In any law school, amidst a plethora of co-curricular activities, mooting remains to be a quintessential activity, and is closely associated with honing advocacy skills of the students and shaping them into profession ready individuals. Opportunities to gain experience in appellate advocacy are difficult to come by for law students and therefore, mooting serves the purpose of acting as the next best alternative for providing the students with an opportunity to hone both their written and oral advocacy skills within a competitive field. Each of these boons of mooting as an exercise corresponds to some of the other skills required in appellate advocacy and the translation is too visible to ignore.
The benefits of mooting are numerous. The foremost perk of participating in any moot court competition is that it has a favorable impact on one’s writing and organization skills. The completion of written submissions within the stipulated time frame of the competition is in itself a very harrowing experience which requires dedication and meticulous planning. The demanding schedule of any moot court competition therefore, encourages enhancing one’s organizational skills and honing it to sheer perfection.
Apart from the development of such soft skills, mooting also facilitates in improving one’s writing and drafting skills. Legal writing is an indispensable part of legal profession and acquiring and perfecting this skill is nothing short of an art. Mooting in a way, facilitates the students by providing them with a platform to practice and hone the skill of legal writing in form of written submissions, which is one of the aspects of a moot court competition. Mooting is not just about presenting propositions of law. An important aspect is applying those propositions to the facts in order to argue for the result you want. Drafting a memorandum for the competition helps the students to gain valuable practice in developing, structuring and defending their arguments and provides them with a practical aspect to better understand the law. In appellate advocacy too, drafting forms an important element in the timely outcome of the cases. Proper pleading, prayer, arguments are all important for the draft, failing which the client suffers. If the lawyer misses out on any detail, he has to incorporate it via an amendment application, adding to the overall cost of litigation and hence proving burdensome to the client. Add to it the pressure of obtaining fast relief for the client, the lawyer absolutely has to submit the draft within a stipulated time period. Also, various forums require the draft to be submitted in a particular format, which is analogous to memorial drafting in a moot court competition.
Mooting as an activity is very close to the real picture of advocacy. The participants require detailed reading and research on the given moot proposition to break the case and argue the same. This process enables the students to improve their skills in research and analysis which comes in handy in the long run, in the profession of advocacy. Moreover, research skills have enormous practical applicability and it is often said that in the profession of advocacy, any case can be unraveled by putting in sixty-percent effort into the research for the case. This can be said true to real life advocacy too. Research is an absolute mandate and outcomes of the cases have depended on the same. It is pertinent to note that the judges of moot court competitions are usually retired judges or sitting judges of courts in India and they have often contrasted and compared the level of research of students with lawyers and have found notable levels of similarity between the two. This serves as the highest level of satisfaction for any student who has mooted even once. A visible example of this is Shreya Singhal, who due to her dedicated efforts and research was able to assert arguments enough to overturn a draconian provision of law (See, Shreya Singhal v. UOI, AIR 2015 SC 1523).
Furthermore, mooting also encourages the development of other several soft skills such as team work. Working closely with your teammates towards a common goal instills a sense of responsibility and team spirit within the students which enables them to transform themselves into team-players and therefore, become assets to any institution that they would go on to become a part of, in the near future. This team work is essential in advocacy too where a case is drafted by the lawyer with the help of interns and stenographers, printed with the help of office clerks and filed because of the help of court clerks forming a chain important to placing the case before the court. Also, most of the lawyers are assisted by the juniors even during the stage of argumentation and the concert in action is art in itself given the ease with which the team of lawyers operate. Further, mooting helps in increasing ones’ confidence in public speaking and also improves one’s ability to think on their feet. Mooting also hones ones’ oral advocacy and presentation skills which are indispensable skills in the legal profession. The very essence of the profession of law requires excellent speakers, persuaders and warriors of words which the activity of mooting schematizes for the students.
The interplay of mooting and advocacy in India is way too important and legal educators across the world have realized and imbibed it in one form or the other. It is important to understand that mooting has become an indispensable part of the life of a law student and the probable future justice functionaries.Author Mr Alaukik Shrivastava / Ms. Ayushi Mukherjee