Moot Court

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A moot court is an extracurricular activity in which participants take part in simulated court proceedings, usually to include drafting briefs and participating in oral argument. The term derives from Anglo Saxon times, when a moot was a gathering of prominent men in a locality to discuss matters of local importance. The modern activity differs from a “Moot Trial”, as moot court usually refers to a simulated appellate court or arbitral case, while a “Moot Trial” usually refers to a simulated jury trial or bench trial. Moot court does not involve actual testimony by witnesses or the presentation of evidence, but is focused solely on the application of the law to a common set of evidentiary assumptions to which the competitors must be introduced.

Students participate at least once in a moot court argument before receiving their law degree. VCL offer a series of moot court opportunities for students of differing skill levels and legal interests. The activity is competitive by nature, and students vie for honors within their institutions and in regional and national Moot Court competitions featuring teams of students from several law colleges.

Moot court helps students learn to analyze legal issues. Its larger purpose is to teach students the practical side of practicing law. Typically, law students are given a detailed hypothetical fact scenario that raises one or more legal issues. Often these fact patterns are based on real cases on appeal to a state’s highest court or the Supreme Court. Students choose or are assigned the position on the issue to be argued. They then conduct legal research, finding statutes, regulations, and case law that both support their position and detract from it. An important part of the Moot Court process is to teach students to overcome legal authority (statutes, regulations, and cases) that cuts against their position.