Organising a moot
Mooting is a great way to emulate a real-life courtroom scenario, and put all that you're learning into practice. Here's how you should go about setting up your own moot.
If you are interested in mooting, the very first thing you need to do is find out who is in charge of organising the moots at your university. Some law schools will have a Master or Mistress of Moots, a student specially appointed to organise internal moots and enter teams into external moots. If there is no such student, you will need to enquire whether there is a member of the faculty who has taken on this responsibility.
If no one has, then it may be up to you and your fellow students to organise the moots. This might sound daunting, but remember it is another way to impress future employers with your initiative and organisational skills. Here are some pointers to get you started:
Organising your moot
Before you start, contact the head of the law school and ask permission to set up internal mooting competitions and mooting teams. It is always best to ask permission as they may offer to help. Members of the faculty are also the best candidates for potential judges and may be able to provide you with mooting questions, as well as other guidance.
Choosing a mooting question…
The next step is to find a mooting question. This needs to be done first so that teams have the maximum time possible to work on their argument. There are many books and websites that provide mooting questions if you are unable to acquire a question from a member of staff.
Finding some mooters…
Once you have picked your question, you need to gather together the students interested in mooting. If your law school has a law society, ask if they can email their members. Ask the interested students if they already know who they want to be teamed with, as that will make it easier to arrange teams.
If you do not have a law society, word of mouth and posters on notice boards are the easiest way to stir up interest. You could even ask a lecturer if you can make an announcement at the end of a lecture or talk to a law school administrator and charm them into emailing the entire law student body about mooting.
You also need to decide which team will be against which to make sure you have enough appellants and respondents. Once you have heard from all the interested parties, partner up those who are not already in a team. Exchange the email addresses of the teams so they can get in contact with one another, circulate the question and let each team know whether they will be the respondent or the appellant.
Timing and location of your moot…
Setting the date is the next step. Decide on a week or fortnight in which you would like to hold the moot and contact the faculty to ask about the process for booking a room. Make sure you are giving enough notice.
Think about what size room you will need. If you plan on advertising the moot to the public, you will need a bigger room. Even if you are not planning on advertising the event, you will still need a little bit of room for a small audience; teams may bring friends along for moral support, and some students or faculty members may wish to watch.
At the same time, you should email round faculty members, local judges, solicitors and chambers with the weeks in which you wish to hold the moot and ask them if they would like to be judges. Contact the head of the law school, who will undoubtedly have a number of contacts you may be able to use. Once you have heard back from people and have a common date amongst them, book a room and contact your judges to confirm the date.
Arguments & authorities…
By now, everyone should be hard at work researching their arguments and perfecting their skeleton arguments. Skeleton arguments should be exchanged between teams approximately seven days before the competition, as you or the clerk will have to gather together all the documents cited for the judges.
You could, however, save yourself some time and ask all teams to provide a ‘bundle’. This must include full copies of any cases, statutes, journals or other documents which they wish to rely on during the moot. All the names and citations of these documents must be included in the skeleton argument though the bundle only needs to be presented on the day of the moot. These bundles must be clearly marked so that the clerk can easily direct the judge to the correct page. If a section is likely to be quoted, it should be highlighted.
The rules of mooting…
Books are available in law libraries on mooting etiquette. It is a mock courtroom and therefore a very formal environment. Useful books on mooting include:
- How to Moot: A Student Guide to Mooting 2e, John Snape and Gary Watt, Oxford University Press 2010;
- The Art of Argument: A Guide to Mooting, Christopher Kee, Cambridge University Press 2007.
Finally, a brief word on how to enter national and international moots. Competitions like OUP and Essex Court Chambers have online applications, but before you start, contact the head of your law school again. The organisers of national competitions prefer to use the heads of law schools as the initial point of contact as it provides more consistency for them, rather than trying to contact members of the law society who change with every academic year.
International competitions are also organised, two of these are Jessups and Telders, but your team will have to win national competitions before being able to compete in these.
Finally, good luck with your mooting!
LLB First Years