[UEL MCC 2018] OVERVIEW: WHAT IS MOOT COURT AND WHY SHOULD LAW STUDENTS JOIN IT?

Editor: Nguyen Trang Anh,

Student K18502C, University of Economics & Law, HCM VNU.

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As we all know, ‘moot court’ is not a strange concept for students studying law. You may have heard from your seniors once or twice or read about this concept in your research in law schools. So, have you ever wondered that what is moot court exactly and why should law students take part in it?

  1. What is moot court?

The word “moot” originates from a Scandinavian word meaning simply a meeting. The meetings concerned were assemblies of the members of a community for legislative or judicial purposes. The word was given its present meaning in the English Inns of Court in the sixteenth century where law students would present their legal arguments on a given set of factual circumstances (often resembling real cases) before one or several senior lawyers or judges.[1]

Moot court is said to first appear since the late 1700s. It is one of law school’s activities in which students have the chance to prepare and argue cases in front of judges. The judges are usually law professors and attorneys from the community, but sometimes they’re actually members of the judiciary.[2] Usually, students participating in moot court will select the cases and sides beforehand and are given a set amount of time to make a preparation for the eventual trial.

A moot court competition is a simulation of a court hearing, in which participants will have to analyze a given problem, research the relevant law, write a memorandum, and present oral argument. Moot problems typically revolve around unsettled law or areas which have been subject to recent developments. A moot court usually includes two grounds of appeal, one for the Claimant and one for the Respondent. They will argue in front of the judges to protect their opinions about the problem. At the oral argument, judges are free to ask questions at any time and students must respond accordingly.

The procedure imitates that followed in real courts: the judge enters, the mooters and the judge bow to each other, the clerk announces the matter, the mooters give their appearances and are then called on in turn to present their submissions, the judge asks questions of the mooters, the court adjourns, and the judge then returns to deliver a brief judgment and some feedback.[3]

You may be confused between mooting and other kinds of oral presentation, such as public speaking or debating,etc. Although it shares some common elements with these activities, they are not the same. It’s not too much to say that moot court “is a specialized application of the art of persuasive advocacy.”[4]

  1. Why should law students join it?

From the advantages mentioned above, law students should take part in a moot court at least once. Here are some reasons why:

Firstly, moot court enables students to think deeply and improve personal legal skills. By analyzing moot problems, researching law, learning how to write a submission and finding a way to persuade the judges, law students will have the chance to enhance their skills in advocacy.

Secondly, moot court also gives the students an oppotunity to make friends and acquire knowledge from their peers. When working with other students who are in the same major with us, we will learn many helpful things and gain experience for ourselves.

Last but not least, students participating in moot court often make a good impression on prospective employers. Because when participating in moot court, you have already spent many hours to perfect the analytical, do research and improve writing skills – this is all what practicing attorneys must have. This means the employers can spend less time  training you and give you more time you to practice law.

  1. Conclusion:

Thus, it can be seen that participating in a moot court is an extremely rewarding activity that every law student should attend at least once during his or her study period. Moot brings you not only professional knowledge but also the necessary skills for your future such as a good overview and maturing legal skills.


*References:

  1. , ‘What is moot court?’:

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-moot-court-2154874

  1. European Law Moot Court, ‘History of Moot Court’:

https://www.europeanlawmootcourt.eu/History

  1. University of Oxford, ‘Mooting: What is it and why take part?’:

https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/current-students/mooting-oxford/mooting-what-it-and-why-take-part

[1] European Law Moot Court, ‘History of Moot Court’.

[2] ThoughtCo., ‘What is Moot Court?’

[3] University of Oxford, ‘Mooting: What is it and why take part?’

[4] University of Oxford, ‘Mooting: What is it and why take part?