MOOTING 101 Want to join a mooting team but you are not sure how to do it ? Where do you begin ? Here are some basic and simple steps you could follow, whether you are a veteran debater or just starting out. Not all of these suggestions will be applicable to everyone, but together they should give an overview of what you will need to do or ought to do in order to be selected for a moot team. Step 1: Always keep your eyes and ears open. There are a number of excellent opportunities for those whom are keen and interested in mooting, but provided you know where to look. Its not difficult to find out about these moot competitions, but opportunities won’t fall into your lap. Keep an eye out at the External Mooting (SIG) Facebook page where the group admin would constantly post notices, announcement or even posters regarding any upcoming moot competition. Do check MMLS as well, this is because most announcement would also be shared by respective lecturers. Most of the announcement would also be posted on the Faculties website as well. Do check regularly with the External Mooting (SIG) committees. Find out who they are and let them know that you are interested in joining that particular moot competition and make sure you find out the datelines for selections. Besides that, if you are interested in one of those ‘big’ competitions (for example IHL or Vis), it’s not a bad idea to see one of their moots in action before trying out. You don’t have to travel all the way to KL to view one of the moots. A simple Google search or an YouTube search would provide you with plenty of options. MMU Mooting teams have numerous practice moots prior to their competition, and if you are willing to sit through an hour or so of the moot, it would give you valuable insight into what is required of you as a mooter, and you would also have the opportunity to determine whether the subject matter of the moot is your cup of tea. Step 2: Preparation Prior to Selection Process. So now you have decided to attend the try outs. But where do you start ? What do you do first ? If you are a first time mooter, the idea of standing (appearing) in a moot can be pretty nerve wrecking (Trust me. Been there, done that). Whats the procedure ? What do you call the judge? How do you address the court or tribunal? (depending on which moot you join). My suggestion would be to do some background check. Check out any of the videos available on either the competition websites, or youtube. Basically what you want to accomplish from watching these videos are you are familiar with the procedure and how are you should prepare. Besides that, the notes and slides uploaded on the External Mooting group would also provide help. The next step is to prepare your topic thoroughly. But many juniors are of the opinion that, since they have not learn that area of the law, they would be in a serious disadvantage. So here’s the thing, SIG provides basic training for everyone. The training would focus on the subject matter of the competition and this would really benefit the juniors. So all you guys, come to our next training (y). Familiarize yourself with your materials. This is because, if you are familiar with your material this would make you feel more comfortable especially if you are an inexperienced mooter. Although in a selection moot you will not be expected to have an in-depth knowledge of resources, some showing of research will enhance your presentation and often impress the selection panel (ie: Judges). In some of the moots, sadly you will not be given the luxury of getting a reference list handed down to you by your seniors. In these situations the best thing to do is to identify the subject matter or area of law which revolves around the problem and find a basic textbook that will give you an overview of that topic. For example you could refer to the Public International Law texbook, which provides a full chapter on what International Humanitarian Law is, or you could refer to Pleading in Arbitration; A Practitioners Guide for some basic knowledge on arbitration and mediation. Then find some authorities to help your case by doing simple research. For beginners, Google-ing would suffice. Its much better to chose those few cases where you can know, and understand them, rather than blindly memorizing those big name cases in which you would not be able to digest. In a selection, the judges would look towards how you present your case and your style of presentation rather than in depth research. Although having both will definitely put in ahead of the pack. Step 3: Presentation – Speaking Practice, Practice and Practice. This is the only way to be ready and really impress the panel of judges for the selection. It is good to practice your presentation before going into the selection moots. Here are some pointers to know what the judges are looking for. Always remember C. E. S. O.
Step 4: Question and Answering session I believe this is the most important element in distinguishing a good mooter with those great mooter. One’s ability to answer the question and use that question to reaffirm his / her points is the hallmark of a great mooter. Although sometime you may come across the rare judges who seldom ask questions, Below are some tips for you in handling these different situations. Always answer the question which you have been asked. If you dont know the answer, it can be very tempting to try to “pusing” the judge, by twisting and turning the question to avoid it. Some judges may not say anything about it. But yet again there are those old school judge who will immediately stop you and and you to redirect your answer to the court / tribunal. Try giving simple answer by referring to the facts of the case or any principle which you referred too, and if at the very last resort you cannot answer the question, the simply say “Your Excellency, I am unable to assist the court in this matter”. But remember that statement should be the very last option. Never say “I’ll be dealing with that later in my submissions” or “my co-counsel will address that later”. This is because, if the judge asked you the question at that point of time, meaning that is the question which is currently in his mind. If you dont address that question, chances are that he would still ponder on that point and may not follow your subsequent arguments. A tip commonly used by mooters is that, they would take a few seconds to pause after the question, to give a considered response. A common mistake is when the mooter tries to response quickly and ends up rambling on for a long answer. Don’t be afraid to ask the judge for a couple of seconds to collect your thoughts. Always formulate questions in advance. Be a devils advocate and try to anticipate what you might be asked and prepare a possible response to that question. Step 5: Mooting Etiquette This is quite easy to pickup. Remember to dress the part. Generally you need to look well groomed and presentable when you appear before the judge. Remember to address the court appropriately. For competitions like IHL, the correct way in addressing the court would be via “Your Excellency”, while for arbitration tribunal, you could use either “Mr / Mrs Arbitrator” or even “Mr / Mrs President”. Always sit up straight, smile and do not try to be too casual. Remember to be respectful to the bench even if you consider they are being totally unreasonable. This is often a way the judges in testing your ability to cope under pressure. .
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