Moot court

Moot court is an extracurricular activity at many law schools in which participants take part in simulated court or arbitration proceedings, usually involving drafting memorials or memoranda and participating in oral argument. In most countries, the phrase "moot court" may be shortened to simply "moot" or "mooting". Participants are either referred to as "mooters" or, less conventionally, "mooties".

Moot court involves a simulated appellate court (appellate advocacy) or arbitral case, which is different from a mock trial that involves a simulated jury trial or bench trial (trial advocacy). Moot court does not involve actual testimony by witnesses, cross-examination, or the presentation of evidence, but is focused solely on the application of the law to a common set of evidentiary assumptions, facts, and clarifications/corrections to which the competitors are introduced.[1] Though not a moot in the traditional sense, alternative dispute resolution competitions focusing on mediation and negotiation have also branded themselves as moot competitions in recent times, as had role-playing competitions in the past.

Moot court is one of the key extracurricular activities in many law schools (the others being law review and clinical work) around the world. Depending on the competition, students may spend a semester researching and writing the written submissions or memorials, and another semester practicing their oral arguments, or may prepare both within the span of a few weeks. Whereas domestic moot court competitions tend to focus on municipal law such as criminal law or contract law, regional and international moot competitions tend to focus on cross-border subjects such as public international law, international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, international trade law, international maritime law, international commercial arbitration, and foreign direct investment arbitration. Procedural issues pertaining to jurisdiction, standing, and choice of law are also occasionally engaged, especially in arbitration moots.

In most moot court competitions, each side is represented by two speakers or oralists (though the entire team composition may be larger) and a third member, sometimes known as of counsel, may be seated with the speakers. Each speaker usually speaks between 10 and 25 minutes, covering one to three main issues. After the main submissions are completed, there will usually be a short round of rebuttal and even surrebuttal. Depending on the format of the moot, there may be one or two rounds of rebuttal and surrebuttal, and communications between speakers may or may not be prohibited. Throughout the course of the submissions, judges may ask questions, though in some competitions questions are reserved to the end of submissions. In larger competitions, teams have to participate in up to ten rounds; the knockout/elimination stages are usually preceded by a number of preliminary rounds to determine seeding (power seeding is often used). Teams almost always must switch sides (applicant/appellant/claimant on one side, and respondent on the other) throughout a competition, and, depending on the format of the moot, the moot problem usually remains the same throughout. The scores of the written submissions are taken into consideration for most competitions to determine qualification (whether for the competition or for the knockouts) and seeding, and sometimes even up to a particular knockout stage.

International moot court competitions

International moot competitions are generally targeted at students (including postgraduates) and only allow participants who have not qualified to practice law in any jurisdiction. However, there are a handful of international moot competitions that are targeted at newly qualified lawyers, such as the ECC-SAL Moot, which is a regional moot started in 2012 and is jointly organised by Essex Court Chambers and the Singapore Academy of Law, and the New South Wales Young Laywers/CIArb competition.

The first table below lists some of the more notable international moot competitions for students, the second table lists the champions and finalists for the major or grand slam competitions, while the third and final table lists the champions and finalists for the minors and regionals. Major or grand slam international moots typically refer to class-leading moots or those that attract a substantial number of teams, while smaller or less established and region-only competitions are known as minors and regionals respectively; "international" class moots are sandwiched between grand slams and minors and regionals in terms of scale and prestige.[2][3][4] Some countries also divide competitions into various tiers of prestige for the purpose of awarding points in league tables, with moots such as the Jessup and Vis competitions being considered as belonging to the highest tier.[5]

