The problem requires the participating teams to argue persuasively before a Judge for either the Prosecution or the Defendant.
Each team will have two members who will present oral arguments. One person will act as senior counsel and the other as junior counsel. Senior counsel speaks first. The other members of the team will act as instructing solicitors and will not address the court.
You must always stand when you address the court. At no time should there be more than one person standing.
If you are asked a question and you wish to confer with your junior/senior counsel, address the Judge e.g., ‘Your Honour, may I please consult my junior/senior counsel regarding this matter?’
Make sure you are well prepared. Make every effort to speak directly to the Judge, and avoid having to read your submissions. Have your references (legislation or case law) readily available.
Seating: The Prosecution sits on the left side of the room when facing the Judge.
In the moot, counsel for the Prosecution speaks first, and counsel for the Defendant has the last word. Both parties present their arguments. There is no right of reply – each mooter speaks only once, in turn. Please note that each party is allocated 20 minutes to present their arguments, so that each speaker’s submissions last approximately 10 minutes.
You will be expected to give the full and correct citations for every case, but you may ask for the Court to allow you to dispense with full citations after the first case is referred to.
The moot starts with the Judge “calling for appearances.”
- Senior counsel for the Prosecution stands and introduces herself or himself and their junior: “If it pleases the court, my name is Joe Bloggs, and appearing with me is Nigel Nothing. We appear for the Prosecution.”
- Senior counsel for the Defendant then stands and goes through the same process, stating that they “appear for the Defendant.”
- At this point the Judge will normally indicate by nodding to the counsel for the Prosecution for him/her to begin his/her arguments. If the judge is still writing, wait for that indication, which may also come by the Judge saying – Please begin your arguments.
- Senior counsel for the Prosecution then stands and begins the argument for the Prosecution.
- Senior counsel should ask if the court requires a summary of the facts. This requires that one be able to state concisely the material facts of the case. The judges may not require a summary, in which case one should proceed with the arguments.
- S/he must then give an introduction to the structure of the Prosecution’s arguments, the main issues that will be discussed and by whom.
- Senior counsel then presents part of that argument, and sits down.
- Junior counsel for the Prosecution then stands and presents the remainder of the Prosecution’s argument and concludes by summarising the submissions for the Prosecution. Counsel then sits down.
- Some of the ways that you can conclude your argument to the court are: "If it pleases the court, that concludes the submissions for the Prosecution" OR "Those are the submissions for the Prosecution."
- Senior counsel for the Defendant stands, and outlines the internal structure of the arguments for the Defence, by referring to the issues in the case, and the order in which those issues will be addressed, and by whom.
- Senior counsel then presents part of those arguments.
- Junior counsel for the Defendant stands, and outlines the Defendant’s arguments and concludes by summarising the submissions made on behalf of the Defendant.
- The Judge will conclude the proceedings.
Addressing the Judge and others
You are expected to act formally. For instance:
- Refer to the judge as “Your Honour.”
- You make submissions to the court. You don’t tell the court what you think. The court needs your assistance in determining the relevant principles, but not your personal views or opinions. For example say “I/we submit”, and “it is submitted on behalf of the defendant”, NOT “I think”, or “it seems to me” etc.
- Refer to your partner as “my learned junior/senior”.
- Refer to your opponents as “my learned friend” or “counsel for the Prosecution/Defendant”. Always treat your opponents with utmost respect and courtesy.
- Never interrupt the judge. However, the judge may interrupt you. Do not be offended if this occurs. The judge will be trying to direct you to a point that is relevant to the case.