Mooting – From a Third Party’s Perspective

Mooting – From a Third Party’s Perspective

Sunday 15 March 2015 - Li Weiqi

So what is ‘mooting’? If you are not already familiar with this term, let me start with a brief introduction. A moot is a simplified, mock appeal where students formulate submissions on legal issues within a hypothetical problem. A moot problem will usually be released in advance to two teams, consisting of a senior and a junior counsel, who are required to argue two separate but related grounds. One team submits the case for the appellant and the other submits the contrary case for the respondent.

The grounds of a moot are rarely ‘fair’; one side usually has greater support of the law and may find clear authority in favour of it. Yet risk and reward often go hand in hand. ‘Pulling the short straw’ gives the mooter a greater opportunity to prove their legal prowess since they must employ a more creative approach and thereby demonstrate their good grasp of the law with strong policy arguments.

The Semi-Finals of the Second/Final Year Mooting Competition, which took place on the Wednesday 18th February, exemplifies such technique. Eight semi-finalists were arguing the fictitious cross-appeal land law case of “Re Leonard Brown” in relation to proprietary estoppel, with the ground skewed in favour of the appellants. The performances of all the mooters were truly impressive and of high quality. Tom Carter and Jack McCracken, a pair of barristers from the competition sponsor Ropewalk Chambers, kindly attended to judge the rounds. Congratulations to Daniel Knowles, Rajvinder Chahal Singh, Trina Tan and Thomas Phillips who have progressed to the finals!

As members of the Mooting Society, we often have students approaching us to ask what is expected of mooters or how to improve their mooting skills. Details as to the creation of organised and well-labelled bundles, court etiquette and dress code can be found in our handbook on the society’s Student Union page. However there is a limit to the extent of knowledge that can be condensed on paper. What better way is there to learn about advocacy skills than watching mooters in action? While observing, students can try to understand the reasoning process behind their submissions and note the techniques used to answer difficult questions posed by the judges.

We understand that, due to practical constraints, there is a limit to the mooting opportunities that can be offered. This is particularly so if students have been eliminated earlier on in the competition. There are many more ways to improve on your skills though. For example, the problems from each round of the competition are released on the Facebook Group of the Mooting Society prior to the moot, so that all interested audience members can take a glimpse of the question before attending.

The Finals of the Second/Final Year Mooting Competition will be held on Wednesday 18th March at 7pm in B55 of the Law and Social Sciences Building. The problem will be released on our Facebook Group by Friday 13th March. The First Year Tort Finals will be taking place on the following day, Thursday 19th March, at 7pm in B55 as well. To all those interested in learning more about mooting, or just itching to see some high quality mooting performance, we encourage you to come along and look forward to seeing you there!

By ‘Third Party’, I mean that I am neither a participant nor a judge but a Mooting Organiser. Through facilitating the moot and assisting both the judges and the mooters, I have been able to understand mooting from a new perspective. I have become more aware of what judges look for in participants and of the common errors that mooters tend to make. Although being an Organiser has had its share of heart-stopping moments, with impromptu situations, I have enjoyed my role thoroughly. If you are at all interested in applying for any of our interviewed Organiser roles, please email 150 words detailing your interest [email protected] by 23:59 on Sunday 15th March.

Do feel free to contact any of the Organisers on our Facebook group or via our respective emails with any questions:

First Year Internal Competition Mooting Organiser: [email protected]

Second/Final Year Internal Competition Mooting Organiser: [email protected]

External Competition Mooting Organiser: [email protected]

Non-law, non-competitive, post-graduate Mooting Organiser: [email protected]   

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Author: Li Weiqi