Philippines||National University of Singapore/Universitas Indonesia||University of Queensland/University of Hong Kong||University of Birmingham||London School of Economics|
|2004||Ateneo Law School/National University of Singapore||Osgoode Hall Law School/Victoria University of Wellington||Tsinghua University/Loyola University Chicago||Leiden University/Georgetown University||National University of Singapore/University of Hong Kong||National University of Singapore/Universitas Indonesia||University of Technology Sydney/National University of Singapore||University College Dublin||University of Cambridge|
|2003||University of Western Australia/Mari State University||West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences/Humboldt University||University of Auckland/Georgetown University||University of the Philippines||University of Queensland/National Law School of India University||University of New South Wales|
|2002||University of the Witwatersrand/University of Western Australia||National University of Singapore/University of Queensland||Georgetown University/University of New South Wales||Ateneo Law School||University of Queensland/University of Hong Kong||Université de Fribourg|
|2001||National University of Singapore/Universidad Católica Andrés Bello||Monash University/University of Cologne||National University of Singapore/University of North Carolina||National University of Singapore||National University of Singapore/University of Technology Sydney||Université catholique de Louvain|
|2000||University of Melbourne/Universidad Católica Andrés Bello||University of Queensland/Loyola Law School||University of Paris XI/Hamline University||University of the Philippines||National University of Singapore||Université catholique de Louvain|
|1999||National Law School of India University/University of Pretoria||Deakin University/Tulane University||Vanderbilt University/University of Paris XI||Ateneo Law School||Université de Fribourg|
|1998||Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México/Australian National University||University of Münster/University of Queensland||University of North Carolina/University of Helsinki||Université Libre de Bruxelles|
|1997||Universidad Católica Andrés Bello/University of Calgary||University of Queensland/University of Cologne||University of Paris XI/University of North Carolina||University of Auvergne|
|1996||University of Sydney/National University of Singapore||Cornell University/Deakin University||University of Helsinki/University of Wyoming||Université du Québec à Montréal|
|1995||University of the Philippines/University of Western Australia||Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg/University of Nottingham||University of North Carolina/Leiden University||Graduate Institute of International Studies|
|1994||National University of Singapore/University of Melbourne||Columbia University/Laval University||Marshall University/University of Helsinki||Collège militaire royal du Canada|
|1993||University of Melbourne/University of Hawaii||Leiden University/George Washington University||Essex University|
|1992||Universite de Paris I/National University of Singapore||Barreau de Montréal|
|1991||University of Saskatchewan/University of Georgia||Barreau de Montréal|
|1990||University of Georgia/University of Toronto||Aix-Marseille III|
|1989||University of British Columbia/University of Melbourne||Université Libre de Bruxelles|
|1988||University of Melbourne/National University of Singapore|
|1987||Georgetown University/Katholieke Universiteit Leuven|
|1986||Boston College/National University of Singapore|
|1985||National University of Singapore/Southwestern University|
|1984||Dalhousie University/South Texas College of Law|
|1983||University of Kansas/National University of Singapore|
|1982||National University of Singapore/University of the Pacific|
|1981||Australian National University/University of the Pacific|
|1980||Georgetown University/National University of Singapore|
|1979||Northwestern University/University of Adelaide|
|1978||Brooklyn Law School/University of Toronto|
|1977||University of Kansas/University of Toronto|
|1976||University of Toronto/American University|
|1975||Cambridge University/Georgetown University|
|1974||University of Texas/Haile Selassie I University|
|1973||West Virginia University/Brunel University|
|1972||University of Miami/Haile Selassie I University|
|1971||University of Texas/University of California|
|1970||University of Miami/University of Kentucky|
University of Michigan
|1968||Duke University/University of Miami|
|1967||Vanderbilt University/Harvard Law School|
|1966||University of Texas/University of Wisconsin|
|1965||Columbia University/University of Virginia|
|1964||University of Texas/University of Pittsburgh|
|1963||Columbia University/University of North Carolina|
Mooters with multiple international championships
- Lucas Bastin, University of Sydney: WTO'2006; IHL'2007; Jessup'2007
- Emily Chalk, University of Queensland: Maritime'2013; Jessup'2014
- Bethel Chan, Singapore Management University: Asia Cup'2014; Vis East'2015 (also a Vis'2015 finalist and Essex-SAL'2017 champion)
- Jason Chan, National University of Singapore: Jessup'2001; Asia Cup'2001; Vis'2002
- Chang Zi Qian, Singapore Management University: Price'2010; Youth for Peace'2011
- Foo Shihao, Singapore Management University: LawAsia'2013; ICC'2015