List of notable competitions

CompetitionEstablishedClassPrimary subject matterRecord annual participation (year)Location of international finalsNational or regional roundsMost (international) championships
Philip C Jessup[6]1960 (1968 for international rounds)Major/grand slamPublic international law645 teams (2017)[7]Washington D.C.YesUniversity of Sydney (5)
Willem C Vis[8]1993Major/grand slamInternational commercial arbitration407 teams (2019)ViennaNoUniversity of Ottawa (3)
Willem C Vis (East)[9]2003Major/grand slamInternational commercial arbitration128 teams (2017)[10]Hong KongNo* Loyola Law School (2)
* West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (2)
Price Media Law[11]2007Major/grand slamInternational media law140 teams (2012)OxfordYesSingapore Management University (3)
International Criminal Court[12]2005 (2007 for international rounds)Major/grand slamInternational criminal law112 teams (2016)The HagueYes* Singapore Management University (3)
* Leiden University (3)
Frankfurt Investment Arbitration[13]2007Major/grand slamInternational investment arbitration66 teams (2017)[14]FrankfurtYesUniversity of Miami (2)
Sir Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot[15]1992 (1993 for international rounds)Major/grand slamSpace law74 teams (2017)VariesYes* George Washington University (3)
* National Law School of India University (3)
Oxford Intellectual Property Law2003InternationalIntellectual property law66 teams (2018)[16]OxfordQualification by written submissionsQueensland University of Technology (3)
Sarin Air Law2010InternationalAviation law41 teams (2018)VariesYes?
Fletcher[17]2016InternationalInternational insolvency law28 teams (2020)VariesQualification by written submissions3-way tie
John Jackson WTO2002InternationalWorld Trade Organization law99 teams (2018)[18]GenevaYesUniversity of Melbourne (3)
Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration[19]2008InternationalInvestor-state dispute settlementVariesYesMurdoch University (2)
Nuremberg[20]2014InternationalInternational criminal law160 teams (2019)[21]NurembergNo* University of Maastricht (2)
* National University of Singapore (2)
LAWASIA[22]2005RegionalInternational commercial arbitration (since 2011)41 teams (2018)VariesYesSingapore Management University (4)
Red Cross (Asia-Pacific) IHL[23]2003 (2004 for international rounds)RegionalInternational humanitarian law120 teams (2019)Hong KongYesVictoria University of Wellington (2)
WTO/FTA (Asian WTO)2010 (2015 for international rounds)RegionalWorld Trade Organization law35 teams (2017)SeoulQualification by written submissions* Seoul National University (1)
* Singapore Management University (1)
Asian Law Students' Association2008RegionalVaries44 teams (2018)VariesQualification by written submissionsSingapore Management University (2)
ELSA European Human Rights[24]2012RegionalEuropean Convention on Human RightsStrasbourgQualification by written submissions
African Human Rights[25]1992RegionalHuman rights in AfricaVaries within AfricaNo* University of Pretoria (5)
* University of Cocody (5)
ELMC1988RegionalEuropean lawLuxembourgYes
International Maritime Law Arbitration[26]2000MinorInternational maritime law31 teams (2019)[27]VariesNoUniversity of Queensland (9)
International Moot Competition on Maritime Arbitration[28]2010RegionalInternational maritime lawOdessaNo
World Human Rights2009RegionalInternational human rights lawPretoriaYes
Telders[29]1977RegionalPublic international law30 teamsThe HagueYes
Asia Cup[30]1999RegionalPublic international law40 teams (2011)TokyoQualification by written submissionsNational University of Singapore (6)
Hague Choice of Court Convention2014MinorPrivate international law12 teams (2015)VariesYesSingapore Management University (1)
International Law Youth for Peace2006MinorInternational humanitarian law35 teamsMinskNo
Private Law[31]2014MinorAustralian private law17 teams (2018)SydneyNoUniversity of New South Wales (2)
HSF Competition Law2015MinorCompetition law29 teams (2018)LondonQualification by written submissions* University of Hong Kong (2)
Nelson Mandela Moot2009MinorInternational human rights law164 teams (2018)[32]GenevaQualification by written submissions
DM Harish2000 (2005 for international teams)MinorPublic international law40 teamsMumbaiNo
Stetson[33]1995MinorInternational environmental law80 teams (2016)[34]GulfportYes
Pan-Asian Human Rights2017RegionalInternational human rights law8 teams (2017)Hong KongQualification by written submissionsUniversity of the Philippines (1)

