Your first moot court is probably one of the scariest things you will encounter as a first year law student. Many of you will be in the same boat as me, not having a clue where to start or what’s required of you. Let me tell you- you’ll be okay! Stop panicking and break it down, you’ll be fine!
I know moot scenarios can be very different with what is required from you. I started from the basics, I had an account of the scenario and the first instance decision, it was then my job as Junior Appellant to produce a skeleton argument, trial bundle and then finally present my argument in moot court.
Roles within a moot:
There are four key roles within a moot; Lead appellant, Junior appellant, Lead respondent and Junior respondent. The Lead appellant/respondent deal with the first point of appeal. The Junior appellant/respondent deal with the second point of appeal. by sticking to the issues surrounding your particular point of appeal, it means that your argument is unlikely to overlap with the argument of your lead/junior, and avoids repetition in the court.
Producing the skeleton argument:
The skeleton argument is set out in a standard format, you should look to examples of skeleton arguments to see how this is set out. Very briefly, you should have the name of he court in the top left hand corner, the names of the claimant and defendant in the middle, and underneath (in tramlines) you should have your role, for example “Junior appellant for the claimant”.
Your skeleton argument should be set out under headings and in numbered paragraphs. This makes it easier to refer to in court, should you need to. The headings that i used in my skeleton argument were:
- Introduction (one or two sentences explaining what the claimant was seeking to achieve in the case.)
- Background (The facts of the case)
- Legal Issues (Outlining the legal issues in the case)
- Submissions (Stating each case that you wish to rely on in court)
- Conclusion (Respectfully asking the judge to uphold/dismiss the claimant’s application)
Finally, the skeleton argument should be signed and dated.
The trial bundle:
Starting my trial bundle, I had no idea what was expected of me however, it turned out to be pretty simple. There should be a cover page, a contents page (to enable evidence to be found quickly in court.), and all the evidence that you wish to rely on. Remember- if you do not submit it in your trial bundle, you will not be able to rely on it in court. The evidence that you wish to rely on in terms of case law, needs to simply be a case analysis and any relevant parts of the judgement in that case which you wish to rely on and think will support your case. It really is that simple!
Presenting your argument in court:
Firstly, dress for the occasion! You will be judged as if you are a barrister in court, remember you should look like one too!
Secondly, remember that if it does not go to plan don’t panic! Especially your first moot, you will be nervous and that can result in getting mixed up and not doing as well as you’d like- don’t be disheartened, it probably went better than you think, and it was only your first moot, now that you have had the experience you will be a lot better next time as you know what to expect!
You must remember to treat the Judge as if you were in court- addressing them appropriately (my Lordship/My Ladyship, depending on what court you are in). You should try and avoid reading off your skeleton argument or trial bundle as if it were a script, and make as much eye contact with the judge as you can. This will also help you appear more confident (even if you’re not feeling particularly confident!). Try not to rush. You should present each submission clearly and concisely, for example: “my first submission is…. that concludes my first submission, my second submission is…”. This presents your argument in a way that is clear for the Judge to follow and understand. When relying on cases, you do not have to give the facts of the case, unless they are relevant to your argument, you should instead state “I wish to rely on the case of…. would your lordship like a summary of the facts of this case?”. Finally, when closing your argument, you should state “I have now reached the end of my submissions. I respectfully ask the judge to (uphold/dismiss the claimant’s appeal). Does your Lordship have any further questions?”
That’s it, you will have then reached the end of your moot! Good luck with it!
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