General Outline of a Moot Court Argument INTRO May it please the court, my name is _____ and I represent the Petitioner/Respondent __(name)___. [REBUTTAL REQUEST & PROCEDURAL BLURB (for Petitioner ONLY)] With the court’s permission, I would like to reserve 2 minutes for rebuttal. Thank you. This case is on appeal from the District/Circuit Court (name of court). The District/Circuit Court denied Petitioner’s request for _____, holding _____. ROADMAP Your honors, _______ is a violation of international law and we ask that you ________ for (the following) two/three reasons: 1.
First, [substantive legal argument – strongest point] 2. Second [substantive legal argument] 3. And Third, as a matter of public policy OR as public policy dictates, [policy argument] ARGUMENT 1. With respect to the first point your honors . . . OR First, . . . CONCLUSION Since [first point], [second point], and [third point], Petitioner/Respondent respectfully requests that this Court finds ____ a violation of international law. Thank you. [REBUTTAL (for Petitioner ONLY)] Respondent made one/two point(s) that I would like to address. (First) Respondent stated that . . However, . . . OR Respondent contends that _____. However, . . . MISCELLANEOUS SUGGESTIONS – For Rebuttal: o Attack misstatements and glossed-over weaknesses. o Address concerns of the court. o One to two points – most important point first. – If you obviously and/or materially misspeak, say “rather, ____” OR “pardon me your honors, what I mean to say is ____” and correct yourself. – If you are really hard-pressed for a transition, say, “which brings me to my second/third point” and find a way to fit what you were talking about into that point. If you are going to quote a case, drop the case language verbatim into your outline and KNOW the pin cite. – If you aren’t sure what the judge is asking, seek clarification. o This can also be used as a stall tactic if you are unsure how to answer the question. o Say something like, “Your honor, I want to make certain I understand your question, would you mind regarding-phrasing? ” – DON’T: o Say, “I don’t know” in response to a question. ? If you don’t know the answer, say something more like, “Your honor, I am unable to fully answer your question at this time.
However, I would be more than happy to submit a supplemental brief on the issue/matter/case. ” o Smile or laugh or otherwise lose composure during argument (unless the judges are smiling and laughing and you feel it would be inappropriate to NOT smile and laugh). o Take a pen up to the podium. – DO: o Outline your argument! ? Try to reduce your argument to 2-3 pages. ? Use headings and sub-heading. Bold, capitalize, etc. for ease of reference. ? Use a manila folder to organize your arguments. • Take nothing but that manila folder up to the podium. Listen carefully to opposing counsel’s arguments and the judges’ questions. ? Take verbatim notes of both. Quote and/or directly address if appropriate. o Know, in advance of the argument, which points you are willing to concede (if any). o Preface your answers with the following: ? Yes your honor, however . . . ? No your honor. • Be cautious using this one – it can appear less-than deferential. ? I (respectfully) disagree with your honor’s characterization/construction of . . . o Have your introduction, [procedural blurb], roadmap, and conclusion memorized.