The Moot Court Club at Indiana University
What the heck is Moot Court anyway?
You might, and probably should, have more questions than what is addressed here (we have a form below for those) but for now, Moot Court is...
What is Moot Court?
The (less) short version...
Most organizations hate describing themselves in relation to another. GrubHub doesn't want to be known as Uber for food. We have no such qualms. Moot Court is best described as Mock Trial, but for appellate law.
First, what is appellate law? This is a surprisingly difficult question for most people to answer. In any legal proceeding, civil or criminal, there is someone who is claiming that they can sue someone or something else because of some injury. This could be a government bringing criminal charges against a suspect, or it could be Microsoft suing Apple for copyright infringement, or it could be a woman suing the government of Austria for her art.
The person who is suing believes they deserve some form of justice. What happens next comes in different orders depending on whether its a criminal or civil, but both eventually lead to.... the trial! At the end of it comes either a guilty or not guilty verdict. But this is sometimes not the end of the process.
Okay... what happens then?
That's where we come in.
In trials where the result is guilty, the guilty person may appeal the result. That just means they think the result was bogus for some reason. If an appellate court says "yeah there was some bogusness up in there, we want to look into this further" then they'll accept the filing for appeal.
This appeal is a review of the decision of the trial court and looks at the problems that creates bogusness. If this bogusness is enough to make the appellate judge (or judges) confident enough that the guilty person was deprived their constitutional right to a fair trial, then the court will say the guilty person needs a new trial that avoids the bogusness of the first trial. If not, then they will confirm the ruling of the lower court. Notice how those last two sentences never mentioned a jury. That was intentional. There is no jury at the appellate level! It's all up to the judge. This part is where Moot Court comes in!
The job of an appellate attorney is to either argue that the first trial was fair or unfair. That's all it is. They do this in two ways
This is where you get to practice this massively important part of the legal system. When you think of the biggest cases in our nation's history, with the exception of O.J., you're probably thinking of appellate cases. For example, most US Supreme Court cases are appellate cases.
More on what we do below.
Since none of us have actually gone through law school...
Most of what we do at Moot Court Club is learn about the law. About the process, the strategies, the structures, etc. Everyone starts somewhere in their Moot Court education and we anticipate most members will start with next to no knowledge about how it works in the first place.
The name of the game is teamwork
Not only do we hope our members learn about the law, but we also hope they win (more on that later). There's no way to do that but with the support of your teammates. They'll spot holes in your legal reasoning, distracting things about your delivery, and generally be your first contact for advice at every step of the way.
Not for the faint of heart...
If you're someone who loves to argue, this club is for you. If you're someone who loves to argue and win, this club is definitely for you. This is our inaugural year so we may not be able to compete in as many tournaments as we would like eventually, but our plan is to travel to different states to compete at tournaments hosted by other schools.
2017-18 Case Problem
This year's theme: Greek Mythology
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