List of champions and first runners-up for major or grand slam competitions

YearJessup[6]Vis[8]Vis East[35]Price[36]Frankfurt Investment[37]International Criminal CourtSpace (Lachs)[38]
2019Eötvös Loránd University/Columbia UniversityPennsylvania State University/University of OttawaUniversiteit van Amsterdam/Jindal Global Law SchoolUniversity of the Philippines/National University of Kyiv-Mohyla AcademyMoscow State Institute of International Relations/University of ViennaLeiden University/Honorable Society of the King's InnsUniversity of Ljubljana/University of Calabar
2018University of Queensland/National Law School of India UniversityNational Research University – Higher School of Economics/Cambridge UniversityILS Law College/Albert Ludwigs University of FreiburgUniversity of San Carlos/Singapore Management UniversityNational University of Singapore/University of LjubljanaSingapore Management University/West Bengal National University of Juridical SciencesUniversity of Pretoria/Symbiosis International University
2017University of Sydney/Norman Manley Law SchoolUniversity of Ottawa/Jindal Global Law SchoolWest Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences/Nalsar University of LawSingapore Management University/University of OxfordSingapore Management University/Gujarat National Law UniversityLeiden University/Singapore Management UniversityNational Law School of India University/University of Mississippi
2016University of Buenos Aires/University of PennsylvaniaUniversity of Buenos Aires/Singapore Management UniversityChinese University of Hong Kong/Singapore Management UniversitySingapore Management University/Jindal Global Law SchoolBucerius Law School/National University of SingaporeSingapore Management University/University of CologneNational and Kapodistrian University, Athens/Obafemi Awolowo University
2015University of Sydney/Pontificia Universidad Católica de ChileUniversity of Ottawa/Singapore Management UniversitySingapore Management University/University of ArizonaUniversity of the Philippines/Singapore Management UniversityJindal Global Law School/Singapore Management UniversitySingapore Management University/Leiden UniversityUniversity of Mississippi/National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
2014University of Queensland/Singapore Management UniversityDeakin University/National Law School of India UniversityLoyola University Chicago/Universiteit van AmsterdamJindal Global Law School/University of OxfordUniversity of MiamiSciences PoNational Law University, Delhi/Hebrew UniversityNational Law University, Delhi/Florida State University
2013National Law School of India University/Singapore Management UniversityCity University of Hong Kong/Monash UniversityUniversity of Canberra/University of MünsterNational Law University, Delhi/Regent UniversityStockholm University/Peking UniversityLeiden University/Osgoode Hall Law SchoolGeorgetown University/Leiden University
2012Moscow State University/Columbia UniversityNalsar University of Law/University College LondonCity University of Hong Kong/University of HoustonNalsar University of Law/University of Technology SydneyNorman Manley Law School/University of VersaillesCity University of Hong Kong/Kaplan Law SchoolNational Law School of India University/National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
2011University of Sydney/Columbia UniversityUniversity of Ottawa/University of MontevideoBond University/City University of Hong KongBelgrade Law School/Cardozo School of LawUniversity of Miami/Graduate Institute GenevaBond UniversityFlorida State University/National University of Singapore
2010Australian National University/Columbia UniversityKing's College London/University of OttawaAlbert Ludwigs University of Freiburg/Deakin UniversitySingapore Management University/Cardozo School of LawGeorgetown University/George Washington UniversityOsgoode Hall Law SchoolGeorge Washington University/National University of Singapore
2009Universidad de los Andes/University College LondonVictoria University of Wellington/University of PuneLoyola Law School/Stetson UniversityCardozo School of Law/BPP Law SchoolLa Trobe University/City University of Hong KongBond UniversityNational Law School of India University/Georgetown University
