History of mooting
Mooting developed more than 500 years ago in the ancient medieval ‘inns of court’. In these exercises, young lawyers training to become barristers were required to perform a series of oral exercises in front of more experienced lawyers (known as ‘benchers’) who acted as judges.
This practice of ‘mooting’ has survived and evolved over half a millennia and is still widely used as a teaching tool in universities all over the world.
It also provides an arena to bring leading law schools and universities together at national and international mooting competitions which promote a spirit of friendly yet fierce rivalry, as well as camaraderie.
What is mooting?
Mooting is a simulated court proceeding where student teams are presented with a legal problem which they are required to argue before a ‘judge’ or panel of ‘judges’.
Through their preparation and presentation of each case, students must show an understanding of the relevant law and how it should be applied in their client’s case. (How it should be applied is the key phrase here because, as most new law students quickly discover, there are usually two sides to any legal argument!)
Whilst most people think of moots as an oral competition, they almost always involve a written component where competitors are required to prepare and submit a ‘memorial’ outlining their case prior to arguing it verbally in the moot court. The research and writing involved in preparing the written memorials are a crucial element of success in mooting competitions.
Generally speaking, each mooting competition focuses on a specific area of legal argument such as family law, international law, criminal law, commercial law, intellectual property law, humanitarian law, constitutional law, administrative law and so on.