Preparing for a moot can be stressful. The scenario you are given may include issues which you have no prior knowledge on. Don’t panic, instead break down the preparation process step by step.
- Identify the area of law and then narrow it down to a specific topic (if the issues only concern one area). Try to research relatively broadly within the topic so that you’re not cutting out information that could be relevant to your argument.
- Ensure that you’re clear about which side you are arguing. This is so that when you do further reading around your scenario you have a mental note about what types of arguments you could be making. Check if you’re acting for the appellants or the respondents and which court it is in. Remember, appellants are appealing against the decision of the previous court and respondents are responding to the grounds of appeal made by the appellants.
- You can then begin to construct your arguments. As a rough guideline, 3-4 legal authorities should be used to support your arguments. The structure of your points basically mirror that of an essay: 1) point, being a ground of appeal 2) evidence, being a legal authority whether it’s a case or piece of legislation and 3) analysis, which is where you apply the legal authority relevant to your moot scenario. Within your analysis you could bring in policy considerations if applicable to help make your argument stronger. This structure should also be incorporated for your skeleton argument but it will be much more brief.
Don’t worry if the facts of the case you want to use don’t mirror your moot scenario because you can apply the spirit of the law within that authority to support your own argument. ‘By analogy’ is a useful phrase to use when applying a case to your scenario.
Another helpful tip is that when constructing each of your arguments, try to think of a rebuttal that your respondent may have so that you can be prepared in advance and foresee a response.
An important part of mooting is to ensure that you use court etiquette. This includes how you refer to the judge, the opposition, the general language used throughout your speech and how you refer to citations:
In both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court you’d refer to the judges as ‘Your lordship’, ‘Your Ladyship’, ‘My Lord’ and ‘My Lady’. Your opposition would be ‘My Learned Friend(s)’. ‘I submit that…’ is a good way to introduce the arguments in your speech. Citations should always be mentioned in full when introducing a case.
If a judge asks you a question about your argument, never respond with "I will address that later throughout my speech". The whole point of the question is that the judge wants a response at that moment and to see how you respond on the spot.
If you follow a structure in your preparation the whole experience becomes much less overwhelming and you may actually find yourself enjoying the moot!