Untwining The Moot Court Exercise
By Arushi Sharma
“Tarrekh pe tareekh” (Date after Date) is a statement which comes to our mind when we think about court in India. But it seems that an Indian court is much more than what we see in movies. In their law school journey students learn about the practical application of law and court procedure through the activity of Moot Court. So, in this article, we are going to discuss the nitty gritty of a moot court.
Moot court is one of the important aspects of law school journey. The exercise of participating in moot courts makes one aware of the process of solving a legal case. Moot Court enables students to learn research skills, oratory skills, quick reflective thinking, critical and analytical reasoning skills.
The idea of Moot court at a glance seems intimidating at first, but it is not something to be scared off . Students tend to acquire the skills needed to perform well in moot courts with time and practice. Moot courts are dependent on, three important pillars,:- research, structure of arguments and knowing what to speak in the limited time.
To begin with the introduction to moot court, let us understand ‘moot proposition’. A moot proposition is set of hypothetical facts leading to legal issue. It revolves around a fictional fact and a related provision of law which is in question. The question of law is sometimes mentioned in the proposition and in other times we must extract the question of law, by reading the proposition thoroughly. The proposition has a lot of valuable information which we might not notice in the first reading. Hence, reading the proposition for multiple times is the best way to begin.
Once we are done understanding every minute detail and facts provided in the moot proposition, we then move to the second step ‘Memorial/Written Submission’. A Moot Memorial is a compilation of facts, case laws, and arguments based on provision of law. Written Submissions are to be submitted on behalf of both the parties involved in the fictional case, i.e complainant and accused. The complainant is referred by terms petitioner/plaintiff and the accused is referred by terms respondent/defendant depending on the type of case. The colour of the cover page of the moot memorial depends on submission side , respondent’s usually have a red cover page, whereas the petitioner’s side has a blue cover page.
Memorial will have a statement of jurisdiction, statement of facts, issues raised, summary of arguments and arguments advanced. Besides this, it is also important to have tables for all the cases used in the memorial and a list of abbreviation which is used in the memorial.
- The “Statement of Facts” is the moot preposition in a more precise and concise manner.
- “Issue raised” contain only the issues/arguments which are further discussed in the memorial.
- “Summary of arguments” is an introduction to the arguments being put forward. The summary of arguments needs to be very concise and should only act as a summary.
- It is preferred to have details regarding the important facts, case laws and analysis in “Arguments advanced”. This is done in a manner, to prove to the court that our side (petitioner or respondent) is right.
It is always helpful to form a memorial keeping in mind that it should be so strong that even if the same laws are presented in front of a real court, the court is persuaded to provide you with a judgement favouring your side. Also, the memorial should be systematic in nature, the case laws mentioned should be placed and discussed in such manner to support our argument, cases should not just be placed in a haphazard manner.
The main research will include firstly, finding all the relevant provisions of law or an act related to the facts given to us (moot proposition). Secondly, it is also necessary to support the provisions with case laws. These case laws can be found with the help of search engine sites like Manupatra, SCC Online, Hein online etc.
The last step to be done before submitting your memorial is to cite all the sources. The citation is supposed to be uniform. Plagiarism of any kind is prohibited .The citation’s format can be done based on the Bluebook(Latest Edition), SILC, Maroon book or any other specified format. Formatting is also a major part of the memorial making. Check the memorial for spelling and grammatical errors.
The next part of a moot court is the oral rounds. The oral rounds are done in front of a judge, usually a professor or a lawyer. The judges need to be addressed as “Your Honour” or any other equivalent title and not sir/ma’am. Before starting with any new statement or issue, it is advised to seek permission from the judge.. In this round, the speakers in the team must divide the issues and speak on those respective issues. It is important to note that the first speaker speaks the statement of jurisdiction and statement of facts, only after seeking permission from the judge. The second speaker states the prayer. As the time awarded to each speaker is limited, it is advised to highlight the matter which is most important and surely should be spoken in front of the judge.
Once both the teams are done speaking then there will be rebuttal and sur-rebuttal round, where each team can ask a question from the other team and the opposite team is required to answer the question. For this, it is always advised to hear all the matter with attention and to ask a crisp question. Asking a question about something which is already discussed in the oral round is never the right way to go about rebuttals. The time dedicated to rebuttal and sur-rebuttal is less hence it is best to refrain from raising more than 3 points.
Moot Court thereby becomes an experience which enables you to develop both personal and professional skills.
A 2nd year student of Bennett university. In the immortal words of popeye “I yam what I yam, and that's all that I yam” is what defines me. Army kid, lawyer in making, an ambivert who loves travelling and food. During these tough times finding solace in playing ukulele and doing mandala art.