- Jeremiah Lau, National University of Singapore: DM Harish'2015; HSF Competition Law'2015
- Eden Li, Singapore Management University: Asia Cup'2014; Vis East'2015 (also a Vis'2015 finalist and Essex-SAL'2017 finalist)
- Odette Murray, University of Sydney: IHL'2007; Jessup'2007
- Nicolette Oon, Singapore Management University: Asia Cup'2014; Vis East'2015 (also a Vis'2015 finalist)
- Saw Teng Sheng, Singapore Management University: ICC'2016; Price'2017
- Dhruv Sharma, National Law University, Delhi: IHL'2013; ICC'2014
- Grace Sim, Singapore Management University: LawAsia'2014; Vis East'2015 (also a Vis'2015 finalist)
- Kabir Singh, National University of Singapore: Jessup'2001; Asia Cup'2001
- Jerald Soon, Singapore Management University: Asia Cup'2014; Vis East'2015 (also a Vis'2015 finalist)
- Tan Jun Hong, Singapore Management University: ALSA'2014; Asia Cup'2014; Vis East'2015 (also a Vis'2015 finalist and Essex-SAL'2017 finalist)
- Nanthini Vijayakumar, Singapore Management University: LawAsia'2013; WTO/FTA'2015 (also a Moot Shanghai'2014 finalist)
- Samuel Yap, Singapore Management University: LawAsia'2013; ICC'2015
Most number of international championships in a season
- 5: Singapore Management University, 2014/15 (Asia Cup, Hague Convention, LawAsia, Vis East, ICC)
- 4: Singapore Management University, 2016/17 (Fletcher, Frankfurt, LawAsia, Price)
- 4: National University of Singapore, 2000/01 (Asia Cup, Lachs, Maritime, Jessup)
- 3: Singapore Management University, 2015/16 (Price, ICC, WTO/FTA)
- 3: Leiden University, 2012/13 (ICC, ELMC, Telders)
- 3: National University of Singapore, 2014/15 (D. M. Harish, Jean Pictet, Maritime)
Most number of international championship finals in a season
- 9: Singapore Management University, 2015/16 (Vis East, Vis, Price, IHL, ICC, WTO/FTA, Maritime Asia Cup, Ashurst)
- 8: Singapore Management University, 2014/15 (Hague Convention, Asia Cup, LawAsia, Vis East, Vis, Frankfurt, Price, ICC)
- 5: Singapore Management University, 2016/17 (LawAsia, Fletcher, Frankfurt, Price, ICC)
Teams that have successfully defended a major international championship
- Singapore Management University, 2014/15 and 2015/16 (ICC)
- Singapore Management University, 2015/16 and 2016/17 (Price)
Domestic moot competitions
List of notable competitions
- Australian Law Students' Association
- Ames Moot Court Competition
- English Speaking Union Moot
- Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition
- London Universities Mooting Shield
- New York City Bar Association National Moot Court Competition
- NZLSA Bell Gully Mooting Competition
Law schools structure their moot court programs differently. Some moot court organizations accept a small group of people for membership, and those members each participate in a number of national or regional moot court competitions. Other schools accept a larger number of members, and each member is matched with one competition. A few schools conduct moot court entirely intramurally. Moot court competitions are typically sponsored by organizations with interest in one particular area of law, and the moot court problems address an issue in that field. Competitions are often judged by legal practitioners with expertise in the particular area of law, or sometimes by sitting judges.
The basic structure of a moot court competition roughly parallels what would happen in actual appellate practice. Participants will typically receive a problem ahead of time, which includes the facts of the underlying case, and often an opinion from a lower court that is being challenged in the problem. Students must then research and prepare for that case as if they were lawyers or advocates for one or sometimes both of the parties. Depending on the competition, participants will be required to submit written briefs, participate in oral argument, or both. The case or problem is often one of current interest, sometimes mimicking an actual case, and sometimes fabricated to address difficult legal issues.
A number of moot court competitions focus on specific areas of law. For example, the First Amendment Center annually holds a National First Amendment Moot Court Competition, in which the judges have included numerous United States Circuit Court judges.
The American Collegiate Moot Court Association
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Every year undergraduates across the world participate in moot courts (simulating argument before the Supreme Court). In the United States, undergraduates experience moot court in a variety of disciplines and a variety of settings. The most common are in-class exercises that are assigned by professors. Other schools actually form competitive teams. These teams often compete in intramural events, some in statewide competitions, or they can enter tournaments sponsored by the American Collegiate Moot Court Association. Since 2001, ACMA has hosted the Championship Tournament to crown the national champion of intercollegiate moot court. The first several national championship tournaments were hosted by the Honors College at UT-Arlington. The event was open to all comers, and even its first tournament drew teams from across the country even though the field was just over 20 teams. In 2006, the Executive Committee agreed to move the Championship Tournament to different sites across the country and opted to sponsor a series of national qualifying tournaments in venues across the nation.
