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The Mooters: The Moot Court Society, NLU Odisha
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The Mooters: The Moot Court Society, NLU Odisha

Shreya V

“The Mooters” is a weekly series where Bar & Bench interviews the Moot Court Committees of different law schools in the country. 
In this piece, the Moot Court Society from National Law University, Odisha talks about the selection process followed, challenges faced while organising a moot and the benefits of mooting for a law student.

Bar & Bench: How are members inducted into the Moot Court Society and what are their main responsibilities?‎ 

National Law University, Odisha:Every year, during the beginning of the Odd Semester, the Faculty Co-ordinator calls for applications from the student body for being a part of The Moot Society (TMS). The interview for selection is then conducted by a Panel consisting of the Faculty Co-ordinator and four other Faculty members. Questions range from mooting experiences, organizational experience, policy matters, and ideas and plans for TMS and the promotion of mooting and related activities, contemporary issues and the likes. TMS is then constituted of two students (one from Arts and one from the Management stream) from every batch barring the first year, to ensure that proper representation of every Batch and every stream is reflected in the Society.

The Panel after making selections from every batch on the basis of interviews and write-ups sent by the interested candidates then goes ahead with the shortlisting of names for the post of Convener and Co-Convener on the basis of parameters like organizational experience, mooting experience and other allied factors.
In the beginning of the Odd Semester the outgoing Society conducts the Intra University Moot Court Competition, which is an annual event determining the allocation of moots to participants based on their performance. This is the last event that the outgoing Society conducts in its tenure of one year and is dissolved immediately after declaration of results. Subsequently, the newly elected Society begins its tenure with the allocation of moots.
The Convener, Co-Convener along with the rest of TMS so formed, then, by the process of consensus, appoints the Treasurer and Secretary.
All the members of TMS are bound by the Constitution of TMS that was enacted in the year 2012, which helps in maintaining consistency, ensuring transparency and accountability in the functioning of TMS. The Convener’s task is to convene meetings for various matters that a MCC has to handle, like moot allocations, internal mentorship policy, any disputes that may have arisen between stakeholders, etc. The Co-Convener assists the Convener on these issues and in his/her absence takes up his/her responsibilities. The Treasurer undertakes the task of handling the budget, inflow and outflow of money and allocation of resources for various events conducted by TMS. The Secretary keeps record of each and every meeting that takes place and makes sure that all discussions, deliberations and especially dissenting opinions on different issues are properly recorded and maintained for future reference. However, in the end, TMS functions as one complete unit and each and every member has an equal vote and an equal say in every issue.

B&B: ‎What is the process of organizing an inter-college moot court competition? How do you find sponsors?

NLUO: TMS after lengthy deliberations came up with the idea of conducting its National Moot on the theme of Maritime Laws, to accolade the maritime activities in Odisha, which is a major maritime hub in India.

With the advent of globalization and India’s internationally growing clout in the trade market, and the continuance of shipping as the preferred mode of movement of cargo, the laws regulating the conduct of the interested parties have begun to increasingly invoke interest. Recognizing this potential, TMS conducted NLUO’s first and incidentally also India’s first dedicated moot on the theme of Maritime Laws. We are conducting the second edition of the same this year, and to make matters more interesting, the format has been chosen to be international commercial arbitration based on a charter party dispute.
After sending the invites, TMS formulates a Core Committee for the specific purpose of organizing the Competition and it consists of TMS members as well as representatives from other student Committees of the University. Various tasks like Sponsorship procurement; Hospitality, Tabulation, Event management etc. are handled by the dedicated sub-groups within the Core Committee. Regular meetings at set intervals keep everybody abreast of all information and updates which ultimately culminates in the smooth conduction of the event.
As for sponsorships, TMS approaches the well established institutions in Odisha, both formally and informally, for financial assistance. The First Edition of the Moot was sponsored by Paradip Port Trust and Dhamra Port Company Limited and this year too we are in the final stages of confirmation of some big names as our sponsors. After securing sponsorships, the remaining amount from the approved budget is covered by the University.

B&B: How do you select judges for various rounds?

NLUO:  We conduct multiple events that require the assistance of external Judges. For example, our annual Intra University Moot Court Competition is conducted with the assistance of external Judges and so are the open Challengers for specific Moots like Jessup, Vis, HSF, Stetson etc. Then, there is the National Maritime Moot. In all these instances though, the basic process of identifying the suitable Judges remains the same. We look at the area dealt with in the Problem and then identify the Judges who have expertise in those matters either by virtue of their current profession or by having performed exceptionally well in renowned Moot Court Competitions. After shortlisting the probable Judges, we reach out to them and make an earnest request to come aboard as a Judge for the event.

Quality of judging has always been one of our strong points, which is further corroborated by the feedback of the participants when it comes to events that we host and hence all due care and thorough research is undertaken to maintain the high standards, so that only the best get to evaluate the participants in our competitions.
B&B: In your opinion, how does mooting benefit a law student?

NLUO: Holistic education is what makes a good law student, where he is not merely required to know the laws and their application but should also be able to analyze the needs and wants of a client, the interests of justice and society, to be able to properly communicate his idea and when there are conflicting opinions on one issue, to be able to subliminally underscore the logicality of his own opinions. The main protagonist in the movie, ‘Thank You For Smoking’, says to his son, “the beauty of argument lies in the fact that if you argue correctly, you’re never wrong.” Nothing resonates better with a lawyer than this and nothing comes close to simulating this experience in law school life than mooting. The benefits of mooting to a law student cannot possibly be summarised in a few words but to highlight the prime advantages, mooting helps a student understand a particular subject in depth, challenges him/her to think beyond the prevalent conventional notions, analyse the crux of an issue from both sides and most importantly present them in a lucid, comprehensible manner.

The Moot Court Committee of National Law University, Odisha comprises Adhish Rajvanshi, Pragya, Rishabh Saxena, Shreya Singh, Deepankar Dikshit, Sanskruti Samal and Abhishek Toppo.
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