2008Case Western Reserve University/University of New South WalesCarlos III University of Madrid/Touro Law CenterGriffith UniversityInternational Islamic University of Malaysia/?Martin Luther University/St Gallen UniversityNAUniversity of New South Wales/University of Augsburg
2007University of Sydney/King's College LondonAlbert Ludwigs University of Freiburg/University of ZagrebPepperdine University School of Law/Monash UniversityUniversity of PretoriaGeorge Washington University/University of Queensland
2006Columbia University/Universidad Católica Andrés BelloQueen Mary/Stetson UniversityLoyola Law School/Deakin UniversityUniversity of Auckland/McGill University
2005University of Queensland/International Islamic University of MalaysiaStetson University/University of ViennaWest Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences/University of HoustonGeorge Washington University/National University of Singapore
2004Ateneo Law School/National University of SingaporeOsgoode Hall Law School/Victoria University of WellingtonTsinghua University/Loyola University ChicagoLeiden University/Georgetown University
2003University of Western Australia/Mari State UniversityWest Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences/Humboldt UniversityUniversity of Auckland/Georgetown University
2002University of the Witwatersrand/University of Western AustraliaNational University of Singapore/University of QueenslandGeorgetown University/University of New South Wales
2001National University of Singapore/Universidad Católica Andrés BelloMonash University/University of CologneNational University of Singapore/University of North Carolina
2000University of Melbourne/Universidad Católica Andrés BelloUniversity of Queensland/Loyola Law SchoolUniversity of Paris XI/Hamline University
1999National Law School of India University/University of PretoriaDeakin University/Tulane UniversityVanderbilt University/University of Paris XI
1998Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México/Australian National UniversityUniversity of Münster/University of QueenslandUniversity of North Carolina/University of Helsinki
1997Universidad Católica Andrés Bello/University of CalgaryUniversity of Queensland/University of CologneUniversity of Paris XI/University of North Carolina
1996University of Sydney/National University of SingaporeCornell University/Deakin UniversityUniversity of Helsinki/University of Wyoming
1995University of the Philippines/University of Western AustraliaAlbert Ludwigs University of Freiburg/University of NottinghamUniversity of North Carolina/Leiden University
1994National University of Singapore/University of MelbourneColumbia University/Laval UniversityMarshall University/University of Helsinki
1993University of Melbourne/University of HawaiiLeiden University/George Washington University
1992Universite de Paris I/National University of Singapore
1991University of Saskatchewan/University of Georgia
1990University of Georgia/University of Toronto
1989University of British Columbia/University of Melbourne
1988University of Melbourne/National University of Singapore
1987Georgetown University/Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
1986Boston College/National University of Singapore
1985National University of Singapore/Southwestern University
1984Dalhousie University/South Texas College of Law
1983University of Kansas/National University of Singapore
1982National University of Singapore/University of the Pacific
1981Australian National University/University of the Pacific
1980Georgetown University/National University of Singapore
1979Northwestern University/University of Adelaide
1978Brooklyn Law School/University of Toronto
1977University of Kansas/University of Toronto
1976University of Toronto/American University
1975Cambridge University/Georgetown University
1974University of Texas/Haile Selassie I University
1973West Virginia University/Brunel University
1972University of Miami/Haile Selassie I University
1971University of Texas/University of California
1970University of Miami/University of Kentucky
1969Rutgers University
University of Michigan
1968Duke University/University of Miami
1967Vanderbilt University/Harvard Law School
1966University of Texas/University of Wisconsin
1965Columbia University/University of Virginia
1964University of Texas/University of Pittsburgh
1963Columbia University/University of North Carolina

