Mooting Basics: Drafting a Moot Court Memorial

Research is the most important part of any moot preparation. Research never ends, not even on the day of the moot.

However, the formatting of your memorial is also very important and many people tend to forget that which is why their memorial score is the reason for low team ranks.

Also, there is a reason why there is an award for a “Best memorial”.

Contents of a memorial

Before going into the details of formatting, it is important to list the contents of a memorial which are as follows:

• Cover page
• Table of contents
• Table of abbreviations
• Index of authorities
• Statement of jurisdiction
• Statement of facts
• Issues raised
• Summary of arguments
• Arguments advanced
• Prayer

A cover page consists of the name of the moot court competition, the court before which the parties are appearing, the names of the parties, whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, your team code and any other necessary detail.

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Table of contents obviously lists the contents in your memorial.

Table of abbreviations lists all the abbreviations used throughout your memorial including in your footnotes. For example, para stands for paragraph, ed. stands for editor, so on and so forth.

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Index of authorities is like the bibliography where you list all the cases you cited, the books, the reports, the statutes you’ve used and any other material that you have used to prepare your memorial.

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Statement of jurisdiction is a proclamation of the jurisdiction of the court where the petitioners have filed the case. It is important that this is included and is correct for maintainability of the case filed.

Statement of facts are the facts of the proposition but include those which are important for and relevant to your case. The facts of the proposition you wish to include will change with whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant.

Issues raised include the contentions for the proposition as already mentioned and explained in the first post (Preliminary: How To Deal With A Moot Proposition)..

Summary of arguments is your arguments for each issue raised, only in brief.

Arguments advanced are detailed explanations of each of your issue raised explaining and supporting your issue with extensive cases, reports, statutes, facts, etc. The more legal cases you use, the stronger will be your argument.

Prayer is one of the most important parts of a memorial as well as during oral rounds. It consists of what you are seeking from the Court, of what you want the decision of the Court to be.
Always stand up when the prayer is being said.

Following the rules

A memorial created according to the rules and regulations of the respective moot court competition with perfect formatting is what makes it a good memorial, along with good research, of course.

Thus, always read the rules and regulations of a moot prop very carefully. Not following the prescribed font, font size, line spacing, etc. make you lose marks allotted to a memorial.

The citation used should be as per the guidelines. If it mentions ‘Bluebook’, a lot of marks will be deducted if you use any citation style other than Bluebook.

Beauty in uniformity

Formatting your memorial also means making it look beautiful. That does not mean you will attach pictures to it. Beauty in a memorial refers to uniformity. It lies in the equal line spacing after every heading; proper border for the pages; usage of large caps and small caps wherever required. Do not use rich text everywhere.

There should be uniformity in your headings.

For example,

1. THE UNIVERSITY IS NOT A MINORITY INSTITUTION
1.1 The university does not meet the essentials of being a minority institution
1.1.1 Establishment and administration by a minority group

This is the pattern you may use for all the headings respective to its numbering. Don’t use bold for the heading under 1.1.2 or underline the heading under 1.2.

Avoid:

2. THE UNIVERSITY SHOULD RESERVE 50% SEATS
2.1 The university is not protected under Article 30(1)
2.1.1 The university is not a minority institution

There is no uniformity in the headings which makes it look bad.

The headings under 1 and 2 are in all caps and 1.1 and 2.1 are in bold. So far, so good.

However, 1.1.1 is in italics while 2.1.1 is italicized and in bold. Anyone reading your memorial mentally decides “Okay, so all the sentences which are just italicized are the sub-sub contentions” and when she moves onto the next contention, she is going to apply the same pattern. A change in the font of the sub-sub contention with the addition of the bold font messes up the image pattern.

Use your creative ideas to make the memorial look nice.

For example, bad formatting look like:

1. THE UNIVERSITY IS NOT A MINORITY INSTITUTION
1.1 THE UNIVERSITY DOES NOT MEET THE ESSENTIALS OF BEING A MINORITY INSTITUTION
1.1.1 Establishment and administration by a minority group

You can obviously see that the first formatting is looking better.

In the second format style, both 1 and 1.1 are in all caps. Usage of caps shows emphasis. More emphasis should be laid on the main contention which is the heading under 1. Your entire argument revolves around that idea.

