The Moot Standing Committee acknowledges the importance of and observes that mooting has emerged as a critical component of legal education simply because it provides the skills training element for the fundamental skills necessary for a prospective lawyer. Indeed many leading law schools have either made mooting compulsory or forms an important part of the curriculum. Mooting offers a systematic training process of the essential skills of problem solving, legal analysis, drafting legal submissions and the development of public speaking. The ability to articulate one’s thoughts and arguments condensing disparate, often conflicting legal authorities into succinct and persuasive arguments is arguably the single most important weaponry in the lawyer’s arsenal.
Some Law Schools have yet to recognise the importance of mooting where it is considered an extracurricular activity confined to and organised by the student body. Such neglect cannot be allowed to continue if we are to raise the standards of our lawyers to meet the needs of a globalised world. We recognise that the constrains of individual Law Schools and for this reason the Committee would encourage all Law Schools not only to participate but hopes that its students would be encouraged to attend the Competition.
The competitiveness and the individualistic nature of mooting and lawyers are self evident. What is less obvious but equally important are the role of coaches and the coaching assistance rendered as the teams prepare for the written submissions and the oral competition. The coaching assistance represents further opportunities for the faculty in enhancing the educational value and overall experience to the students. Often the Moot Problem posed is in an area of the law that the students have little or no substantive knowledge in or may not have adequate background in comparative law. Obviously, students have not allowed such minor issues to dampen their interest and enthusiasm. Such handicaps have often been turned into educational forays into legal worlds hereto unknown to them thus enlarging and enriching their legal education.
The LAWASIA International Moot Competition provides this educational learning experience in an international environment. The networking of and the meeting of like-minded students across jurisdictions prepare them for a globalised world. Friendships are formed amongst students, relationships forged between participating law schools and useful contacts made by the stakeholders.
At its best, moot competitions are arenas where legal minds do battle under extreme conditions juggling between facts and the law where the best traditions of the Bar and Bench are simulated so as to impact young lives in preparation for their role in the cause of upholding the rule of law.
It is essential that law students are exposed to the concepts of the rule of law and an independent Judiciary. We quote The Hon Chief Justice Murray, AC who had this to say when addressing the National Judicial College of Australia on the 9th February, 2007, “An assurance that courts decide cases free from external influence in the form of pressure from governments or other powerful interests or favoritism of some litigants is basic. The ultimate test of such assurance is whether people believe that, in a legal contest between a citizen and a government, the judge will hold the scale of justice evenly. It is also important that people believe that judges are committed to deciding cases of all kinds, regardless of the identity of the parties, fairly and according to law.”
The late Tun Suffian in his Braddel Memorial Lecture in 1982, could not have summed it up any better when he professed, “In a multi-racial and multi religious society like yours and mine, while we judges cannot help being Malay or Chinese or Indian; or being Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or whatever, we strive not to be too identified with any particular race or religion – so that nobody reading our judgment with our name deleted could with confidence identify our race or religion, and so that the various communities, especially minority communities, are assured that we will not allow their rights to be trampled underfoot.”
By involving sitting as well as retired Judges of eminence and integrity in the judging of the Competition the mooter is exposed to the names behind the personalities they only read of in law reports. In addition senior members of the Bar and general counsels from industry are also invited as judges of the Moot.