A moot court refers to a fake court. It refers to an extracurricular activity utilized by many law schools that aims to practice their students in oral argumentation, analysis of legal issues, as well as to familiarize them with the court proceedings. It is in a moot court that law students training for careers in practicing law, argue hypothetical cases or cases that have already been given a verdict by a real court of law. For most instances, it adopts the appellate court procedure.
The responsibility of choosing cases that address relevant legal or political issues falls on the shoulders of the law professors. The students are then either able to choose or are assigned which position to take. Next comes the task of conducting a legal research in order to prepare solid arguments to support the stance chosen. Students must be prepared to surmount legal authority stemming from statutes, regulations, and case law that oppose their positions.
After which, the legal analysis, the argument, and the facts of the case are compiled in legal papers called appellate briefs, citations of the legal authority included. Students are then to present their positions in a mock court before a simulated panel of judges within a given amount of time. The panel is usually composed of law professors, students, or actual judges, and can interrupt the presentation at any given time to inquire certain aspects of the case or the student’s performance. After the presentation, the panel reviews the student’s performance to provide constructive criticism.
Many schools consider a moot court as an integral component of the law school experience. In fact, several regional and national moot court competitions are held for law students to participate in, thus bringing prestige for those who excel in this activity.