Dealing With Judges And Your Opponents

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Judges need facts...or do they?

It is important to recount the brief facts of the cases on which you are relying, not least because by doing so the facts make it into the court transcript, but don’t over do it especially if they are very well known cases.

Be wary of going off on a rambling rundown of the facts of the case – this will not demonstrate your hot legal skills to the judge. You have limited time in a moot so use it wisely.

Have a look at some summaries produced by Lord Denning in his judgments for help with this – see British Crane Hire v Ipswich Plant Hire [1975] QB 303

Don't be phased by judicial interventions

The most important skill in advocacy is the ability to defend your arguments against judicial challenge so expect to be challenged. The judge will not just sit there throughout your submission smiling and nodding in agreement with everything you say. Judicial interventions test the limits of your argument and your ability to think on your feet. Judicial interventions can come in all different shapes and sizes throughout your submissions. They can be very long or very short.

The important thing to remember is that whilst it can be daunting to be asked these questions, if you have thoroughly prepared, this is your opportunity to shine. Remember, you are not being personally attacked. But what if you have been thrown a complete googly of a question? You can always tell the judge that you need to think about it for a moment and that you will come back to it at the end of your submissions – but do come back to it.

Being able to think on your feet is what the judge is looking for. Don’t be afraid to take your time in formulating your response (just don’t take a few minutes!). The quality of your response is what is important and you are more likely to win over the judge with a confident and considered response rather than a response in which you ramble and have not thought about.

Check out the Judges - Scary or Softies? slideshow for extra footage.

What to expect from judges

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:

Elizabeth Boon David Myhill Siobhan Lambertsen

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.