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18 law schools agree to follow moot in same way at the Moot Conveners Conference at NLIU

Delegates raise their placards awaiting their turn to speak
Delegates raise their placards awaiting their turn to speak
Almost 18 mooting colleges agreed to judge moots on a common scale, make quarter- and octa-finals compulsory for larger moots, team power matching, although law schools could did not agree to make moots majority ruled by judges of at least High Court level.

NLIU Bhopal organised the first All India Moot Conveners Conference last weekend, which saw debate, discussion and resolution on various moot related issues by participating moot organisers.

A total of 18 law schools from across the country participated in the conference which was hosted by NLIU Bhopal and sponsored by Surana & Surana International Attorneys. The conference was the brainchild of NLIU Bhopal student Bishen Jeswant.

The participants discussed a plethora of issues plaguing Indian mooting, right from the format of conducting the preliminary rounds to the necessity of having at least one past mooter on the bench in each round of the moot.

A total of 36 resolutions were proposed during the conference out of which 32 resolutions were passed. These 32 resolutions now form the Guidelines for Uniform Moot Practices in India (GUMP).

[Click here to download GUMP, which contains the detailed proposals]

“There was no incentive in terms of awards and still around 20 institutions turned up, which was great to see,” commented Bhavesh, who is a member of the moot court society at Christ University Bangalore. “The endeavour to achieve a near perfect moot format is a good thing and we should continue to try and achieve it.

“There has been an increase in the number of moots and the increase has not been in a systematic way. This is a united step for laying a common standard which is better for mooting fraternity and legal students.”

Arjun Pall, a 5th year from NLU-Jodhpur makes a point during the Conference
Arjun Pall, a 5th year from NLU-Jodhpur makes a point during the Conference
Moot formats, Scoring and Judges

The participants agreed to improve upon the existing moot formats (two wins or cumulative scores). Under the ‘two wins’ format, it was agreed that there should be a method of seeding to ensure that the best teams in the moot do not face each other during the prelims. It was agreed that the teams participating in a particular moot should be seeded based on their memorandum scores.

To prevent disparate scoring by various judges on the bench, the participants came up with a fixed range of scoring: 60 – 70 for poor, 70 – 80 for average, 80 – 90 for good and 90 – 100 for very good. This is similar to an adjudicator’s range of scoring in a standard parliamentary debate (69 to 81). It was also resolved that the memorandums should be evaluated by the same set of individuals.

However, not all moot organisers agreed to follow the resolved method of scoring. “GLC Mumbai which organises the DM Harish & Nani Palkhivala moots abstained from voting on certain resolutions as they did not want to change their current scoring patterns”, said Jeswant. “However, as far as practicable, such a scoring system will eliminate dissimilar scoring patterns by judges and reduce arbitrariness.”

It was also resolved that all moots having more than 16 and 32 participating teams should mandatorily have a quarterfinal and octafinal round respectively. During the knockout rounds of every moot, it was agreed that a method of power matching would be followed to decide the opposition. The participants also came up with a model draw of lots that ensures that teams do not face each other in both the prelim rounds. Moot organisers also concurred that teams should not be judged by the same bench in the preliminary rounds and that they should have equal preparation time between their rounds.

Jeswant: Good turnout
Jeswant: Good turnout

One of the resolutions which failed during the conference was the requirement that High Court and Supreme Court judges should not constitute a majority in any moot court bench.

Mooting database and other best practices

The participants decided to set up an online database of award winning moot memorandums, judges, academic calendars of institutions, etc. The portal is to be moderated and managed equally by the participants. Campus Law Centre, New Delhi has come forward to set up the portal by June 2012.

An animated Mr Ravichandran from Surana and Surana - he has conducted more than 100 moots over 10 years.
An animated Mr Ravichandran from Surana and Surana - he has conducted more than 100 moots over 10 years.
Organisers also agreed that no moot court bench should judge a moot without being briefed about the moot problem by the organisers. They also decided that the bench memorandum should be circulated to the participants after the conclusion of the moot. On analysing the academic calendars of various law schools, it was decided that the most preferred periods to conduct moots are the windows from January to March and from July to September.

The colleges also resolved that in the interest of participants from less privileged backgrounds, use of butter paper, book binding, bond paper, transparency sheets and so on in the making of memorials should be banned. Standard A4 size paper should be used and bound by simply stitching, stapling or using basic spiral binding.

Jeswant said that 80 per cent of the participants at the conference were students and the rest were law faculty and other moot organisers.

“This conference is a good start to improve the standards of Indian mooting”, he said. “The participants in the conference decided that such a conference should be made an annual event where moot organisers can re-evaluate, discuss and resolve moot related issues every year.”

RMLNLU Lucknow won the bid to organise the conference next year, ahead of Campus Law Centre, New Delhi and Nirma University, Ahmedabad.

Participating colleges were:

  • NLIU Bhopal
  • NLU Jodhpur
  • RMLNLU Luckow
  • Nuals Kochi
  • NLU Orissa
  • Symbiosis, Pune
  • GLC Bombay
  • Christ University Bangalore
  • Campus Law Center Delhi
  • Jindal Global Law School (JGLS) Sonipat
  • Nirma University
  • Symbiosis, Noida
  • Law Center-1, Delhi
  • School of Law, CUSAT, Kochi
  • Akola Law College, Akola
  • RDVV, Jabalpur
  • MATS, Raipur
  • New Law Academy, University of Pune

Legally India was online media partner to the event.

[Click here to download the Guidelines for Uniform Moot Practices in India (GUMP)]

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