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The three submissions in a moot

The three submissions in a moot

Anisa Rahman Choudhury


Reading time: three minutes

For aspiring barristers, it's highly beneficial to get mooting experience. Mooting is like a mock trial, split into two sides (usually the appellant and respondent). Participants will have to analyse the problem, conduct legal research on the relevant law and present both a written and oral submission. In essence, it simulates a court hearing so it's highly beneficial for pupillage applications, improving your advocacy skills and can give you better insight into the profession, if it's the right fit for you. Therefore, you should aim to participate in as many moots as you can; a plethora can be found online, by your university or conceivably by your university's law/Bar society. Having partaken in numerous moots and received feedback from practising barristers and judges, here's a summary of the components in a moot.

1. Skeleton argument

Firstly, what is it? Skeleton arguments are written and usually given to the judge ahead of the competition as a summary of the issues you'll be addressing (both factual and legal). The key point here is that they're simplistic and concise – you should only include your main argument and the authorities you'll be relying on. It's also advised to have a few cases that you can analyse in detail rather than briefly mentioning many. If done well, your skeleton argument should act as your legal framework and give guidance for your oral submission

2. Bundle of authorities

This element is pretty self-explanatory. This is a single document that'll include all of your authorities. Its purpose in court is provide the court with all the relevant documentation in the matter and will be referred to by the competitor throughout the moot. Therefore, it's easy to make and is usually done as the last step, once all your cases have been finalised. Note that there are a few technicalities your bundle will require. It should have an index, be paginated and the authorities hyperlinked (to impress your judges further). Cases are often in the order that they're addressed and have their full citation. As the case judgements will be in your bundle, you must refer to its specific pages/paragraphs that you're quoting and give your judge time to find it in your bundle. 

There's information about what your law society can offer you with this LCN Says from King's College London Bar & Mooting Society.

3. Oral submission

This is arguably the most important stage as it's often where the most points lie. You'll have an allotted time to establish your case, address the counter points and answer any questions from your judge. As aforementioned, this is based on your skeleton argument but it shouldn’t be read verbatim. Something that catches new mooters off guard is the formality and language of mooting – ie, when talking to the judge, you must say ‘my Lord/Lady’, etc. However, this is just to mirror courtroom practices and is not hard in practice. I'd suggest you research courtroom etiquette to give you a more informed understanding of what to expect. It's also handy to use common phrases like ‘it will be submitted that’, rather than ‘I will argue’. As for advocacy techniques, there are many different styles and preparation methods out there but my main tip would be to practise. If you're confident with your case, then you'll come across more persuasively, which will increase your chances to win.