While undergraduate moot court is still a relatively new forensics activity, when compared with speech and debate and intercollegiate mock trial, by the 2009-2010 season, there were 248 teams who competed at the regional tournaments hosted by California State University, Long Beach, Fitchburg State University (MA), Hamline University (MN), Regent University School of Law (VA), Texas Tech University School of Law, the University of Tampa (FL), the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law, and The College of Wooster (OH). The regional tournaments vary by size, but there is a standardized process for awarding bids to nationals. Currently, teams that finish in the top 25 percent of each regional earn an automatic bid to the national tournament. The remainder of the 64 team field is awarded to at-large teams with the best records at the qualifying events. No school can earn more than eight bids to the national field. ACMA tournaments currently have three preliminary rounds and a series of elimination rounds are very much like the “sudden death”/”one-and-done” nature of the NCAA basketball tournament. The qualifying tournaments are held during the fall semester, most are in November, and the championship tournament is in mid-January. ACMA is governed by an Executive Committee of educators and attorneys from member schools. It has an elected President who is empowered to implement decisions made by the Executive Committee between called business meetings.
There are other organizations that sponsor intercollegiate moot court tournaments, and will, for instance, host statewide championships, e.g., the Texas Undergraduate Moot Court Association (TUMCA). Smaller invitational tournaments exist that enable teams to gain additional experience in moot court. In California, for instance, students compete in the spring in the California Classic. This event has been held at Mt. St. Mary's College and Fresno State University. There is also fall scrimmage in Texas that has drawn a number of teams from around the nation. Additionally, in 2008, there was a four-school event in the District of Columbia at the Prettyman Judicial Complex. These invitational tournaments are not ACMA-sanctioned events.
Undergraduate moot court cases pose two certified questions. The case (known as the “record”) includes an appellate majority opinion and a dissent. The “library” is a closed one. Typically, the record includes twenty opinions that students can rely upon for their arguments. Rules allow them to refer to cases cited in the cases directly included in the record. However, they can only rely on these cases within cases to the degree that they were used by the authorities directly in the record. All teams competing in ACMA-sponsored events will argue the same case. ACMA students have engaged in oral argument on issues such as same-sex marriage, national health care, privacy under the 4th Amendment, life terms for minors who are not guilty of murder or attempted murder, freedom of religion, a federal ban on firearms on school grounds, and warrantless domestic wiretapping of suspected terrorists. Cases are written by the ACMA. The case problem is released on the ACMA website by May 1 of each year.
Undergraduate moot court teams consist of two oral advocates. The advocates are responsible for knowing both issues – but typically are only asked about one certified question. Each team will receive 20 minutes to argue its case, and each advocate must speak for a minimum of seven minutes. Teams are judged on their forensics, knowledge of the law, demeanor, and ability to answer questions from the bench.
Good judges are the key to a good moot court hearing. Judges are typically lawyers or members of the state or federal bench. At times, law students (especially those with past undergraduate moot court experience) are asked to judge. Past judges at ACMA events have included former US Attorney General John Ashcroft, former White House Counsel, D. Edward Wilson, former legal counsel for the US Department of the Treasury D.J. Gribbin, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maryland Amanda Stakum Conn, Supreme Court reporter for the LA Times David Savage, California Courts of Appeals Justices Paul Turner and Raymond Ikola, a great number of federal judges, including The Honorable Otis Wright, George Schiavelli, and Gerald Lewis, numerous state trial judges, and several law school deans.
The ACMA also sponsors a brief writing contest. Students are not required to prepare briefs in order to compete for the oral advocacy national title. Teams who enter follow a specific set of rules and compete for prizes. The competition is judged by lawyers and law professors. This competition is named for the late Sandra Knerr, who along with her husband, was a dedicated supporter of intercollegiate moot court.
The courts systems differ in various parts of the United Kingdom. Thus, the style of a moot will often vary depending in which jurisdiction it is to be heard, although some national competitions do exist. The principal differences are between the laws in Scotland and those in England and Wales.
England and Wales
In England and Wales the moot will typically simulate proceedings in either the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court. Moot questions generally involve two questions of law that are under dispute and come with a set of facts about the case that have been decided at the first instance trial. Generally the question will surround a subject that is unclear under the present state of the law and for which no direct precedent exists. Mooting is a team effort, consisting of senior or lead counsel and junior counsel. It is normal practice for the senior counsel to take on the first point and the junior the second; although this may vary depending upon the exact nature, and necessary length, of the arguments. Typically the question will focus on one area of law, e.g. tort, contract, criminal law or property law.
The question will be provided to the teams a few weeks in advance of the moot along with details as to which of the appellant or respondent they are to represent. It is then up to each team to prepare their case as though they were barristers. Authority for each argument is necessary and will usually take the form of precedent from case law but may also involve legislation. Reliance may also be placed on governmental papers, research from NGOs and academic journals and texts.
