This article on ‘How to draft a good moot court memorial‘ was written by an intern at Legal Upanishad.
The very first introduction to what a court looks like is experienced by law students in the college through moot courts. One gets to experience how one needs to present themselves address the bench and interact with their adversaries.
One gets exposure to things like framing an argument, making submissions in court, and much more.
Moot court is the mock version of what a real-life courtroom looks like. One learns how to draft various petitions, arguments, memos, court memorials, etc.
One of the keys of the moot court is where students learn skills such as writing, researching, argumentative skills, critical, analytical skills
What is a moot court?
Set in a very similar setting, a moot court is a mock version of what a real court looks like. The moot court offers the students a platform to test their legal knowledge and skills in front of a panel acting as the bench.
Unlike actual court proceedings, the moot court does have witnesses or submissions of evidence.
It is based on a hypothetical scenario to test the knowledge of the students in terms of the application of law to real-life scenarios.
What is a moot court memorial?
Court memorials can be defined as legal documents which are prepared by teams competing in the moot court competition. It is a written submission that the teams prepare to contain details such as the cases and books referred to, statements of jurisdictions, arguments of the parts, facts of the case, and the prayer.
The cases assigned in moot court are usually matters which are either imaginary cases or those cases which are already adjudicated.
Contents of the Moot Court Memorial
A moot court memorial will contain the following. The arrangement is to be as follows-
The rules may vary as per the organizing committee as per the format and the information to be mentioned. In general, the following things should be mentioned:
- The introductory page of the memorial contains the name of the court in front of whom the matter is presented.
- The title of the competition (national/regional)
- The name of the case.
- On behalf of whom the memorial presented is also to be mentioned such as whether it’s the petitioner or the respondent.
- The cover page is presented in two different colours which allow for identifying who is the plaintiff/petitioner from the defendant/respondent. The blue colour is used by the plaintiff/petitioner and red for the defendant/respondent.
Since it is a competition, you will be assigned a team code which is to be mentioned in the top right corner of the cover page.
List of abbreviations
This contains all the abbreviations along with their full form which is used throughout the memorial, and it also includes the footnotes.
Table of content
It represents a systematic order in which the content of the memorial is mentioned. It reflects the titles and headings on each page along with their respective page numbers.
Index of Authorities
This is the list of authorities that you have referred for the case assigned. It includes a list of cases cited, reports of the law commissions, books referred to, parliamentary debates, commentaries, and other materials used to support the contentions made in the memorial.
Statement of jurisdiction
It explains the nature of the matter whether it is a civil suit or petition and the court before which the matter is pleaded. E.g., “In the Supreme Court of India” right under this heading you need to mention the kind of matter it is- Writ Petition “WP (1) of the 2022”.
Statement/Synopsis of the facts
This is part of the memorial which explains the standing of the party being represented. It is important that in the synopsis only relevant facts in a concise manner should be presented. It should not exceed more than two pages and should mention only the given facts that support their case.
Statement of issues
In this section, a short introductory statement explains the legal contentions involved in the case. The arguments are based on the statement of issues framed and should be phrased in a manner starting with “whether” further explaining the issue in question.
Summary of the arguments
As the heading suggests, it should be a brief of the arguments made in the matter. It should only mention the issues being raised. The explanation for these arguments is presented in the next heading.
This is the ground where the participants are allowed to express their creativity and understanding of the laws and precedents. This is where all the research work is done, and the knowledge gained through the same is expressed. It is where you get a chance to convince the judges by explaining your contentions on the issues raised. Just like in a real-life courtroom.
This is the final section of the memorial, in this, the parties are to submit what remedy or relief they are seeking from the court. One can claim more than one relief in this manner.
At the end of the prayer, the counselors should sign the memorial.
How to draft a moot court memorial?
A court memorial is the first piece of document that the jury interacts with, so it is pertinent for the teams to draft the same in a persuasive manner while keeping the format and these underlying guidelines in place.
The first step is to read the proposition assigned to get a good grasp of the issues and laws applicable. This will not only allow understanding of the problem better but will also aid in framing the issues.
Conducting research is the second step. It is based on the issues which are framed after reading the assigned proposition. To conduct the research, one can start with the materials in the college library and then can look them up on the internet using paid or free websites.
It is prudent to have a research plan formulated i.e have a starting point based on the reading done and proceed with the same.
As it is easier to get lost in the sea of information without having an idea as to what exactly is one looking for.
Make a rough draft, now this will allow you to eliminate the unnecessary elements which may have been accumulated during the research process.
The actual draft should contain a summary of the facts and a statement of jurisdiction. This step is when one drafts the actual memorial keeping in mind all the steps mentioned above and to make to include only relevant facts and arguments which are related to the case.
It’s important to note that while drafting the memorial the terminologies should be used in a proper manner to address the panel. E.g.- “Most respectfully showeth” and “It is humbly submitted that”.
It is important that one always walks in well-prepared when presenting in a moot court. Following are a few suggestions that can be considered when drafting a moot court memorial:
- Research and read well, along with the moot problem it is important to know everything around it as well.
- Re-check the memorial by going through it well. Keep in mind that factors such as font size and style, line spacing, headings, and grammatical errors all account for the overall marking in the moot court.
- Pay attention to citations, and cite them in the given format uniformly in the footnote. Some formats are – Bluebook edition, OSCOLA, SLIC, etc.
- Address the bench in the appropriate manner such as “Your Lordship/ Ladyship” instead of Sir or Ma’am.
- Seek permission from the bench before presenting the matter.
- Be clear and concise when presenting the arguments and adhere to the time allotted.
As quickly as you can, you should start writing your moot court memorial. Literary a successful memorial requires both writing skills and subject matter knowledge. Each participant must provide their all into creating an engaging moot court memorial.
Each participant must give it everything they’ve got to produce a powerful moot court memorial. The kids learn how to tackle a problem and work through it to completion but winning and losing are not the most significant lessons they take away from the competition. Along with improving your capacity for quick thought, the experience also helps you to hone your research and public speaking skills.
- Sohini Bose (2019 Feb 1st) “Mooting Basics: Drafting a Moot Court Memorial”https://www.lawctopus.com/mooting-basics-drafting-a-moot-court-memorial/
- Surbhi Agarwal (2016 Nov 27th) “How to draft a good Moot Court Memorial”https://blog.ipleaders.in/draft-good-moot-court-memorial/
- Mayank Shekar(2018 Oct 19th) “how to prepare for a moot court competition drafting a Moot Court Memorial” https://www.legalbites.in/prepare-moot-court-memorial/
- Vlawgish (2021 Mar 6th) “draft a good moot court memorial” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIlRk5Hix0Q
- Nikhil Chaudhary(2020 Aug 8th) “the process of forming a moot memorial” https://indianlawportal.co.in/the-process-of-forming-a-moot-memorial/