List of champions and first runners-up for internationals and minors/regionals

YearLAWASIA[39]IHL Asia-Pacific[40]Asia Cup[41]Maritime[26]IP[42]Fletcher[43]Sarin Air[44]Asian LSA
2019NAPeking University/Singapore Management UniversityUniversity of the Philippines/Russian State University of JusticeUniversity of Queensland/University of SydneyCity, University of London/University of OttawaNational Law Institute University/University of British ColumbiaNational University of Singapore/Leiden UniversityNA
2018University of Malaya/National University of SingaporeGujarat National Law University/University of New South WalesNational University of Singapore/University of MalayaUniversity of Queensland/University of Hong KongUniversity of New South Wales/University of CambridgeUniversity of British Columbia/University of QueenslandRajiv Gandhi National University of Law/Singapore Management UniversityNA
2017Singapore Management University/Universiti Teknologi MARABond University/University of Hong KongNational University of Singapore/Thammasat UniversityNational University of Singapore/University of QueenslandBucerius Law School/University of TorontoSingapore Management University/National University of SingaporeNational University of Singapore/West Bengal National University of Juridical SciencesSingapore Management University/Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University
2016Singapore Management University/West Bengal National University of Juridical SciencesQueensland University of Technology/Singapore Management UniversityNational University of Singapore/Ateneo Law SchoolUniversity of Sydney/Singapore Management UniversityUniversity of Ottawa/National Law School of India UniversityDr Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University/National University of SingaporeUniversitas Indonesia/National University of Singapore
2015Advance Tertiary College/National Law University, JodhpurVictoria University of Wellington/University of Hong KongUniversity of Malaya/Singapore Management UniversityNational University of Singapore/University of Hong KongNational Law School of India University/Monash UniversityUniversity of Queensland/National Law School of India UniversityUniversitas Indonesia/Hidayatullah National Law University
2014Singapore Management University/Chinese University of Hong KongUniversity of Adelaide/National Law University, JodhpurSingapore Management University/Universitas PadjadjaranUniversitas Indonesia/Maastricht UniversityUniversity of Hong Kong/University of TorontoLeiden University/Singapore Management University/Chinese University of Hong Kong
2013Singapore Management University/Taylor's UniversityNational Law University, Delhi/Australian National UniversityAteneo Law School/Singapore Management UniversityUniversity of Queensland/National University of SingaporeUniversity of Ottawa/National Law University, DelhiNA
2012Chinese University of Hong Kong/Singapore Management UniversityUniversity of Hong Kong/University of MelbourneAteneo Law School/Singapore Management UniversityUniversity of Queensland/Queensland University of TechnologyQueensland University of Technology/University of Oxford
2011Advance Tertiary College/Singapore Management UniversityVictoria University of Wellington/Hidayatullah National Law UniversitySingapore Management University/Ateneo Law SchoolMurdoch University/University of SouthamptonLondon School of Economics/University of Hong KongMcGill University/
2010National Law University, Delhi/Advance Tertiary CollegeUniversity of Hong Kong/Universiti Utara MalaysiaSingapore Management University/Universitas Pelita HarapanNational University of Singapore/Murdoch UniversityBoston University/Queensland University of TechnologyLeiden University/McGill University
2009Advance Tertiary College/Singapore Management UniversityUniversitas Indonesia/Gujarat National Law UniversityUniversity of the Philippines/Kathmandu School of LawUniversity of Queensland/Universitas IndonesiaQueensland University of Technology/University of EdinburghPeking University/Singapore Management University
2008University of Hong Kong/University of the PhilippinesNational University of Singapore/Multimedia UniversityAteneo Law School/University of Hong KongUniversity of Queensland/University of Notre Dame AustraliaNational University of Singapore/University of British Columbia
2007University of Hong Kong/Taylor's UniversityUniversity of Sydney/University of Hong KongUniversity of the Philippines/Chulalongkorn UniversityUniversitas Indonesia/Victoria UniversityQueensland University of Technology/George Mason University
2006NAUniversity of Queensland/University of Hong KongUniversitas Indonesia/University of MalayaQueensland University of Technology/University of SouthamptonNational University of Singapore/University of Oxford
2005University of Hong Kong/University of Western AustraliaUniversity of the Philippines/University of the PhilippinesNational University of Singapore/Universitas IndonesiaUniversity of Queensland/University of Hong KongUniversity of Birmingham/University of Sheffield
2004National University of Singapore/University of Hong KongNational University of Singapore/Universitas IndonesiaUniversity of Technology Sydney/National University of SingaporeUniversity College Dublin/University of Cambridge
2003University of the PhilippinesUniversity of Queensland/National Law School of India UniversityKing's College London/University of Westminster
2002Ateneo Law SchoolUniversity of Queensland/University of Hong Kong
2001National University of SingaporeNational University of Singapore/University of Technology Sydney
2000University of the PhilippinesNational University of Singapore
1999Ateneo Law School


Most number of international championships in a season

  • 5: Singapore Management University, 2014/15 (Asia Cup, Hague Convention, LawAsia, Vis East, ICC)[45][2][4][46]
  • 5: Singapore Management University, 2016/17 (Fletcher, Frankfurt, LawAsia, Price, Asian LSA)[2][4][46]
  • 4: National University of Singapore, 2000/01 (Asia Cup, Lachs, Maritime, Jessup)
  • 4: National University of Singapore, 2016/17 (Asia Cup, Air Law, Maritime, Private Law)[2]
  • 3: Singapore Management University, 2015/16 (Price, ICC, WTO/FTA)[47][2]
  • 3: Leiden University, 2012/13 (ICC, ELMC, Telders)
  • 3: National University of Singapore, 2014/15 (DM Harish, Jean Pictet, Maritime)

Most number of international championship finals in a season

  • 9: Singapore Management University, 2015/16 (WTO/FTA, Private Law, Maritime, Asia Cup, Vis East, Vis, Price, IHL, ICC)[47][2][4][46]
  • 8: Singapore Management University, 2014/15 (Hague Convention, Asia Cup, LawAsia, Vis East, Vis, Frankfurt, Price, ICC)[45][2][4][46]
  • 6: Singapore Management University, 2016/17 (LawAsia, Fletcher, Frankfurt, Price, ICC, Asian LSA)[2]
  • 6: National University of Singapore, 2016/17 (Asia Cup, Air Law, Maritime, Pan Asian Human Rights, Private Law, HSF Competition Law)[2]