Usage of sub-contentions (1.1) and sub-sub-contentions (1.1.1) are methods to break down your main idea into organised sections for better presentation, chronological arguments, and easy understanding.

The number of headings depends on the amount of the information you are trying to put in your memorial and the length of your paragraphs.

1.1 is both in caps and bold which gives it unnecessary importance. Two consecutive sentences in all caps do not look appealing to the eye either.

All of a sudden, 1.1.1 is absolutely simple with just italics as the only font which does not attach enough importance to the argument under the particular sub-sub-contention, compared to the arguments under 1 and 1.1.

However, in the first formatting style, through my choice of fonts for the heading under 1, I aim to convey that it is my main idea and all my arguments revolve around it. It is in caps so that it catches the eye of the judge.

Under 1.1, I am breaking down my argument and introducing my first idea under the main idea. It is in bold to provide enough importance but not as much as the main idea’s.

Through 1.1.1, I am organizing my arguments. Sub-sub-contentions usually make sure that your memorial does not look like one long essay.

The formatting of all headings are very important because the style used throughout your memorial is to be used when you are making the Table of Contents. Judges look at the Table of Contents to start framing their questions while assessing your extent of research. Headings in themselves should be short but complete so that just by reading the headings, judges can read and understand what are in the paragraphs to follow.

This is why the usage of different format styles are very important as caps, bold and italics attach different levels of importance to your headings. According to me,

ALL CAPS (all caps and bold): “Extremely important. I am screaming this out for you to notice.” However, I feel that the usage of two fonts on the same heading is a bit excessive which is why I avoid it.

ALL CAPS: “Very important. This is my main argument.”

Bold: “Important. This is how I have divided my argument and how I plan to present it.”

Italics: “I’m organizing. I am helping you get an idea of what I have written in the next 15 lines.”

Try to experiment a little to see what looks nice.

Cover page

Coming to cover pages, it is blue for petitioners/plaintiffs and red for respondents/defendants. This is very important to be followed while submitting your memorials both online and offline.

Research well before making your cover page as the format changes with the kind of moot problem. For example, a writ petition should have a “WRIT PETITION ____/2018” written on it with the correct year of the filing of the petition while any other Constitutional Law memorial has no need for it.

Creating the Table of Contents

It needs to be auto-generated.

Every heading that you have needs to be given an outline level.

If you go to ‘References’ in Word and click on ‘Table of Contents’, under ‘Manual Table’, you can see ‘Level 1’, ‘Level 2’, etc. written beside them. That is how your Table of Contents needs to look like.

To achieve that format of Table of Contents, you need to place the headings of your memorial under different levels.

1. Right-click on the heading you want to be in the place of ‘Level 1’.
2. Go to ‘Paragraph…’.
3. Under ‘Outline Level’, choose ‘Level 1’ in the dropdown list.
4. Repeat the same for different levels of headings.

Generating the Table of Authorities

This needs to be auto-generated as well for faster and efficient work.

1. Block the authority you have cited (case name, book name, etc.) in your footnotes.
2. Click on ‘Mark Citation’ under ‘References’.
3. Select the category from the dropdown list.
4. After you are done doing the same for all the citations, go to the page where you will insert the list of authorities and click on “Insert Table of Authorities”.

Be careful while doing this because it gets very messy when all the citations will be marked. Also, usage of ibid and supra will make it complicated because they need to be marked as well.

Miscellaneous

• Take note of margins while using bullets and numbering. They get really messy if they are shifted.

• Learn how to properly use page breaks and section breaks as section breaks will be required to change the style of page numbers.

• Do not use very fancy forms of page numbers. Simplicity stands out more and in a good way.

Conclusion

Writing this four-post series was a small attempt to help the law students who are absolutely new to the world of mooting.

If you are not confident in your oratory skills, try being a researcher. It is a great experience to even watch an intensely competitive moot where both the parties have strong arguments for their respective sides.

Preparation for a moot competition requires dedication and hard work. Every help can be and should be taken from reliable seniors as their experience and knowledge are invaluable.

Mooting culture is something exclusive to law schools and every law student should try it at least once in their lifetime.

So, meet you in court.

Download some of the best moot court memos by clicking here.

 

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