By Sohini Bose
Researchers do what their name suggests: they research.
They are also responsible for formatting the memorial and appearing for the Researcher’s Test if there is any for the particular moot competition. Performing well in this test helps increase the team rank by a great margin.
The memorial can be formatted by anyone in the moot team but it is usually the researcher who does it.
Researchers lessen the burden of research of the speakers, both literally and figuratively. Researchers are very helpful in the way that they research much more than the speakers because they do the job of filtration. They find out the relevant cases and they usually format and finalise the memorial.
Obviously, even speakers can do it but the role of speakers is more important on the D-Day while the ones to help them do their best are researchers who give them what they need to speak and put forward. However, this should not stop speakers from carrying out their part of the research.
What makes one a good researcher?
• Being able to find out relevant case laws quickly, using the right keywords
• Being able to comprehend judgments quickly
• Knowing how to read a judgment, that is, knowing which the important parts of a long judgment are
• Adept at using online databases
• Having efficient skills in formatting
• Knowing the required citation methods
How to be a good researcher?
1. Learn the usage of online legal databases such as Manupatra and SCC Online.
Better usage of them leads to quicker research and precise results.
Both Manupatra and SCCOnline have tutorials on how to use their databases. Do go through them!
2. Know how to read judgments.
Judgments are usually two hundred to three hundred pages long and it is not possible to read through all of them line by line. Learn how to read by skimming through them but locating the important parts relevant to your moot problems.
Evelyn Wood’s book on speed-reading is freely available online. You may also wante to read Tony Buzan’s book on speed reading.
Close, concentrated reading surely is required, but speed reading will help you go through a text quickly, and then know which portions to focus on.
3. Learn proper citation.
Usually, the citation system you can never go wrong within a memorial is The Bluebook. The moot prop under its rules and regulations always mention the type of citation to be used which mandatorily needs to be followed.
Check page 5 of Sample Moot Proposition under ‘Rules and Regulations’.
Citation is required while footnoting important information such as legal cases where you need to use citation styles. In the given picture, they have asked for any recognised citation format which includes all popular citation styles such as Bluebook, MLA, Chicago, etc. including the citation style of your own university.
However, Bluebook is the most popular and convenient citation style for anything legal unlike MLA, Chicago and the others which are more convenient to be used in research papers in the field of humanities, for example.
4. Learn impeccable formatting.
It is usually the responsibility of the researcher to properly format the memorial.
There is always an award for “Best memorial” in every moot court competition. This can be largely won by following the proper citation method and perfection in formatting. Formatting rules are also mentioned in all proposition which, once again, need to be followed strictly.
As can be seen in the given sample prop, everything regarding the formatting such as font size, font type, line spacing, etc. has been mentioned. Even the location of where the team code is to be written has been mentioned. These are expected to be followed.
Every detail of submission of memorials needs to be properly followed including the binding.
It is important the researcher takes the responsibility of being sure of rules, regulations, and penalties as the speakers have a lot of their plate for their performance on the day of the moot.
This, however, does not exempt them from being careful regarding rules. Yet, it is usually blamed on the researcher if any rule is not followed because he or she does not have to deal with the main work of arguing.
5. Prepare well for the Researcher’s Test if one is being conducted for the respective moot competition.
Try talking to the seniors in your college/university who have given the test for getting an idea about the type of questions.
The test is usually of 100 marks with objective questions of 60 marks and subjective questions of 40 marks.
Read the moot proposition very thoroughly and repeatedly. A considerable number of questions come from the proposition itself and it would be a pity to lose marks on these questions.
Learn the citation style as prescribed in the moot proposition. You might have to cite a given book, legal case or any other authority in the prescribed citation style.
Learn all amendments and judgments related to the moot proposition.
6. Be sure to seek permission from the judge about passing chits to your speakers.
Many judges do not allow it while others might be liberal about it. Be so well-prepared as a researcher that you are able to aid your speakers when they are in a fix during their oral rounds.
7. Prepare good compendiums.
Compendiums are a compilation of all the cases cited in your memorial. This is for the judges so that the speaker can automatically point out the relevant case in the compendium if the judge raises a question regarding it.
Needless to say, there need to be two sets of compendiums- one for the speaker at the dais and one for the judges.
8. Know the mannerisms of court beforehand and aid your team if they do not know it.
What should you not do as a researcher?
Do not think your position to be unimportant and thus, refrain from doing any work or do really little work.
A good performance of the speakers depends partly on the researcher and his/her research.
Also, if the speakers are not able to convince the judge, sometimes the researcher is called to the dais too.
A good researcher is an invaluable asset to any moot team. Providing your speaker with the correct case law to prove his point while he/she is fumbling or is clueless can help your team immensely.
Digging out that one case law which will make your argument invincible is a great satisfaction on its own. Therefore, even though a researcher does not get the limelight on the D-Day, a good researcher contributes a lot.
Pride yourself in the contribution of your team’s success.