Frequently Asked Questions
What is the format of competitions?
Undergraduate mooting consists of teams of two, who each argue for one side of an appeals-level case (not a mock trial). Generally, Mooting consists of two-day competitions; on the first day, all teams will go through 4 non-elimination rounds, arguing for each side twice. On the second day, the Top 8 teams on the basis of scoring from the first day compete in elimination rounds to determine a final champion.
There is only ever one case being mooted, and you are expected to prepare submissions for both sides because you will have to represent both sides over the course of the entire day.
When and where are the competitions held?
There are four main undergraduate competitions through the year. They all typically take place on the weekend, and last for two days: Capital Cup @ Carleton University in November, McGill Classic @ McGill University in January, UofT Cup @ University of Toronto in February, and Osgoode Cup @ York University in March.
How does each round work?
Each participant is usually given 10 minutes of time, and you are expected to fill up this time. The two appellants will speak first, one after another, followed by the two respondents. Often, the appellants will be given a 2 minute right of reply following the respondents submissions. If you need more time, you may request an extra minute or two and it may be granted at the judges' discretion.
Submissions are not speeches, they are conversations meant to try and convince a judge to your viewpoint. Judges will frequently interject with their questions, and your responses should help advance your main point - or else you may find yourself debating something completely off-topic with the judge. You should respond to the opposing side's concerns and points, rather than trying to advance your point of view.
There is really no substitute for competitions - the only way to become skilled at Moot Court is to participate in Moot Court. That being said, many competitors will have developed their public speaking skills through attending conferences, debates, Model UN, etc. None of these are necessary prerequisites by any means however.
There is very poor correlation between your area of study or year of study and moot performance - we invite all students to participate in Moot Court. The only well-correlated factors in determining performance are mooting experience and time spent on practicing.
What kind of students do best in moot court?
How can I prepare for the competitions?
Mooting is a time commitment and it is unlikely you will do well if you are preparing last-minute. The best teams know the case inside-out, and have internalized the information so they can respond to hypothetical questions even if the answers are not within the case information. You should take care to make sure both you and your partner are prepared to put in this time commitment.
We offer practices to help familiarize competitors with the case, give tips regarding mooting format and style, and connect mooting teams so they have a forum for discussion and practice. We generally try to avoid directly answering questions however - we feel this does not produce the best results for teams.
How much does it cost to compete?
Competition fees vary, but each competition costs around $120-180 per team, and usually includes all meals during the two days of competition. In addition, for the Capital (Ottawa) and McGill (Montreal) tournaments, there are travel and accommodations costs involved.
If you feel this would be a burden, please note that many colleges and UofT grants which can assist with extracurricular competitions and conferences. Trinity and Woodsworth College have existing experiential learning bursaries, which help reimburse these costs for low-income students, and other colleges (though we cannot confirm this) may have them as well.
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