Basics of Mooting
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In this article, Sarang Khanna, Researcher and Analyst at iPleaders, talks about the basics of mooting to help you get forward and transition from an amateur to an expert mooter.

Thankfully, mooting is a skill, and like any other acquired skill, no one is born knowing anything about it. You can learn and constantly get better at mooting and increase your knowledge about them one after another. With increasing experience and exposure, law students come to love this legal extra curricular activity.

Mooting is getting compulsory in more and more law universities and colleges, keeping in mind the enormous advantages it has for law students. If you are looking to do well and stand out amongst the rest of the participants in your college moot, or even at the more prestigious national and intentional level moots, read ahead.


As self-evident as it may sound, the first crucial step to approaching any moot court competition is to clearly understand all issues and different aspects of law involved in the problem.

Start with locating who your clients are and who are you representing in the given problem – if it’s a person or a company. Next comes the issue of what kind of court are you being asked to participate in, and what stage of proceedings is the matter at. Different court proceedings demand different structural organization of your moot court memos and speech, and it can be crucial for the life of your moot.

Next very important aspect to understand is whether you are the petitioner or the appellant in the given case (No kidding!). It sounds like a no-brainer but trust me as I’m picking this up from personal experience, I was once a part of a moot where our opponents prepared from the appellant’s side despite actually being the defendant. Funnily, we all stood on the same side when called up to give appearance by the judge, and then the goof up came to light. Needless to  say, we won without even contesting.


Your problem depends on facts, and no matter what television courtroom dramas have taught you, the room to manipulate these facts in a moot court is virtually nil. There will be relevant facts and there will be irrelevant facts, but it serves you best to by heart all of them.

Would you want to be subjected to a question that you know absolutely nothing about? Of course not. You want to be answering questions with authority in a moot court and knowing your facts from A to Z will help you be in a better position when questioned. That is not to say that you go on reiterating the facts over and over again without delving into the actual legal issues involved.

Magnified perusal of facts will assist you in doing a thorough research and identifying legal issues that may otherwise remain unnoticed. Although facts should not find mention of more than 2 pages and 3-4 minutes in your memo and speech respectively. The best place for facts is in memory, and to help in impeccable legal research.


When it comes to finally delivering your arguments, first and foremost – practice! Practice saying tricky words aloud. Practice saying the citations, practice the delivery of your main points, practice your opening and closing statements and say them out aloud to someone who’s never heard them before or has no clue about your moot, and time yourself. This will help you in speaking clear, coherently, and in comprehensive language. Use precise English, but do away with fancy jargon. Delivering a whole statement in Latin doesn’t impress anyone anymore.

However, your practice buddy cannot help you with the questions, and you yourself can only anticipate so much in advance. When questioned during the actual moot, listen carefully to the question the judge is asking. Don’t answer a question you wish they had asked, and if you don’t know the answer, say it. It’s okay, you can say “I can’t give you the answer at the moment, your honor, but my team will do some research and give that answer to you shortly. If you would allow me to continue with my submissions now” or something like that. If you really don’t know the answer, “I’m sorry, Your Honor, I am not aware of this” can be a  good response. It is okay to not know some things, but don’t let it shrink your confidence.

Remember, you are learning from this experience. Mooting is stressful, but don’t be put off by the situation, don’t be put off by the questioning, and don’t be put off by the context. Nervousness is understandable but try to manage that in whatever way suits you best. Overall, do not be put off by mooting. You will only learn something new and  your future moots will be nothing like your previous ones.


In your moot you are the expert and questions are only meant for understanding more from you. They are not at all bad for you. As a lawyer you’re trying to make an argument in front of the court and your argument needs to be coherent. When the bench follows up with you through questions, they are only actually trying to understand what you are trying to convey, or questioning you to understand if you understand what you are saying yourself.

Questions are a great opportunity to make your case indispensable, and they should be welcomed. For me, I just automatically assumed that the bench thinks I’m stupid when subjected to a question and got really defensive sometimes in my approach to answer. This is a terrible way to respond to questions as the bench is often only trying to guide under that strong questioning tone and giving you an opportunity to effectively use the question to make your point clearer.

Questions are only a clever way of judging your preparation, and taking them as a dialogue, rather than an interrogation, is the effective way to deal with them.


Yes, you are in a simulated courtroom, but it runs like a real courtroom nevertheless. Right from taking the podium, to starting your arguments and responding to questions from the bench, court norms and mannerisms must strictly be adhered to. Being gentle and respectful during an argument depict character and it goes a long way in establishing trust with the bench.

Even body language, gesticulation, hand movements and diction can add or take value from your moot presentation. Use them well. Be clear and comprehensible, even if it means taking a little longer. Of course there is a clock and you are being timed, but do not rush your arguments. It gives the impression that you have no idea what you’re talking about, or worse, you might look like a panting hostage in an ISIS video.

Additionally, the bench might put to you a statement that you don’t agree with or which you think they may be have not understood what you have said clearly. Use this opportunity to repeat yourself, and even disagree politely, if you must. Do not forget the fact that the bench is in a position much superior to yours, and you can still disagree with what the bench is saying by being respectful.

“I’m sorry, Your Honor, I think that I may have not put forth the argument correctly. What I do mean to say is…….”. There are many such ways of handling questions that are thrown at you by the bench that may prejudice your case. The number one thing to always keep in mind though is to be respectful. Period.


Another important and obvious thing to immensely capitalize on is your team work. The reason you’re working as a team is because mooting is a mammoth task, comprising of small baby mammoth tasks. Remember, you are a team and not just a collection of individuals, and using the strength of your team is imperative in deciding how your moot proceeds.

Have arrangements in place to assist each other. Know where, when and how to keep track of the proceedings. For someone who is doing the speaking, being on the toes can be nerve inducing and intimidating. The researcher on the team could follow and research the questions being thrown at the speaker by the bench, for example. Another person could follow the points and make sure that you stick to the pattern and structure of your presentation. Use gentle nudges as reminders when speaker goes off track or misses to cover a crucial point.

The questions from the bench are going to take you down a different garden path so it’s good to have someone on your team who is not under pressure and standing up and speaking who can keep regular track. An important point missed, is an important point lost.

As a lawyer, your job is to put forward a logical and well thought out and easily understandable argument. Mooting gears you up to deal with difficult, prickly questions, and if you are like me who gets worked up and nervous when put on the stop, you must up your mooting game to beat the competition. You can visit here to learn the essentials of mooting and be the most respected name in the circle.

Mooting has immense networking potential and also hones your advocacy skill more than any other activity. Moreover, high prize money is awarded at most moots which makes the competition extremely tough. Do your bit, prepare ahead in time, and rise ahead of the competition.


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