Most number of major or grand slam international championships in a season

  • 2: University of Buenos Aires, 2015/16 (Jessup, Vis)
  • 2: National University of Singapore, 2000/01 (Jessup, Lachs)
  • 2: Singapore Management University, 2014/15 (ICC, Vis East)
  • 2: Singapore Management University, 2015/16 (ICC, Price)
  • 2: Singapore Management University, 2017/18 (Frankfurt, Price)
  • 2: National Law University, Delhi, 2013/14 (ICC, Lachs)

Most number of major or grand slam international championship finals in a season

  • 5: Singapore Management University, 2014/15 (Frankfurt, ICC, Price, Vis East, Vis)[4][46]
  • 4: Singapore Management University, 2015/16 (ICC, Price, Vis East, Vis)
  • 3: Singapore Management University, 2016/17 (Frankfurt, ICC, Price)

Teams that have successfully defended a major or grand slam international championship

  • Singapore Management University, 2014/15 and 2015/16 (ICC)[47][2][46]
  • Singapore Management University, 2015/16 and 2016/17 (Price)[48][2][46]

Mooters with multiple international championships

At least two majors or grand slams

At least one major or grand slam

  • Lucas Bastin, University of Sydney: WTO'2006; IHL'2007; Jessup'2007[51]
  • Mark Lawrence Badayos, University of San Carlos: Stetson'2016; Price'2018
  • Emily Chalk, University of Queensland: Maritime'2013; Jessup'2014
  • Bethel Chan, Singapore Management University: Asia Cup'2014; Vis East'2015 (also Vis'2015 finalist and Essex-SAL'2017 champion)
  • Chang Zi Qian, Singapore Management University: Price'2010; Youth for Peace'2011
  • Foo Shi Hao, Singapore Management University: LawAsia'2013; ICC'2015
  • Eden Li, Singapore Management University: Asia Cup'2014; Vis East'2015 (also Vis'2015 finalist and Essex-SAL'2017 finalist)
  • Odette Murray, University of Sydney: IHL'2007; Jessup'2007
  • Nicolette Oon, Singapore Management University: Asia Cup'2014; Vis East'2015 (also Vis'2015 finalist)
  • Dhruv Sharma, National Law University, Delhi: IHL'2013; ICC'2014
  • Eric Shi, University of Sydney: Maritime'2016; Jessup'2017
  • Grace Sim, Singapore Management University: LawAsia'2014; Vis East'2015 (also Vis'2015 finalist)
  • Kabir Singh, National University of Singapore: Jessup'2001; Asia Cup'2001
  • Jerald Soon, Singapore Management University: Asia Cup'2014; Vis East'2015 (also Vis'2015 finalist)
  • Harry Stratton, University of Sydney: Maritime'2016; Jessup'2017
  • Tan Jun Hong, Singapore Management University: Asian LSA'2014; Asia Cup'2014; Vis East'2015 (also Vis'2015 finalist, Essex-SAL'2017 finalist, and CIArb/New South Wales Young Lawyers Moot'2018 champion)
  • Tess Tan, University of San Carlos: Stetson'2016; Price'2018
  • Nanthini Vijayakumar, Singapore Management University: LawAsia'2013; WTO/FTA'2015 (also Moot Shanghai'2014 finalist)
  • Samuel Yap, Singapore Management University: LawAsia'2013; ICC'2015

Minors or regionals only

  • Jeremiah Lau, National University of Singapore: DM Harish'2015; HSF Competition Law'2015[52]
  • Muz Omar, Singapore Management University: Asian LSA'2014; LawAsia'2014
  • Ong Chee Yeow, National University of Singapore: Asia Cup '2016, IASLA Space '2016[52]
  • Ephraim Tan, National University of Singapore: Asia Cup '2016; IASLA Space '2016[52]

Domestic moot court competitions

List of notable competitions



Law schools structure their moot court programs differently. Some moot court organizations accept a small group of people for membership, and those members each participate in a number of national or regional moot court competitions. Other schools accept a larger number of members, and each member is matched with one competition. A few schools conduct moot court entirely intramurally. Moot court competitions are typically sponsored by organizations with interest in one particular area of law, and the moot court problems address an issue in that field. Competitions are often judged by legal practitioners with expertise in the particular area of law, or sometimes by sitting judges.

