Every year, Collas Crill, a local off-shore law firm, hold a series of moots for all sixth-form age student in Guernsey.
Forty-six students took part this year from four of the island's sixth form schools and colleges in which pairs of students are placed in a mock courtroom trial situation, dealing with fictional scenarios and judged at each round by lawyers from Collas Crill. The teams were coached by a selection of Collas Crill paralegals and trainees.
To establish what a moot actually is, the dictionary definition is “a mock judicial proceeding set up to examine a hypothetical case as an academic exercise.” Each school is designated advisors (lawyers that work at Collas Crill) who guide the participants on how to structure their arguments and approach the cases, hosting training sessions once a week. In terms of the structure of the moot, there are three heats, in which two pairs go against each other to present their argument in front of a judge, acting as plaintiff or defendant. From each individual moot the judge establishes who won the case and who won the most points, and therefore who won the heat; which is determined by the strength of argument, presentation, formality etc. At the end of the three heats, the two teams with the most points are entered into the final where they go head to head to determine the overall winner.
Maisy Nicholls and Lydia Datta, the two finalists from The Ladies' College commented, "We signed up to the moot as it sounded like a good opportunity to gain a new skill set and have fun debating against others. Unexpectedly, we made it all the way to the final where we faced Matthew and Oliver from Elizabeth College. Unfortunately after a very close competition, we didn't win, but greatly value the experience it gave us to build confidence in public speaking, and see how we coped in such an unfamiliar environment. This matches the overall consensus of participants, who found it a very valued opportunity and recommend taking part to anyone who will have the opportunity in the future."
One of the partners in the firm's corporate, finance and funds practice and an advocate of the Royal Court, said,
"Reasoned argument is a skill that's essential whether you want a career in law, are just trying to convince your boss you deserve a raise or to win an argument with friends. The Moot provides a fantastic opportunity for students to improve their communication, presentation, research and analysis, all of which will be invaluable in the next step of their education and their working life. It's also a lot of fun and a great chance to experience the drama of the courtroom first hand.
This year's finalists were a talented bunch and it was a close-run race. Both teams had prepared well, presenting their cases around a fictional road traffic accident with flair and ingenuity, but Matthew and Oliver secured the title narrowly edging out Maisie and Lydia."