Try not to say ‘I think’ – the court isn’t interested in your personal opinion, only in the case you are putting forward – so state your case like this ‘in my submission...’ or ‘I respectfully submit…’
If you absolutely have to correct/disagree with the judge, start your reply with ‘With respect…’ But never interrupt!!!
Good advocacy involves being able to think on your feet and delivering your arguments persuasively and with conviction. Do not read religiously from your notes as if your life depended on it. If you read from a script, this will almost certainly detract from the quality of your arguments. You will not engage the judge and your arguments will lack believability. Anyone, who is literate, can read from or memorise a speech. But there is much more to being an advocate than this.
The novice mooter will probably benefit from fairly full notes, as the nerves and novelty of the situation may have a deleterious effect on improvisation. Moot judges have been known to ask counsel to hand their notes up to the bench and continue without them (yikes!). This is not to say that you should not use any notes but rather that you should be familiar with your arguments to ensure that you can be flexible with your arguments both in terms of the order in which you deliver them and the level of detail that you use to explain them. Your notes should contain your arguments summarised into point form: the skill is to elaborate verbally on these basic prompts.
It is very important that you have enough flexibility to be able to chop and change the order as you go along, to handle the judge’s capricious interventions. Barristers in practice, rarely speak from more than the skeleton argument that they have exchanged with the other side. Remember that a good submission is meant not to be an after-dinner speech. It is more akin to a two-way conversation between advocate and judge.
It’s a good idea to have written out an opening phrase, a few key points and a great closing line, so that you give the impression of being in control.
All our mooting clips were made with the help of our fantastic students - giving freely of their time to help others.
For the roundtable discussion clips we thank our GDL students of 2009-2010: Andrew Barns-Graham, Thomas Bradfield, Tessa Buchanan, Anita Davies and Thomas Hope. Big thanks go to our top man behind the camera Steve Parkes.
The spoof clips were made with Mike Purdue (judge), Mike Clarke and Rob Tiffen many years ago.
The real action was filmed as part of our Crown Office Moot 2010-2011.
Big thanks to all those who took part: Sara Beech, George Fitzgerald, Gareth Thomas, Edward Waldegrave, Alistair Godwin, Rebecca Taverner, Daphne Stamatopoulos, Jada Badu-Animboah, James Bull, Samuel Phillips and Beatrice Riley.
Huge thanks are also due to those from Crown Office Chambers who not only gave up their time to judge the different stages of the moot but also allowed us to use the footage. We are grateful to:
A final thanks to The Hon Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart, who judged the final of the Crown Office Moot and Steven McCombe for his filming expertise and tireless editing.