The basic structure of a moot court competition roughly parallels what would happen in actual appellate practice. Participants will typically receive a problem ahead of time, which includes the facts of the underlying case, and often an opinion from a lower court that is being challenged in the problem. Students must then research and prepare for that case as if they were lawyers or advocates for one or sometimes both of the parties. Depending on the competition, participants will be required to submit written briefs, participate in oral argument, or both. The case or problem is often one of current interest, sometimes mimicking an actual case, and sometimes fabricated to address difficult legal issues.

A number of moot court competitions focus on specific areas of law. For example, the First Amendment Center annually holds a National First Amendment Moot Court Competition, in which the judges have included numerous United States Circuit Court judges.[53]

The American Collegiate Moot Court Association

In the United States, undergraduates experience moot court in a variety of disciplines and a variety of settings. The most common are in-class exercises that are assigned by professors. Other schools actually form competitive teams. These teams often compete in intramural events, some in statewide competitions, or they can enter tournaments sponsored by the American Moot Court Association (AMCA). While undergraduate moot court is still a relatively new forensics activity when compared with debate and intercollegiate mock trial, by 2010, there were 248 teams who competed at the regional tournaments. In 2019 there were more than 500 teams competing in 13 different regional tournaments to gain bids to the AMCA National Competition, which has 80 teams competing every year. Teams are awarded bids either through the regional tournaments themselves, or through "open, at large bids," which are usually awarded to 7-8 each year. If a regional tournament is awarded 5 bids, then the top 5 teams with the highest ballot counts at that regional are awarded bids. The only teams guaranteed bids are teams that make it to the finals of their regional. Schools can earn more than eight bids to Nationals, but can only field eight. The qualifying tournaments are held during the fall semester, most are in November, and the championship tournament is in mid-January.

All ACMA tournaments, including invitationals, regionals, and nationals, have three preliminary rounds in the first day of competition where all the teams that enter compete. In the second day, teams that "break" move on to a series of single elimination rounds. The number of teams that break varies depending on the invitational, but in regionals they are required to break to 16 teams and at nationals all teams that earn 3 ballots or more are required to break, which usually is around 40-45 teams.

Undergraduate moot court cases pose two certified questions. The case (known as the “record”) includes an appellate majority opinion and a dissent. Undergraduate Moot Court exists within a "closed universe," meaning that students can only reference statements from the listed cased directly or from in-case citations from those specific cases. Students cannot use anything from an in-case citation that is not from the opinion listed in the record. Typically, the record includes twenty opinions that students can rely upon for their arguments. All teams competing in AMCA-sponsored events will argue the same case. ACMA students have engaged in oral argument on issues such as same-sex marriage, national health care, privacy under the 4th Amendment, life terms for minors who are not guilty of murder or attempted murder, freedom of religion, a federal ban on firearms on school grounds, warrantless domestic wiretapping of suspected terrorists. More recently they have argued the constitutionality of: solitary confinement (8th amendment), memory-testing brain scans (5th amendment), male-preference university admissions, and university employment termination (1st amendment). Cases are written by AMCA and the case problem is released on their website.

Undergraduate moot court teams consist of two oral advocates. The advocates are responsible for knowing both issues – but typically are only asked about one certified question. Each team will receive 20 minutes to argue its case, and each advocate must speak for a minimum of seven minutes. Teams are judged on their forensics, knowledge of the law, demeanor, and ability to answer questions from the bench.

Good judges are the key to a good moot court hearing. Judges are typically lawyers or members of the state or federal bench. At times, law students (especially those with past undergraduate moot court experience) are asked to judge. Past judges at AMCA events have included former US Attorney General John Ashcroft and federal judges Otis Wright and George Schiavelli.

The ACMA also sponsors a brief writing contest. Students are not required to prepare briefs in order to compete for the oral advocacy national title. Teams who enter follow a specific set of rules and compete for prizes. The competition is judged by lawyers and law professors. This competition is named for the late Sandra Knerr, who along with her husband, was a dedicated supporter of intercollegiate moot court.

