If you have landed here, chances are that you already know what a Moot Court Manual means. However, if you’re mooting for the first time any time soon, this might be useful to you.
It is a bundle of documents that as a participant, you’re required to submit to each judge presiding over the moot and the opponent party. This bundle is something that contains all information properly documented, sequenced and arranged for ease of understanding. In some moot court competitions, it is common to require moot court manuals to have the entire relevant acts attached to the manual. At other times, you could be free to only include the specific section you’re going to cite. In some cases, you would have to include some sections around the relevant section, just for understanding the context.
“A good manual will not help you win the case, but a bad manual will help you lose one”
Let us read a few tips to make your manual like a pro!
Let’s start from the outside of your manual. ALWAYS place your manual or bundle in a folder and your folder should be neat, formal and in place. It should certainly look like one that you could bring to court. Yes, you get it. You’re probably imagining a solid colored folder; stick to your imagination and bring that folder to your next moot. Do not commit the mistake of bringing your manual in your high school project folder. Additionally, the papers should not fly off your folder, so clip them in properly.
Start building your manual a lot before your actual mooting day. Not only will this ease you out, but also will give you the opportunity to review your manual. There will also be situations where you may want to re-arrange the manual altogether once you have received more relevant information regarding the case. You dare not mess with the paging of your manual. This will leave you jittery.
Use clear authorities
Make sure that all the authorities you use are clear to read. If you want to use an electronic source, do not attempt to make yourself subject to laughter by presenting a link, which shows embarrassing pop-ups. The electronic links you provide should be easy-to-read files in (preferably) PDF format.
Keep tabs on your work
We aren’t asking you to keep a watch on your work. The heading means that for the beginning of each new part of your manual, you must have tabs/sticky notes/tags conspicuously assigned so that it could be easy to pick something up right by seeing its tag. These tags shouldn’t be peeling off in the jury’s hands, so ensure that they are neatly put and stay in place. Putting tabs is optional, but would certainly make your manual more easily accessible.
Highlight where necessary
If your moot court has allowed highlighting, go ahead and highlight what you think is important. Sometimes the jury is only interested to read the highlighted parts and they skip the rest. In case you have not highlighted anything important and are asked on it, it might be a hassle to help the jury locate it on your manual. Important sections and paragraphs must definitely be highlighted. However, don’t highlight everything on your pages, like you did one night before each exam.
Reveal your identity
This does not involve an over-the-top introduction of yourself. Rather, you must mention this on your manual if you’re the Appellant or the Respondent.
For example: If you’re the appellant, you must mention “Memorandum for Appellant” at the bottom of your front page.
Cover it up
Your cover page should have every important detail. For instance, it should contain the name of the Law School you’re in, if the Moot Court has been organised by your school itself. It should definitely mention :
- Name and logo of the Law School you’re from.
- The name of the
- Names of the appellant and respondent.
- Indicate which party is appellant and respondent respectively .
Indexing it right
The index is the mirror of your entire manual. You have to ensure that it presents the contents correctly numbered and sequenced. Certain points you must remember while writing your index are :
- The index should always be sectioned. Section Numbers should mentioned along with the contents.
- Witness statements should be alphabetically arranged by the names of witnesses.
- Exhibits should be listed by date.
- Do not forget to include Court orders by date.
Right after the index, there comes another index. Are you thinking we’re fooling you? Certainly not. This second index that sounds disturbing to you is the “Index Of Authorities” and it must mention the following :
- Books referred to:
The highest regard in law books is held by the Constitution, so mention the Constitution at the top, followed by books containing other acts applicable to the case.
- Statutes referred to
- Bibliography includes links of all those websites that you referred to, while stressing about doing your research. These websites, or your saviours, must be included here. Only mention the URL of the website, there is no need to include the exact links.
10. Declaration of Jurisdiction
In terms of jurisdiction, you have to mention the court you’re contesting the (moot) case in. You have to state that you agree with the jurisdiction of the court (whether Supreme Court/High Court/District Court) and this is being exercised by you on account of Article 32 of the Constitution of India. Not that you have a choice to disagree with the jurisdiction, but you have to state it to avoid being misunderstood later.
