Mooting Style

Mooting is something that is done in Law Schools as both an intercollegiate and varsity competition between Law Schools. It is taken very seriously by those in Law School and generally every law student in Canada must do a moot at some point in their legal education. At Osgoode, first year students participate in a moot as part of their legal process class and required moots are a staple of the law school curriculum across Canada. The Osgoode Cup is the opportunity for non-law students to try out this interesting style of public speaking.

Mooting is best described as a synthesis of public speaking, debate, and thesis defence. Teams of two present an argument that they have created in advance before a panel of judges and respond to questions from the bench with regard to their arguments. Presentations are going to be 7 minutes for the preliminary round and 10 minutes for the elimination rounds.

There are two sides in a moot, the appellant and respondent party, and generally three judges. Both mooters from the Appellant side speak first followed by both mooters from the Respondent side. Opposing teams are not allowed to ask questions of any kind to the other team or in any way interrupt or disrupt their speeches, or address them directly during the moot. However the judges are allowed to interrupt and ask questions of the mooters while they are speaking. Mooters are not able to refuse the questions from the judges in lieu of their own arguments. The ability to answer questions well is what makes an excellent mooter.

In addition all participants are expected to conduct themselves as if they are in a court of appeal. Therefore language ought to be formal and appropriate, clothing should be formal, references to other members must be appropriate (‘co-counsel’ for your partner, ‘friend’ foryour opponents, ‘your honour’ for the judges), and there is no banging on desks or audible comments during the proceedings.You are giving a complex legal arguments and judges will often write down your points to consider later, like in a real courtroom.

Each team moots for both sides twice during the tournament and therefore teams are expected to be able to argue on both sides of the issue and not just the one that they personally support. No experience or legal skills/knowledge is required for the moot and is best described as ‘an exercise in oral advocacy skills’.Furthermore we are committed to giving every opportunity to teaching persons competing to understand and learn mooting style. To this effect we will be circulating materials on mooting, providing numerous mooting videos online, and providing mooting coaches for all teams that would like them as feasible.

More specific information about mooting can be found at the style guide which will follow later to those who have registered. To see a sample of elimination round moots from the 7th Osgoode cup please go here. Note that you will see a lot of different styles and people should utilize their own style and not try to copy other people.