Mooting

A moot is a mock trial of a legal issue. Mooting provides students with the opportunity to argue a fictional case as if representing a client. With our very own Moot Court, the School of Law takes part in national and international competitions, allowing students to meet members of the judiciary as well as giving students the chance to win mini-pupillages.

Three law students take part in mooting.

A range of internal events are organised each year, including:

  • talks by external visitors, including practising barristers and judges
  • 'give it a go' sessions and novice mooting for beginners
  • plea in mitigation and bail application competitions

Benefits of mooting

Mooting allows students to develop skills and confidence in:

  • Presenting a legal argument in a court setting
  • Advocacy and public speaking
  • Teamwork
  • Organisation
  • Assimilating facts into succinct points and arguments
  • Putting legal issues into context
  • Legal writing and legal research
  • Critical analysis

Skills gained through mooting can help to improve overall understanding and knowledge of certain areas of law - useful for students' academic study. Mooting is a key legal skill, but one that's transferable to many other professions outside of the traditional legal career path. 

International Mooting

Students are able to build up their mooting skills from internal 'give it a go' sessions to international mooting competitions.

More formally, final year law students are offered an optional, advanced module 'Special Project: International Mooting', aimed at students who wish to develop their advocacy skills, particularly in an international law setting. 

Students on the module will participate in one of three international mooting competitions:

Philip C. Jessup International Law Mooting Competition

The Jessup moot is the largest and most prestigious mooting competition in the world, attracting participants from over 680 law schools in 100 countries and jurisdictions. The competition is run by the International Law Students’ Association. Each year student-teams are presented with a case involving a fictitious dispute between two states. This dispute is put before the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice. It is up to the student-teams to defend the two states to the best of their ability, both in writing and through oral pleadings arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case.

The competition is an excellent opportunity to develop outstanding written and oral advocacy skills, and it is well-recognised by employers. Participating in the competition requires a lot of hard work, but is also immensely rewarding. Participating in the Jessup is virtually a pre-requisite to pursuing a career in public international law, especially at the bar.

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Oxford International Intellectual Property Law Moot

This annual inter-university intellectual property mooting competition is organised by the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre. Teams are invited from around the world to prepare written submissions and present oral arguments on each side of a hypothetical intellectual property problem set by experts in the field.

The University of Sheffield has participated in the Oxford International Intellectual Property Moot for the last three years. The Sheffield team took joint second place for Best Written Submissions in 2015, and had an excellent performance in the Oral Proceedings phase in 2016, winning all four preliminary rounds.

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Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot

The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is the world’s most prestigious mooting event in the field of international commercial law. Held annually in Vienna, Austria, it draws the attention of law students, legal practitioners, and law professors from all around the world. The Vis Moot is intended to stimulate the study of international commercial law, especially the legal texts prepared by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), and the use of international commercial arbitration to resolve international commercial disputes.

The University of Sheffield participated in Vis Moot 2016-2017 for the first time. After successfully submitting two 60-page, 15,000 memoranda, the team went on into the second oral stage. The team participated in 4 pre-moots held around the world, including the 2017 Lazareff Le Bars Pre-Moot organized by a French boutique arbitration firm in Paris, the 6th Edinburgh Pre-Moot organized by University of Edinburgh, 2017 Moot Shanghai jointly organized by Shanghai International Arbitration Commission and East China University of Political Science and Law, and ICC Pre-moot 2017 organized by the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. The team gained precious experience from participating in these pre-moots.

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Mooting Success 

Already, University of Sheffield students have enjoyed various International Mooting successes: 

National Champions of Telders Moot

On 11 March, the University of Sheffield won the National Final of the Telders International Law Moot Court Competition. The team comprised of final year LLB Law (European and International) undergraduates Georgia Banks, Brandon Ashford, Leyla Gayibova, and Connor Brown and were coached by Dr Bríd Ní Ghráinne and Dr Damian Gonzalez-Salzburg.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Telders moot, which is the most prestigious moot court competition in Europe. This year’s fictional dispute related to diplomatic immunity, treaty interpretation, and the use of countermeasures. As part of the competition, the Sheffield team prepared two fully referenced 8,000 word memorials on behalf of both the applicant and respondent states. They also engaged in a rigorous oral training schedule comprising of regular sessions to test their arguments and engage in detailed questioning from judges.

Sheffield Ranks 5th in International Finals of Telders Moot

Between 17-20 of May 2017, the School participated in the International Finals of the Telders International Law Moot Court Competition. The University of Sheffield represented England, having won the National Finals on 11 March. The team comprised of final year LLB Law (European and International) undergraduates Georgia Banks, Brandon Ashford, Leyla Gayibova, and Connor Brown and were coached by Dr Bríd Ní Ghráinne and Dr Damian Gonzalez-Salzberg.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Telders moot, which is the most prestigious moot court competition in Europe. This year’s fictional dispute related to diplomatic immunity, treaty interpretation, and the use of countermeasures. As part of the competition, the Sheffield team prepared two fully referenced 8,000 word memorials on behalf of both the applicant and respondent states. They also engaged in a rigorous oral training schedule comprising of regular sessions to test their arguments and engage in detailed questioning from judges.

The Sheffield team gave an excellent performance and ranked 5th internationally. The applicants (Leyla Gayibova and Brandon Ashford) mooted against the Greek and the Estonian teams, and the respondents (Connor Brown and Georgia Banks) mooted against the Dutch and Bulgarian teams.

Willem C Vis Moot Team Reach Elimination Stage

The Vis Moot is the world’s most prestigious mooting competition in the field of international commercial law. Held between 7-13 April, this year’s event saw 342 teams competing from 76 countries.

The Sheffield students attending the competition were Conor Duffin-Hall (LLB Law with a Year Abroad), Elliott Glover (LLB Law with French Law), Emily Landale (LLB Law with German Law), and Anoushka Nehra (LLB Law with French Law). The team were mentored by Dr Tietie ("Frank") Zhang, who also attended the event.

The students performed exceptionally well during the final week-long Vis competition in Vienna and successfully advanced to the elimination stage, which only comprised of the 64 highest ranking teams. Among the 18 UK teams to compete in the general rounds, only 4 advanced to the elimination stage – including Sheffield. One team member, Elliott Glover, also received Honourable Mention for Individual Oralist.

Getting Involved

Mooting is open to University of Sheffield all UG and PG students subject to students joining the relevant societies (see below).

At the University of Sheffield, mooting competitions are run through external student societies linked to the School of Law, currently the Edward Bramley Law Society and the Bar Society. Each society appoints two Mooting representatives annually, who are responsible for the organisation of extra-curricular Mooting throughout the academic year.

EdBram and BarSoc run internal mooting competitions (with a prize of a mini-pupillage to the winner) and mooting skills seminars, as well as taking part in various external mooting competitions.

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