11. Factual representation
Statement of Facts is actually your moot problem that you need to have well-versed from the beginning. Interpreting the moot problem should be done from all angles and it is helpful to take an external opinion on it too. This is just to ensure that you have understood the problem in the right sense. No matter how tempted you may feel, do not resort to singing a saga while stating the facts.
- The facts must be numbered and distinct.
- This part must contain only the summary of the facts, so keep it as short and sweet as possible.
- Mention the relevant sections
12. Not making a big issue
Once you get the hang of mentioning the facts in its crispest crux, you will understand how to shorten the issues and mention them in one-liners, for example:
“Whether the writ petition is maintainable ?”
While writing the issues of the case, you need to ask yourself as to what is it that you’re contesting in the court. You have to form these into questions/singular statements and write them in the “Issues of the case”.
13. Summarizing Arguments
Before going into details, you have to first present the basic structure of your arguments. A “Summary of arguments” is also called “Skeleton argument” because it doesn’t contain the fleshy or detailed portion, but just the external structure. Each argument must be summarized into an effective gist of 2-3 sentences.
14. Research your way to the top
The last tip talked about summarizing skills, and this one is about the details. The intricate details of your arguments will be mentioned in this bit of your manual. This is the main part of your manual. Basically, this is the part where you talk about why this case exists in the first place! Arguments advanced are successful is you have indigenously done your research from various sources. Your research should speak through this part of your manual. It should be very crisp, yet detailed. Each word of your argument must be like a piercing arrow.
Be a know-it-all
Decide what citations and arguments you want to use in your moot in advance. You should know these like the back of your hand or there is no use in even quoting them. If you can manage to know every in-depth detail of the articles and sections cited, only then can you be at ease of performing successfully in a moot. Also, you have to know that the jury doesn’t read everything you mention. So, highlight the important points and give the rest a skip.
16. Your citations shouldn’t be an overdone pie
We all know how an overdone pie tastes, or how anything tastes with excessive salt or excessive sugar! You got it! Too much of everything is bad and the same holds true for too many citations. You will confuse yourself if you are so busy figuring out which citation was even relevant. Stick to just a few and they’ll help you escalate.
17. NEVER lay out all your cards
While you are advised to include everything important in your manual, do not present everything you have planned for your argument. A surprise element is always special and your opponent should never know which card you’re playing next.
18. Argument-Citation link is your secret
The above few tips are majorly focusing on your citations and your arguments. This tip is an extension of the previous one. You know you have already mentioned your citations and arguments. You have also maintained a level of surprise while orally presenting of your arguments. However, you should make your argument so subtle-looking on your manual that the opponent or the jury does not know in advance as to what exactly you would be saying next.
19. Go Digital
The world is easing their work with technology, so why do the lawyers be left behind? These services prepare your manual digitally, in case you have more authorities that are in the digital format. They give you the benefit of arranging, organizing and indexing your scanned documents. Apart from the usual manual services, you also get services like scanning and titling of documents, links to audios/videos and spreadsheets. Digital manualing services are useful when you have substance to add to your manual that is not printable.
20. Praised be the Lord
The last part of a manual is the prayer and this is how it begins: “In the light of the legal precedents and principles cited” ( and you can add what relief you’re pleading to the court for. It is listed in clear, specific points. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of ‘prayer’, this prayer is actually summarising what you want the judge to rule in favour for you. These are your demands, the least to say, put forward in front of the jury.
21. Paging and Margins
Be very careful with the page numbering and sequence of your manual. The jury can reject your manual if it finds that the presentation of your manual is not in order. It is very common for jury to not accept lousy-looking and badly-paged manuals. The margins should be consistent throughout the manual. Font that you’re using is important. It is NOT OKAY to use Comic Sans for your Moot Court Manual. Your manual shouldn’t be too thin or too thick. Minimum manual pages are usually spelled out in the guidelines, but make sure it is balanced overall.
Good luck with your Moot Court Manual!