Mooting delivers a holistic approach to learning the law. Moot court and law review are the two key extracurricular activities in many law schools. Generally Moot Court means a mock court at which law students argue imaginary cases for practice. A Moot Court is an extracurricular activity at many law schools in which participants take part in simulated court proceedings, which usually involves drafting briefs (or, memorials) and participating in oral argument. The term moot means ‘a gathering of prominent men in a locality to discuss matters of local importance.’ The modern activity differs from a mock trial, as moot court usually refers to a simulated appellate court or arbitral case, while a mock trial usually refers to a simulated jury trial or bench trial. In most countries, the phrase ‘moot court’ may be shortened to simply ‘moot’ or ‘mooting’. Participants are either referred to as mooters or mooties.
However, Moot Court does not involve actual testimony by witnesses or the presentation of evidence but is focused solely on the application of the Law to a common set of evidentiary assumptions to which the competitors must be introduced.
Anyway, Moot court and law review are the two key extracurricular activities in many law schools. Depending on the competition, students may spend a semester researching and writing the memorials, and another semester practicing their oral arguments, or may prepare both within the span of a few months. Whereas domestic moot court competitions tend to focus on municipal law such as criminal law or contract law, regional and international moot competitions tend to focus on subjects such as public international law, international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, international trade law, international maritime law, international commercial arbitration, and foreign direct investment arbitration. Procedural issues pertaining to jurisdiction, standing, and choice of law are also occasionally engaged, especially in arbitration moots. In most moot competitions, each side is represented by two speakers (though the entire team composition may be larger) and a third member, sometimes known as ‘of counsel’, may be seated with the speakers or in the audience. Each speaker usually speaks between 10 and 25 minutes, covering anywhere from one to three issues.
After the main submissions are completed, there will usually be a short round of rebuttal and even surrebuttal. Depending on the format of the moot, there may be one or two rounds of rebuttal and surrebuttal. In larger competitions, teams have to participate in up to ten rounds. The knockout/elimination stages are usually preceded by a number of preliminary rounds to determine seeding. Teams almost always must switch sides throughout a competition, and depending on the format of the moot, the moot problem usually remains the same throughout. The scores of the written submissions are taken into consideration for most competitions to determine qualification and seeding, and sometimes even up to a particular knockout stage. Besides, International moot competitions are generally targeted at students and only allow participants who have not qualified to practice law in any jurisdiction. However, there are a handful of international moot competitions that are targeted at young lawyers, such as:Philip C. Jessup, Willem C. Vis Moot, Price Media Law Moot, International Criminal Court Moot, Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot Court, Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration Moot , Hague Choice of Court Convention Moot, the ECC-SAL Moot etc.
However, law is the system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties. Judges, Magistrates, Lawyers, Barristers are directly connected with law. But the Lawyers deserve special mention as they are the problem solvers. They help people, families and businesses. They help the Judges to take the right decision, help people to establish their rights, help to ensure justice. Today’s Law Students will become Lawyers in future. To be a good Lawyer a Law Student must develop himself both theoretically and practically. In Bangladesh, most of the Law students specially the students of private universities have no idea of what will have to be done by them practically in the Courts in the near future. To make them memorize the sections of various Acts should not be the prime concern of legal education. They are the future Lawyers and they will ensure justice for the people of Bangladesh. Law and order of this country will be benefited by them in the near future. So, they must be given practical knowledge of legal education. So, what to do now? A moot Court program is the possible answer to this question.
There is a proverb that says practice makes a man perfect. At Law school, the closest experience that a law student can get to appearing in a court is mooting. The students are given a hypothetical case in their hands and they research, frame arguments, prepare briefs (popularly called memorials) and appear before Judges to argue the case. Mooting is the better way to learn the law than to read, interpret, comprehend, and understand research, frame arguments, and write. Mooting delivers a holistic approach to learning the Law. It trains a student on how to find the relevant law, develops abstract thinking and facilitates in understanding the latest legal updates. Mooting helps a student in understanding the value of teamwork. But it is a matter of regret that few universities in Bangladesh have adopted the Moot Court program. Recently, some private universities have introduced (started) the Moot Court program. This practical oriented program will help the law students a lot to excel as a Lawyer in future. Though it will take a lot of effort and hard work to follow through with the Moot Court effectively, the experience, the exposure and the memories it will give a Law student is unrivalled when compared to any other activities in Law school. And it is expected that other universities will also be inspired by this initiative to adopt the Moot Court program so that the law students can be benefited.
The writer is a Professor and Head of the Law Department at Daffodil International University, Bangladesh. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org