Try-Out FAQ

Q: If I am selected for a competitive moot team during the tryouts, am I automatically enrolled in the Moot Court Program?

A: Your moot course can only be added manually. Obtain the Competitive Moot Form and the Academic Change Form. Oralist do not need a supervisor's signature but researchers and student coaches do.

Complete and submit the form to Tricia Acton in Room 200 before the add/drop deadline in whichever term you are receiving credit.

Q. Does mooting satisfy the advocacy requirement?

A. Yes, if you are enrolled as an oralist. No, if you are a researcher or student coach.

Q: When and how will the results be announced?

A: The results will be communicated as soon as possible within one day of the tryouts ending.

Q: Should a student wear formal attire to the tryout?

A: No. Your normal clothes are fine.

Q: How should I address the bench?

A: "Justices."

Q: What happens at the tryout?

A: Each student is given five minutes to present an oral argument on one of two cases to the bench composed of two faculty member plus two third year students who have mooted in the past but who will not

be mooting this year.

Q: Should I write out my argument in full?

A: Reading a prepared text detracts from the presentation. It encourages speaking too quickly, reduces eye contact, prevents smooth transitions after responding to questions etc. You should speak from

notes containing points to be expanded in your oral presentation. If you are really nervous you can bring a full text but use it only in emergencies .

Q: What are some of the procedures that I should be following?

A: State your name and which side you represent in this appeal from the judgment being appealed. You may wish to start with a very brief statement to really grab the Court's attention as to the importance of the case. Keep this short and not overly dramatic. Then provide the Court with a road map ie. an outline of your case. You could start by saying "Justices, I have two submissions". Avoid "I think" and "In my opinion". You are counsel making legal arguments. Briefly and crisply tell the Court what they are, and then start with your first and usually your best submission. Make sure you have a nice break between moving on to your next submission. Your submissions could be to support your main position or they could be alternative positions. Sipping from a water bottle you bring may help your voice and to

slow you down. You need to persuade the judges and get them engaged. Expect questions from the bench. Answer them straight away but do not be put off your roadmap. Expect to be cut off after 5 minutes.

Anchor your arguments in the present law but since this an activist court you may argue that the law should be changed.

Q: How much research is supposed to go into this?

A: None. This is an advocacy rather than a research exercise so you are confined to anything in the edited version of the judgment under appeal.

Q: What are the judges looking for?

A: In evaluating the tryout moots, the bench will consider the following factors, modified from the criteria used in competitive moots (in no particular order):

  • response to question(s)
  • clarity
  • ingenuity
  • persuasiveness
  • style and appropriate formality
  • choice of an argument appropriate to the allocated 5 minutes
  • familiarity with and use of the relevant authorities
  • knowledge of the substance of the topics at issue
  • correct and articulate analysis of the legal issues the case involves

The above can be stated in a different way:

  • Courtroom Manner - Did counsel demonstrate poise and composure in delivering his or her presentation; did counsel indicate the appropriate respect for the panel and the proceedings?
  • Legal Analysis - did counsel understand the issues and the law for and against his or her position; did counsel understand and deal with both his or her strong and weak points?
  • Organization of Presentation - Did counsel deal with the important issue and allocate time in an appropriate manner; did counsel organize his or her thoughts and present the argument in a logical
  • manner?
  • Response to Questioning - Did counsel deal appropriately with questions asked; did counsel appropriately use the questions as an opportunity to put his or her arguments before the panel; was counsel
  • able to return to his or her formal presentation after questioning?

Q: Who decides which students will make the team?

A: Team members are selected by the bench on the basis of each student's performance at the tryout and on the information provided on the registration form.

Q: How do I select which moot I want in the general tryouts?

A: On the Registration Form, available from the Moot Court Website, you are asked to rank each moot which you are interested in (and eligible for) in order of preference. Please submit the completed

Registration Form, by the due date stated on the form, to carol.Johnson@queensu.ca electronically.

Q: Can a first year student try out?

A: Presently 1L's can try out for the Hicks Morley Labour Law Moot which is organized by the Labour Law Club in the winter term. Please contact them.