Definition of moot court
moot court (plural moot courts)
- (law) In law school, an activity wherein students compete by making arguments with respect to a hypothetical case, or a case that has already been decided by an actual court.
- (law) A law school organization which organizes such competitions and prepares competitors.
A moot court is an extracurricular activity at many law schools in which participants take part in simulated court proceedings, usually to include drafting briefs (or memorials) and participating in oral argument. The term derives from Anglo Saxon times, when a moot (gmot or emot) was a gathering of prominent men in a locality to discuss matters of local importance. The modern activity differs from a "mock trial", as moot court usually refers to a simulated appellate court or arbitral case, while a "mock trial" usually refers to a simulated jury trial or bench trial. Moot court does not involve actual testimony by witnesses or the presentation of evidence, but is focused solely on the application of the law to a common set of evidentiary assumptions to which the competitors must be introduced. In the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries, the phrase "a moot court" may be shortened to simply "a moot" and the activity may be called "mooting".
Moot court is one of the key extracurricular activities in law school. Students typically spend a semester researching and writing the memorials, as well as practising their oral arguments. Whereas domestic moot court competitions tend to focus on municipal law, regional and international moot competitions tend to focus on subjects such as public international law, international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international commercial arbitration.
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