A Glance of Mooting at Law Schools
- Dr. Bishwa Kallyan Dash, Asst. Prof. (II), KIIT School of Law, Bhubaneswar*
We live in a world of competition. There is always a struggle to overcome the past with a better tomorrow. For which, we always strive for a better way to excel in what we plan for tomorrow. One such way that a students embark is the field of ‘law’ as a career choice. The society that we live in today still holds the conventional mindset towards law as a career choice. But, we have seen over the past few decades that; all statesmen and leaders hail from the field of law only. At the same time, it can’t be denied of the fact that; they have not earned their repute overnight. It has taken a good time and a deep struggle to achieve what they possibly could in their lifetime.
The moment when students’ today aspire to become a lawyer, they always tend to have that feeling of doing the best and the feeling is ingrained from the time of their preparatory days for law schools. Legal education in India though finds its place in two ways I.e. conventional legal education and the modern legal education; but, has one thing in common which is the regulatory body I.e. the Bar council of India. The regulator prescribes and standardizes the education across the country. And one of the clinical papers that the regulators ask for implementation is of ‘Moot Court Practice’. And the moment the students step into the law school, mooting becomes the buzz word for them. However, it is imperative to guide the lost souls of their future callings in moot court practice. And in this venture, the law schools play a predominant role.
The first recorded reference to a moot court was in the year 997, and moots were common at the Inns of Court and Chancery in 14th century England. In 18th century England there were 4 greater Inns of Court and 10 lesser Inns, called the Inns of Chancery; in each of the greater Inns there were about 200 students, and 100 in the lesser Inns. Where Students were exposed to law in practice and were trained thereby. This is what was called then as ‘learning law by practicing it in real time’. Thus, in 1824, Lord Justice Atkin of Gray’s Inn, wrote that the practice of mooting was an ancient and essential part of the legal training necessary for call to the Bar where students are to contest on a moot point which is unsettled by the judicial decisions till then.
Some of the benefits of mooting are:
- Enhance writing and organizing skills
- Improves communication skill
- Harness researching skills
- Takes over the fear of public speaking
- Learn argumentation skill
- Develops understanding of law in a better way
- Brings critical thinking and analyzing capacity to order etc. Etc.
Some negatives of mooting at law school are:
- Time commitment
- Mindset of not settling to the average
- Shed your academics a bit
- You tend to take dummy court real serious at times…
At times when the student steps into the law school, a good number of students would start haunting you as prospective mooters or researchers for their team. But, one thing all need to be careful of is that; mooting has its own pros and cons. And this shall come as an inner calling. Therefore, before jumping into the big game; one shall know of his/her strengths and weaknesses and then commit anything towards mooting. Because, as a mentor to many a teams; I have experienced students breaking down mid way and compromising a lot with life for mooting. That is what mooting brings to you and what we call is “Passion”.
A moot court practice in law school is divided into three layers I.e. International, National and Regional. The intensity increases and the call of commitment sores up as we go up the ladder. Therefore, success lies in one thing only I.e. “Having the RIGHT TEAM”. Because, mooting is all about a team game. No single individual can make the win or loss towards their way. It is all that the team does makes the end meet. However, at times being a mentor to many moot teams I hear a question; ‘how can I make a team with someone I am not COMPATIBLE with’? This question may not have an immediate response, but has definitely a durable solution I.e. we have to accept that Legal education is a “professional education’ at the end of the day. What the course wishes to bring up is true professionals. And mooting is a way which harnesses or provide opportunity to build true professionals. And when the call is for professionalism; no individual feelings does have any place in between. Therefore, bring the best team up and make the most of the chance you haveś.
It is also a crucial factor among the law schools, how to get the right team for the right mooting competition. Summarily, it may be divided into two parts I.e. at some places it is all based on patronage where the boss of the law school decided who shall represent the law school at the competition; and on the second hand there is also another mode where a transparent internal competition being organized to select the teams based on their performance for representing the law school outside in any competition.
At the end, I can say one thing for sure that; being a law student one shall taste the tune of mooting but certainly not confine the horizons to mooting only. And for mooting you need the following things at place I.e.
Zeal for learning new thing
And, the guts to accept defeat.
Happy Researching………..Happy Mooting
*Dr. Bishwa Kallyan Dash, an avid mooter from his law school days became the beacon of guiding mooting teams when he joined law school in the capacity of a faculty of law. He has mentored teams for International and National moot court competitions for many law schools. He also is one of the sought after judge in the Mooting circuit in India.