Moot Court- Significance in the Legal Education

“A man has but one youth, and considering the consequences of employing that well, he has reason to think himself very rich, for that gone, all the wealth in the world will not purchase another.”-Sir. R. North,

The term ‘moot’, according to Oxford and Chambers dictionary means, to propose for discussion; argue for practice; a matter about which there may be disagreement or uncertainly.  For example, it is a moot point whether men or women are better drivers.  Some other related terms are – mootable, that can be debated- Moot Court-Hall a meeting or court for arguing supposed cases.

lawzmagazine.comMoots are legal problems in the form of imaginary cases, which are argued by two students ‘counsel’ on each side, with a “bench” of three “judges” (or, perhaps only one) representing the court of appeal (i.e. High Court or, Apex Court) or, the trial court i.e. lower courts or, the tribunals.  The arrangements of the moots is usually the responsibility of the student’s law society, through a law teacher or practicing lawyer who can usually be persuaded to set the moot and preside on the “bench”.

Taking part in moots will help in developing fluency and clear enunciation, and also gives one experience in the art of persuasion, and of putting a case succinctly and intelligibly.  Mooting not only gives one practice in court procedures but also helps to develop the aplomb that every advocate should possess.

 “Amicus Curiae and the Court Room Marshalls are the two features which can be introduced in the conventional moot court sessions”

The Bar Council of India, New Delhi, has issued communication LE (Cir. No 4/1997) dated 21st October, 1997, the revised curriculum for three year and five year law courses for implementation by the Academic Year 1998-1999, which includes instructions regarding-

  • Moot Court, Pre-trial preparations and participation in trial/ Proceedings.
  • Observance of trial in court.
  • Attending Chamber of the Senior Advocate.
  • Viva-Voce Test alongwith written examinations. For management students, industry and market are fields of practical experiences and for law students courts and chambers of advocates are the places of pragmatic learning.  Indeed clinical legal education is an inducement in this direction and a great stop for preparing lawyers of tomorrow, who will be electronic lawyers (technology supporting lawyers); international lawyers (dealing in company’s international contracts; arbitration and reconciliation etc.); Social Advocates; and Social Engineers.

The law course is the period for amassing such experiences and that too, without cut-throat competition, because the mentors of the law students (i.e. judges; advocates; firms; NGO’s; legal departments of the companies; consultancies and their concerned employees) do not view them as their competitors, but as mere leaner and an assistant in their work.  Additionally the said mentors are getting the law students as assistants at no cost, or, at a nominal honorarium.

“Youth is not an achievement, it is an opportunity.  Don’t let it pass by” , said Dr. Zakir Husain, former President of India.

Let it be rephrased in these words, that, “ Admission into a professional course is not an achievement but an opportunity to hone one’s professional skills and one must not let it pass by.”

Every one gets youth but few lucky persons get into a professional course.  A judge has to administer justice and an advocate has to assist a judge in administering justice.  In a moot court the law students are practically taught honesty of purpose, industrious engagement rendering justice as a judge and helping to render justice as an advocate, serving of the society and philosophical free thinking and solving legal problems independently.

Senior students should be given the job of student judges at intra faculty moot court competition, so that they can enhance their judgment writing ability and forensic skills while making court questions to the student advocate.

In a moot court competition, the “ Counsels” have to prepare memorials (i.e. petitions) on behalf of plaintiff and defendant, or, complainant and respondent and both, as the case may be.  A memorial contains index; index of authorities; statement  of jurisdiction; statement of facts; summary of arguments; body of arguments; and conclusion /prayer.  Generally in a moot court competition there are trophies for the winning and runner up teams and awards for Best Mooter; Best Researcher and Best Memorial.  The marking criteria to judge the Best Memorial are presentation; flow of arguments involved; language used and legal drafting skills applied; its contents, Authorities and usage of Authorities and finally, issues covered and ingenuity in issues.  Apart from memorial, the oral submission, the most exciting part of the whole moot court competition, is judged on the given criteria.  Knowledge and application of law is tested, with an objective to check the depth over the subjects involved in the moot problem; answer to court questions, to check the thoroughness of the “Counsel” over the subjects and his degree of ‘alert’ intelligence; advocacy or presentation, to check his overall skills as lawyer and perusal of facts and perusal of memorials, again to check the presence of mind and depth of study of the ‘Counsel’.

In India, more than thirty moot court competitions are held every year, on varied topics of law like Constitutional Law, International Law, Space Law, Intellectual Property Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, Cyber Law, IT Law etc.  Generally, various law institutions are intimated about the competition well in advance by the host institution.

It should be taught practically in moot courts that advocates may not take benefit of loopholes of the law but to correctly interpret and apply it.  It should also be taught in moot courts to avoid practicing falsehoods, fabrications, frauds and roguery and to appear with clean hands in courts.

The Bar Council of India has propounded and prepared a scheme for legal research, for which moot courts may prove to be very helpful and purposive.  This scheme should provide the students with the skills necessary to identify problems, design project proposals, evolve methodologies, analyse data and write research reports on small topics.  Comparison of legal methods with social science research methods may be made and the students be enabled to become critical consumers of social and natural science data.

Legal Research is the endeavor by honest, dispassionate, scientific, critical and careful investigation, enquiry and search to discover legal principles, taking into account the legislation, executive and judicial law making and decision making process with a view to assess how far the legal process serves the social needs, and how it can be made  useful and effective for the public good.  Legal Research is an integral part of learning and practicing the profession of law.

Students participate in the capacity of an Advocate (Mooter and Researcher); judges, and court officer. A few more adumbrations can be made to accommodate participation for larger number of students. These are introduction of Court Room Marshalls, as we find in Mock-Parliament, whose function will be to maintain the discipline and to assist the visitors in learning court room etiquettes.  Also those who watch the moot court should be given the opportunity, before the pronouncement of the judgment, to put forward any opinion, or point which they deem fit and relevant to the case, and which has not been dealt at all, or, not dealt properly, in the capacity of Amicus Curiae, i.e., friend of the court.  So, Amicus Curiae and the Court Room Marshalls are the two features which can be introduced in the conventional moot court sessions.

Senior students should be given the job of student judges at intra faculty moot court competition, so that they can enhance their judgment writing ability and forensic skills while making court questions to the student advocate.

In sum and substance, Most Court helps in learning what we learn in real courts although in restricted conditions.  “In my youth,” said his father, “I look to the law, And argued each case with my wife, And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw, Has lasted to the rest of my life.” -Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland.

Go for mooting and build  a ‘Strong Jaw’.

S.M. Hedaitullah Nigarish

4 thoughts on “Moot Court- Significance in the Legal Education”

  1. Bharat says:

    Well……..

  2. Sakshi says:

    Even though this has cons but overall it is good

  3. Sakshi says:

    News is accurate ,nice

  4. abhi says:

    Can u suggest me sum gud lawyers for internship….m in 2nd year n havnt done internship with anyone yet

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