United Kingdom

The courts systems differ in various parts of the United Kingdom. Thus, the style of a moot will often vary depending in which jurisdiction it is to be heard, although some national competitions do exist. The principal differences are between the laws in Scotland and those in England and Wales.

England and Wales

In England and Wales the moot will typically simulate proceedings in either the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court. Moot questions generally involve two questions of law that are under dispute and come with a set of facts about the case that have been decided at the first instance trial.[54] Generally the question will surround a subject that is unclear under the present state of the law and for which no direct precedent exists. Mooting is a team effort, consisting of senior or lead counsel and junior counsel. It is normal practice for the senior counsel to take on the first point and the junior the second; although this may vary depending upon the exact nature, and necessary length, of the arguments.[55] Typically the question will focus on one area of law, e.g. tort, contract, criminal law or property law.

The question will be provided to the teams a few weeks in advance of the moot along with details as to which of the appellant or respondent they are to represent. It is then up to each team to prepare their case as though they were barristers. Authority for each argument is necessary and will usually take the form of precedent from case law but may also involve legislation. Reliance may also be placed on governmental papers, research from NGOs and academic journals and texts.

A few days before the moot takes place each team will prepare and exchange their skeleton arguments or brief. Copies will also be provided to the judge along with the moot problem. The judge is normally an academic or practising solicitor or barrister. The moot itself takes the form of an oral argument. The competition may also allow the appellants an additional few minutes in order to reply to the respondents arguments.[56] After the presentation of arguments has concluded, the judge will retire to deliberate on both the law and the overall winning of the moot. A moot is not won and lost on the legal argument, but on the advocacy skills of the participants. It is often the case that the team that has the weaker legal argument is in a better position as they have to argue that much more persuasively.


In Scotland a moot can be set in a variety of fora; in civil law problems it is set most commonly in either the Inner House of the Court of Session or in the House of Lords, although it is not uncommon for a moot to be heard in the Sheriff Court before the Sheriff or Sheriff Principal. Occasionally, an Employment Appeal Tribunal may also be used as a forum for a Scottish civil law moot. If the moot problem concerns Criminal Law, the moot will most likely be heard as though in the Appellate division of the High Court of Justiciary (commonly known as the Court of Criminal Appeal).

The moot points and style of the problem are similar to that of England and Wales stated above; however, the format of the moot is significantly different. Junior counsel is more likely to take the first moot point and senior counsel the second (this can however be reversed depending on the problem). The format of the moot is far more adversarial than that of English and Welsh moots. This is primarily due to a more adversarial legal system. This manifests itself in different ways, most notably with the appellants and respondents facing each other during a moot, rather than, as in England and Wales, facing the judge.

There is only one national Scottish competition, the Alexander Stone National Legal Debate, administered by the Law School at the University of Glasgow. All Scottish universities that offer the LL.B. are eligible to take part, although in recent years the competition has been fought out mainly between Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde universities. The final is held in the Alexander Stone Court Room at the University of Glasgow in February or March each year. There are also several annual inter-varsity competitions between law schools, including the Glasgow Sheriff's Cup (the University of Glasgow v the University of Strathclyde) and the Granite City Moot (the University of Aberdeen v Robert Gordon University). These competitions are ordinarily judged by a Senator of the College of Justice.

Law schools also take part in UK-wide competitions, such as the Oxford University Press and the English Speaking Union Moot. These moots are UK-wide in participation, but typically follow the style and law of moots in England and Wales. The University of Glasgow reached the semi-final of the English Speaking Union moot in 2008 and the final in 2005. The University of Dundee reached the semi finals of The Oxford University Press moots in 2009.

Judges in Scottish moots are typically legal academics, solicitors, sheriffs, advocates or Senators of the College of Justice.

For Primary and Secondary Schools, the national Scottish Competitions are handled by the School Mock Court Case Project SCIO.[57] During the 2018/2019 academic year the charity ran some 17 projects in Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Falkirk, Hamilton and Ayr involving circa 100 school and some 3,000 students. These trials are also heard in the Court of Session, High Court and the Sheriff Court


Surana and Surana International Attorneys have been conducting various moot competitions from mid 1990s including Surana & Surana International Technology Law Moot Court Competition, Surana & Surana National Corporate Law Moot Court Competition, and Surana & Surana National Trial Advocacy Moot Court Competition.

See also


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