If you’re considering studying a law course here at Birmingham City University, taking part in the Mooting Society at our School of Law will help you to become more employable and attain a good degree. That’s just two of the many benefits from gaining Mooting experience. Current President of the BCU Mooting Society (2014/15) Farukh Bhatti shares his insight into the world of Mooting…

farukh-bhatti-lawFor those law students who want to practice law, I cannot stress enough the value of mooting. The opportunities that are presented to a student by being part of the mooting team, and/or involved with the mooting society in a more administrative role, enables students to learn far beyond the classroom setting. As I look back on the last two years, I can say with certainty that the knowledge, skills and experience gained from being part of the Birmingham City University Mooting Society are priceless.

As someone who randomly decided to apply for the External Mooting Manager position in the second year of my LLB, just so I could have “something” to put on my CV, I have definitely come a long way. From the moment I was appointed a manager, the opportunities to enhance my profile came thick and fast. In one year I went from being a manager of national competitions – supporting our mooting teams to compete across the UK; to President of the Mooting Society and leading my peers in a variety of initiatives. By far my most exciting experience, however, was to lead and organise the Mooting Society in a trip to the UK Supreme Court.

What is Mooting? Mooting presents an opportunity to develop legal practice skills and take part in networking opportunities with legal professionals. It comprises two pairs of student advocates, who take on the role of barristers. They each argue a fictitious legal appeal case in front of a judge, normally a lecturer, practicing lawyer or judge from the Midland circuit. All of our internal and external ‘home’ competitions take place in our two replica courtrooms.

When I was informed that the UK Supreme Court had invited our law school to host its internal moot final at the UK Supreme Court, with a REAL Lord Justice presiding, I was ecstatic to say the least. Firstly, this was great opportunity to showcase how well our law school supports its students. Secondly, it would mean our society would actually get to organise and perform legal arguments in one of the world’s most revered courts. Thirdly, it meant we would get to meet Lord Sumption – one of the most respected judges in the world.

Mooting is no easy task, and we all have nerves, but with the right support, practice and materials, I have seen my colleagues flourish in mooting. If every law student at BCU actively participated in mooting, we would have a law school to be reckoned with; because the amount of dedication and preparation put into a moot, between the students mooting and the staff that support them, enables the team to excel and think on their feet. All of these qualities were well displayed by the internal moot finalists – David, James, Ali and Uzma – during the final at the UK Supreme Court.

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One of my favourite parts of the whole experience was the competitive ‘banter’, as the English say, between the two teams. I loved every bit of it. The teams were excited and the competitive atmosphere made it that much more interesting. On the day of the final, we arrived in London just before noon and spent a few hours relaxing and seeing the sights of central London. We then met up at the Supreme Court, a classic example of English architecture, a large grey building with tall pillars, big windows and a humbling entrance. Our moot was allocated to Courtroom 1, where we all settled in, waiting for the moot to begin.

In September 2015 all law courses will move to be taught at our City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building. Find out more about the move here.

Then Lord Sumption appeared. “All rise!” the Clerk called out. Everyone settled down and the moot commenced. The performance of the mooters is some of the best I have seen in my two years with the Mooting Society. They presented their arguments with confidence, coherence and character. What was most impressive was the fact that they did not err or falter in front of a Justice of the UK’s highest court. They did not let their nerves get the better of them. They demonstrated that they had gone above and beyond the expected preparation. Uzma Malik for example, knew the case facts and ratios of all her authorities like the back of her hand. Ali Kazi, stood his ground and argued against all the questions being thrown at him without taking a second’s pause. James Stallard also took the questions head on and gave an impressive and very confident performance. David Meakin was confident from the start, even sharing a joke with Lord Sumption. In the end, Ali was the runner-up and David was crowned champion.

I would like to congratulate the four finalists again on a stellar performance, I feel like a proud father. As I near the end of my journey at Birmingham City University, I am proud knowing that these students are much better at mooting, and the future for mooting at BCU is bright. And, it’s great to know, I helped make it that way.

 

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