Author: Melissa McNeill
In order to pass Obligations 1B, all students are required to participate in a moot. This is a graded element of the course and requires preparation, involvement, knowledge of the relevant law and appropriate vocabulary in the mock courtroom. This experience may appear daunting at first as many students will not be aware of what a ‘moot’ even involves. In the most basic sense, it involves two pairs receiving a legal problem in advance and each preparing an opposing side to the issue at hand.
The Mooting Committee offer the opportunity to practise this experience beforehand in a friendly, approachable and student-lead environment. This allows for students to experience the courtroom, get a feel for the type of legal problem you will receive and also have the chance to ask students from later years about any advice or tips they would have. The process is very valuable yet very informal, as all committee members understand the process can be a little overwhelming.
Although I greatly enjoyed my Obs1B moot, looking back I do wish I had a previous experience on the question element of the moot as it can sometimes be a little overwhelming to be asked a question on the spot with no time to prepare. This is an element of the practise moots that have been highlighted by students as a great advantage in the graded moot as you attain a better grasp of legal jargon and more experience thinking under pressure if you have taken part in the practise mooting.
Many students will have some form experience in this department, whether it be mooting or debate. However, the majority of students (including myself at this stage), had never experienced a moot before. Therefore, getting involved in practise mooting really does allow you to further your skills before your graded moot and also help to build your confidence within yourself. At this stage of the degree there may still be an element of doubt in your head regarding your capability and confidence. However, from experience, this will leave after your moot as you will release you are much more capable than you ever imagined. So why not add to that feeling and do it more than once!
Other Mooting Opportunities
After completing the Obs1B moot, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in mooting at the university. There are many internal and external competitions, including the Deans Cup. Also, you can apply to be a committee member to help coordinate and organise events. Involving yourself in any aspect of mooting is greatly beneficial in many aspects. On a personal level, you can further your confidence, further your knowledge on the law and make new friends. Also, many of the mooting opportunities offer you the chance to travel to new and interesting places and meet other students from different cultures which can be an exciting and rewarding experience.
As a committee member, you are able to see first-hand the benefits of mooting to students, whilst also furthering your own skills. A role on the committee can help to further your organisation skills, help to further your interpersonal skills and enhance your communication skills. It is a role I would encourage anyone (with or without mooting experience) to apply for.
Continually, it is a great way to further your CV and applications for placements and traineeships. You are able to gain skills by mooting that are very attractive to potential employers. By doing so you are showing you are capable of balancing your studies alongside an extra-curricular activity. For personal experience, it can feel rewarding to be part of something that is not solely academic and exam based.
If you plan to use your LLB to enter legal practice you will also be a step ahead of the game. You will have experience in a court room, albeit a mock court room, and also be more comfortable using legal jargon. Furthermore, it can be very competitive when applying for placements and traineeships and therefore, to have something extra to discuss at interviews that sets you apart could be useful.
Overall, I would encourage all students to get involved in mooting in whatever way you can. Whether it be practice mooting to begin your journey, getting involved in competitions to build upon your skills or applying for a role as a committee member. All routes are greatly beneficial, both on a personal level and also academically/professionally.