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Learning the Law Moot Court Way!
Prof. Aman Mishra*
I am a quasi-crimson dissenter and impuissant protestor of the age old and traditional methods of learning or acquiring legal knowledge. Like, an artist cannot make a picture without making a rough sketch of his actual masterpiece, a Doctor cannot operate directly on any human body without special Medical training, a pilot cannot actually fly a plane without his special skills he acquires at the training, Similarly a lawyer cannot actually fight for justice unless equipped with special training provided to him by his/her mentors.
Moot Court is a brilliant way to sharpen the litigation skills among the law students. Moot Court is a scientific method in which an imaginary or hypothetical case is given to the law students for their further research and exploration of the laws and legislations in question. The prime motive behind this exercise is to demonstrate the practical approach to the subject of law and also to nourish various hidden skills of the law students.
Etymologically the word ‘moot’ is derived from the ancient word ‘mot’ used by the Anglo-Saxons. The meaning of the word used then was completely different from its existing usage. It initially used to connote a meet or a town meeting. During these meetings, it was common for the wise people who remain present in these meetings to debate on various aspects and the crucial issues. They also used to advance their arguments in peaceful manner however the approach was very much dynamic.
Such meetings were regarded as a forum or platform to solve many political and other issues and soon gained momentum therein leaving much room for the word ‘moot’ to flourish and making it a major point to prove, negate or to debate on any issues. Thus, in the present context, to moot means to debate or postulate. So a moot point is a point which is up for a debate.
The fabric of legal education was untouchable of the notion ‘mooting’ in previous period. However, due to the advent of many discoveries, explorations, investigations, research and global aptitude, legal education received an impetus as well and academicians, jurist, justices and other stakeholders began their quest for reform in the legal education and legal profession. Jurists and academicians started scrutinizing and applying the scope and operation of the study of law to the practical aspects of learning. Out of these arduous deliberations, a new form of learning the law emerged which we now know by the name of Moot Courts.
Moot Court is a simulation of a real court room in which the students are provided with an imaginary case in which they need to represent either party, appear on their behalf, state brief facts relating to the case, find the legal mooting points, frame issues, provide justification of issues, defend their stands on various queries, frame a prayer clause and seek order from the Court as if it is a real Court of Law. Based on this model, a never-before and ground breaking changes were brought in Indian Legal education system. These moot courts are now being organized in the form of competitions. Moot Court Competitions are being organized at various levels i.e. State, national and international depending upon the resources and other constraints on the institution.
Now the credentials of the students’ and the institution that imparts legal education are measured by the laurels brought by the students at various moot court competitions. Thus, in order to excel in the academic sphere, a law student needs to master the art by virtue of which he/she can develop the art of advocacy. Mooting is an infant form of advocacy. It is an antecedent to advocacy. It is an efficacy of an advocacy. Without learning the art of mooting, a student cannot add feathers to his legal career and also cannot proceed towards the steps of success for sure.
Mooting is the beginning point of a lawyer’s career. It is the means to achieve the ends of quality and complete justice. Mooting is the way in which debating and argumentative genius of a law student is harvested so that the student can reap the sweet fruits while practicing at the Bar.
Mooting is an art, a scientific process in which a law student has to employ his mental and physical faculties to prove this point of law. Mooting is a phenomenon and a process of effective learning in which a law student’s writing, drafting, organizing, oral, argumentative, debating and other skills are challenged and honed.
Today we live in a global village wherein the Media plays a vital role. The world has not only connected but has gone hyper connected due to the emergence of the fifth State called Social media. Earlier, Intelligent Quotient (IQ) is the term which was used to scale to the brilliance and success of students. In today’s global age, mere possession of IQ is not enough because by mere finger’s touch of the mankind, the entire world remains at his disposal. In this context, if a law student wishes to excel in his legal education then he must be the master of some special qualities and skills more particularly Mooting, Passion and Curiosity. These terms are popular these days and are also known by the name of Mooting Quotient (MQ), Passion Quotient (PQ) and Curiosity Quotient (CQ). Thus, a law student must not only posses IQ but MQ, PQ and CQ as well if at all he wishes to achieve success in the world of law.
The art of mooting surely helps the law students in overcoming many obstacles and will also make easy their quest for knowledge and search for professional future positions in prestigious corporate houses and international law firms. Justice is eagerly waiting for the lawyers those will master this art of mooting, those will be sensitized to the rights of the vulnerable sections, those will rationalize the meaning of justice, those will be messengers of truth, those will be vigilant and alert to the injustice and those who will believe, in the principle “injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere”.
Thus, many a times, the role of a lawyer is compared to the role that is played by an Alchemist. An Alchemist with the help of certain base metals transforms the same into gold thereby making it a miracle. In much similar way, a lawyer with the help of certain facts and issues transforms the same into JUSTICE thereby promoting greatest happiness of the greatest number of people which was the grand and long cherished dream of the great Jurist Jeremy Bentham.