Right after joining a law school, there is often a time when students would Google: ‘how to win the first moot court I participate in’, or ‘basics of a moot court’, or ‘tricks and tips to ace one’s first mooting experience’. I was no exception. Thus, I am writing this article to guide you through your first moot court, and to tell you what pitfalls to avoid. Before I get your expectation up, I must tell you that I only managed to scramble through the preliminary rounds in my first try-out. In the process, I made loads of mistakes and learnt from them. Hope this helps others avoid those mistakes.
Tip 1: The first-ever competition that I had taken part in was an intra-college one. For anyone’s first experience, I seriously recommend that you start small, but start early. Approach your seniors. Ask questions. You can learn from their experiences (psst, everyone likes to show off, so a little buttering is okay). Understand how your mooting works and study in details the particulars of the one you chose. I had procrastinated on my mooting journey and have always regretted it heavily.
Tip 2: Find people who are like-minded and as enthusiastic about mooting as you are. Besides the enthusiasm, a considerable amount of work ethic and patience is required to go through your first moot without too many hiccups. Friends or no friends, build your team carefully. This is also the point of time where you choose who are going to be your speakers and the researcher. My first time included a haphazard mixture of last-minute participants- a diligent but slow researcher and two absentee speakers. Don’t make the mistake. Choose early.
Tip 3: I would request that you undertake the problem your college assigns without being overly picky. However, make sure that you have a basic curiosity about the concerned problem, otherwise, the research becomes more of a chore. Keep reading through the problem, identify the issues and then divide them amongst the team. Start early, don’t waste time understanding how mooting works, because that was step one and that time has gone away.
Tip 4: Don’t differentiate on basis of researcher and speaker. Everyone works the same and everyone knows all the content. The speakers know the research and the researcher knows the speech. Communicate all the issues faced, don’t let them fester- this weakens the team.
Tip 5: One-third of the entire mooting period should be spent on researching individually. No more than that. In that time, keep a diligent account of your research note. Especially your sources and citations, the name of your referred books and the visited websites. Also, make sure you know what sources are citable. Even though Indian-Kanoon is amazing, you don’t cite it. Make sure others are doing the same, everyone must keep a tab on the others.
Tip 6: Understand the format assigned to you for your memorial and for your footnotes, and adhere religiously to it. Individual team members should draft their respective researched portions and then bring them together. Sit and work together as much as possible. This should ideally take half of your mooting time-length- your personal research and then bringing everything together and modifying the written content in a manner to make it seamless. Everyone has their own style of writing remember that, so this last editing is important.
Tip 7: Learn how to speak the terminology that is favoured by your particular format of the competition. Practice speaking in front of a mirror. Learn your arguments well and speak with confidence. Keep your presence humble and respectful. Keep a cool head. You should be able to answer the questions that would be posed to you throughout the competition.
This is all that can be said for the preparation stage, the rest that happens is really very individualistic. Every person has a different experience. Hope this helped. Happy Mooting!
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Lawctopus Law School also has a course ‘Moot Court (& Competition)’. Check it out if you wish to learn the ins and outs of mooting, here.