A few days before the moot takes place each team will prepare and exchange their skeleton arguments or brief. Copies will also be provided to the judge along with the moot problem. The judge is normally an academic or practising solicitor or barrister. The moot itself takes the form of an oral argument. The order in which the advocates will speak mirrors that of the actual courts the exercise is based upon. In England and Wales the order would be as follows:
- senior counsel for the appellant
- senior counsel for the respondent
- junior counsel for the appellant
- junior counsel for the respondent
The competition may also allow the appellants an additional few minutes in order to reply to the respondents arguments.
After the presentation of arguments has concluded, the judge will retire to deliberate on both the law and the overall winning of the moot. A moot is not won and lost on the legal argument, but on the advocacy skills of the participants. It is often the case that the team that has the weaker legal argument is in a better position as they have to argue that much more persuasively.
In Scotland a moot can be set in a variety of fora; in civil law problems it is set most commonly in either the Inner House of the Court of Session or in the House of Lords, although it is not uncommon for a moot to be heard in the Sheriff Court before the Sheriff or Sheriff Principal. Occasionally, an Employment Appeal Tribunal may also be used as a forum for a Scottish civil law moot. If the moot problem concerns Criminal Law, the moot will most likely be heard as though in the Appellate division of the High Court of Justiciary (commonly known as the Court of Criminal Appeal).
The moot points and style of the problem are similar to that of England and Wales stated above; however, the format of the moot is significantly different. Junior counsel is more likely to take the first moot point and senior counsel the second (this can however be reversed depending on the problem). The order in which the Advocates will speak mirrors that of the actual courts the exercise is based upon. The order would be as follows:
- junior counsel for the appellant
- junior counsel for the respondent
- senior counsel for the appellant
- senior counsel for the respondent
Please note the terms 'appellant' and 'respondent' are used loosely, and depending on the forum, may not be the correct terms, e.g. in an appeal to the Inner House of the Court of Session (known as a 'reclaiming motion', the appellants are in real life known as 'reclaimers'). Generally, Scottish competitions do not allow the appellants a final right of rebuttal of the respondents' arguments.
The format of the moot is far more adversarial than that of English and Welsh moots. This is primarily due to a more adversarial legal system. This manifests itself in different ways, most notably with the appellants and respondents facing each other during a moot, rather than, as in England and Wales, facing the judge.
There is only one national Scottish competition, the Alexander Stone National Legal Debate, administered by the Law School at the University of Glasgow. All Scottish universities that offer the LL.B. are eligible to take part, although in recent years the competition has been fought out mainly between Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde universities. The final is held in the Alexander Stone Court Room at the University of Glasgow in February or March each year. The current holder of the trophy is Strathclyde.
There is also an annual inter-varsity competition between the Law Schools of Glasgow and Strathclyde, in the form of the Glasgow Sheriff's Cup. This is organised by Glasgow Sheriff Court and is judged by a Senator of the College of Justice. The moot is held annually in May or June each year and takes place in one of the larger court rooms at Glasgow and Strathkelvin Sheriff Court. The current holder of the trophy is Glasgow, while Glasgow University lead the series 11-9.
Law Schools in Scotland also take part in UK-wide competitions, such as the Oxford University Press and the English Speaking Union Moot. These moots are UK-wide in participation, but typically follow the style and law of moots in England and Wales. The University of Glasgow reached the semi-final of the English Speaking Union moot in 2008 and the final in 2005. The University of Dundee reached the semi finals of The Oxford University Press moots in 2009.
Judges in Scottish moots are typically legal academics, solicitors, sheriffs, advocates or Senators of the College of Justice.
Surana and Surana International Attorneys have been conducting various moot competitions from mid 1990s including Surana & Surana International Technology Law Moot Court Competition, Surana & Surana National Corporate Law Moot Court Competition, and Surana & Surana National Trial Advocacy Moot Court Competition.
- Mock trial
- Model United Nations
- Moot Alumni Association (MAA), the Alumni Association of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot
- Mootness, which has a precise meaning in United States law that is quite different from United Kingdom usage.
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- African Human Rights Moot Court Competition Retrieved June 24, 2011
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- "Telders International Law Moot Court Competition".
- "The Annual Willem C. Vis (East) International Commercial Arbitration Moot".
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- "International Institute of Space Law".
- "LAWASIA International Moot". LAWASIA. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
- "9th Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot 2010". Redcross.org.hk. Retrieved 2012-04-21.
- "ILSEC --- International Law Students Exchange Council".
- Oxford Law :: OIPRC moot - results
- National First Amendment Moot Court Competition.
- "Mooting Net - How to Moot I".
- "Mooting Net - How to Moot I".
- "Mooting Net - How to Moot II".
|Look up moot court in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Look up The American Collegiate Moot Court Association in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Lexcetera: Moot Court Competition dedicated Website.