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HOW TO MOOT AND COURTROOM ETIQUETTE

Note you will usually be judged on the following:


Knowledge and command of the issues, including application of relevant law to the facts
Persuasiveness
Ability to answer questions/respond to points made
Structure and Clarity
Courtroom Manner

What does Mooting involve?

 Written Submission
 Oral Presentation

Key Requirements

 Be prepared: Identify relevant issues in the case scenario; Reading from books, cases
etc
 Must be able to analyse case law

Team Preparation

 Divide the team and assign tasks


 Case Law and Legislation preparation
 Decide on the preliminary stance in relation to all issues
 What is/are your statement(s) of fact
 What are your arguments (Pleadings)
 Point by point
 Conclusions and Demands

Structure / Format of a Moot

 Applicant/Plaintiff/the State presents their submission /arguments


 Respondent/Defendant presents their arguments
 Rebuttal from the Applicant/Plaintiff/the State
 Rebuttal from Respondent/Defendant
 Sub-rebuttals

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ADDRESSING THE COURT

 Be professional, polite, respectful, appropriately dressed

Addressing the Court

 In different courts, different modes of address may be used. The correct mode of
address for judges of the Superior Courts as set out in the Rules of the Superior Courts
specify “Judge” or “A Bhreithimh” as the correct modes of address. You can
also refer to “the Court” if you prefer.

 When a judge asks a question of a student, the student should listen to the question
and should never interrupt the judge when he/she is asking the question.

 If a judge’s question is not clear to the student, the student may ask the judge to
repeat or rephrase the question: “Judge, could you please repeat the question?”

 If you do not know an answer to a question from the judge do not bluff; Admit that
you do not know and continue

Opening Submissions
Leading Counsel:

 Introduce yourself and your client-


o “May it please the Court, my name is A, I am Counsel for the
Applicant/Respondent”.
o "May it please the Court, my name is A I am appearing with Mr/Ms B for the
appellant (plaintiff) X and Mr/Ms C and Mr/Ms D are appearing for
respondent (defendant) Y."

Junior Counsel:

 "If it pleases the court, my name is B and I am continuing the case for the
appellant/respondent."

Presenting the issues


Open the case-

 “Judge, this is an appeal against the sentence imposed by x J. in the Circuit Court”;
“Judge, this is an application for an injunction against the defendants ‘X Ltd.’”

 Introduce the principles of law on which you rely (briefly) and indicate to the court
what it is you require

 Move to case law submissions (with the courts permission – Cite correctly and in full)

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Answer any questions asked

 Conclude by summarising and again indicating to the court what it is you require.

Phrases
Never say:
 "In my opinion"
 “My Learned Friend”

Useful phrases:
 “In my submission I will show that…”
 “It is my respectful submission that…”
 "It is submitted that"
 "It will be argued that"
 “Opposing counsel’s argument overlooks the fact that…” or “…overlooks the case
of…”
 “I appreciate your point, Judge, however, I would (nonetheless) submit that…” or
“…I would argue that…”
 “My friend Ms./Mr. X…”
 “Learned counsel for the Applicant/Respondent…”
 “May I bring the courts attention to paragraph 5...”

Citing Cases and Materials

 You must cite cases fully


 When referring to a case in some detail, you should open the case to the Court
o “May it please the Court, I wish to open the case of DPP v Potter,
reported in volume 2 of the 1995 Random Law Reports Weekly at page 4
and referred to at paragraph 5 of the appellants’ submissions.”
 Always ask the Court whether the Court is aware of the facts of the case
o “Is the court familiar with the case of... ?"
o “Would you like me to state the facts of the case, Judge?”
 Be prepared to give a rough outline if the Court is unfamiliar with it
 When citing the case the ‘v’ is pronounced as ‘and’
 Do not say ‘versus’ or ‘v’
 If citing from a paragraph of the case/ section of the judgment you must direct the
judge to the relevant section:
o “Please turn to page five hundred and sixty three (563) at paragraph 4”

 It is important to be aware of the origins of the case and understand the different
impact this will have; be aware of precedent in the context of Irish judgements;
foreign cases can be used but note that they are of persuasive value only; note the
special nature of decisions of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of
Human Rights

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 You must also cite legislation fully (including relevant sections upon which you are
relying)
 Cite books and other materials fully

Presentation Style

 Speak out clearly (make sure the Court can hear you)
 Do not react badly to a question from the judge: take a moment to consider the
question , if you are unsure ask the court if you can confer with your colleagues; if still
unsure inform the Court thusly and move on
 Present your case – do not simply read your speech
 Avoid colloquialisms or slang

Presentation Points

 Preparation is key, but you will also need to be flexible. Mooting is also about being
dynamic and responding to what happens on the day – be flexible as you may have to
jump from one argument to another
 You may also need to adjust your pleadings depending on what the opposition/Judges
say
 Every point you make must have solid reasoning ; once you have sufficiently prepared
then be confident in your arguments ; do not crumble just because a judge asks a
question or seeks clarification; However never bluff and never defend an untenable
position
 When finished answering the question try to lead back into the argument

Documentation
It may be useful to have a separate document containing the case summaries; legislation relied
upon etc.

Closing submissions
If you are the first speaker for your team, make sure that you have made all your points
clearly. Repeat them in summarised form. End by asking if the judge has any questions.
Then introduce your teammate and give a very brief statement of what he/she is about to
say. e.g.

 “In summary, the appellant makes the following points: 1, 2, 3…”


 “If the Court has no further questions, my learned colleague, Mr./Ms. X will make
submissions based on ...... to which I referred at the beginning of my
submissions…
or
 “Ms. X will rebut the legal submission made on behalf of the Respondent with respect
to ….”

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The second speaker from the team should end his/her speech by summarising the
argument of the team as a whole, recapping what the first speaker said, as well as
reiterating the points he/she has made. Again, questions should be invited. Before
sitting down the speaker should enquire if the court wishes to hear any more from
him/her:
 “May I be of any further assistance to the court?”

Dealing with Rebuttals

 A member of the team/counsel should take concise notes in respect of your


opponent’s application/submissions to assist in rebuttal
 Rebuttal can be planned in advance; but note that if you may have to deal with some
unanticipated points (know your case)
 You cannot introduce more arguments at this stage
 Focus on 3 - 4 points maximum

Replying to the Rebuttal


 Extremely brief ; only reply to the rebuttal; be as concise as possible