Mooting, aside from being the most prestigious of the legal skills competitions on offer, is also the most involving. Students have the privilege of imitating their favourite advocate (Atticus Finch? Cleaver Greene? Lionel Hutz?) and living out their ultimate courtroom fantasies, presenting legal arguments, both written and oral, before a distinguished judge or, if they are fortunate, panel of judges.
Teams are to be made up of at least two students, a senior and junior counsel, responsible for presenting oral arguments before the bench. A third student may also be enlisted as solicitor in order to assist with research and written submissions. These roles may change for each round at the competitors’ discretion, as there are no restrictions in this regard. Teams may also consist of any combination of students from any eligible year level. In consideration of the courtroom environment, mooters are expected to observe the same standard of formal dress as professional counsel.
Prior to the Moot:
Each team will receive a statement of agreed facts via email precisely one week before the moot is scheduled to take place. Competitors will also be told which party they are to represent. The rather lengthy time afforded teams is reflective of the relatively high degree of research expected of them; an extensive knowledge of case law and any relevant statute will be required in order to make sound legal arguments. Written submissions are to be submitted to email@example.com at least 24 hours prior to the moot. This will allow judges an opportunity to adequately anticipate the oral arguments to be made by each competitor. While there is no strict format which must be adhered to, written submissions must contain all of the following content: the names of the parties, the court in which they appear, an outline of key arguments (numbered appropriately), the order sought, a comprehensive list of all authorities (with full citations provided for each), the names of the counsel themselves and, not least, the way in which time will be split between each counsel. Two alternative templates have been provided on the LSA’s website as a guide to assist competitors in structuring their written submissions, both of which have been endorsed by the Australian Law Students Association.
Each team will be given a maximum of 20 minutes in which to present its oral submissions. Competitors may choose to split this time between one another as they see fit, though will usually opt to speak for 10 minutes each.
A Basic Structure:
- The first speaker from each team will be responsible for making appearances on behalf of said team. This will not be counted towards the allocated time.
- On beginning actual oral submissions, the plaintiff/appellant should inquire as to whether the judge(s) would like a quick summary of the facts.
- When this has been seen to, it will be necessary to outline each of the chief submissions to be made by the team, and to clarify who will be addressing each.
- Aside from these basic courtesies, there is no specific structure which must be adhered to; counsels may address their arguments as they see fit. It is important, however, that arguments follow a logical progression, and that the judge has a clear understanding of the central point being made at all times. Making reference to specifically-numbered written submissions will allow the bench to follow the line of reasoning with greater ease.
- It is important to note that the judge(s) may interrupt at any time in order to ask relevant questions or to seek clarification of certain points.
- It may be useful, before beginning on the remainder of the submissions, to provide a very brief summary of what these will be. It is unnecessary to reiterate the facts of the case.
- Again, there is no set way of going about one’s arguments, provided that they are clear and well-supported.
- It will, however, be necessary to conclude by summarising the submissions made by both speakers in the team, and to outline the general order sought.
Speakers will be assessed in five separate categories: ability to answer questions proposed by the bench, speaking and delivery, organisation of presentation, development of argument and also the written component. Each is accorded a different weighting. A complete criteria sheet will be provided upon application for your benefit.