• Nyayshastram

Winners Interview: Nyayshastram-Pratap & Co National Matrimonial Moot Court Competition, 2021

In conversation with the winning team from School of Law, CHRIST, Bangalore

The team from School of Law, CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bangalore was adjudged the WINNERS of the First Edition of Nyayshastram's Moot Court Competition organised in association with Pratap & Co., New Delhi on the theme of Family Law. The competition witnessed the participation of 50+ teams from various colleges across the nation. The team from Christ University bagged a cash reward of Rs 7,000 and an internship opportunity at Pratap & Co.

The team comprised of Kavya Veerla, Divya Govindan and Sebin Sebastian who are all second-year law students.

Here is what they have to share about their experience from the moot:

1. What were the factors involved that led you to the win? What were the things which worked against you, and in your favour?

Our team's approach to the competition was largely to ensure that all bases were covered factually and legally, in that we knew the facts of the proposition thoroughly but also ensuring that we were aware of every potential legal point of contention – whether clearer or more subtle factors – so that we could avoid being taken by surprise at any point, whether through questioning by the various benches we argued before or opposing arguments. This also allowed us to anticipate rebuttals for the same, which would work in our favour during rounds; however, one of the issues we had to overcome was in developing responses to certain facts of the case which seemed harder to defend legally. We also had a strong understanding of family and matrimonial law, which was the broader subject matter of this competition, which aided us in the initial research. In addition, strong team collaboration and cooperation whether in splitting research or in practising for oral rounds was a major factor in allowing us to perform well.

2. Even though there had been tough competitors, what mindset did you have during the knockout rounds?

Once we made it through to the knockout rounds, we approached every round very singularly making sure that our entire focus hinged on the round ahead without worrying about whether or not we’d make it to the next round or finals. Doing this allowed us to maintain tunnel vision on fortifying our arguments for the side we were representing in that round and preparing for the opposing arguments we anticipated by going through the opponent’s memos. By the time knockout rounds came around, we’d settled into a comfortable understanding of how much time we anticipated needing for issues, which speaker addressed which issues best, how rebuttals would be handled and so on, which allowed us to concentrate solely on making our oral presentation as strong as it could be. Facing tough competition was a given, so our mindset was focused on doing our best.

3. What would you suggest future participants of this competition on researching and preparing for oral rounds?

Researching and preparing for oral rounds makes up the vast bulk of preparation for any moot, as the in-depth research that is required to submit a good memorial becomes the major source of research and argument framework used in oral rounds. As such, ensuring that deep research is conducted in the process of writing your memorials is key, as once the process preparation for oral rounds begins, this will be a primary source of information and packed with all of the judicial precedents, etc. required for strong oral arguments. In preparing for oral rounds, conducting at least one or two practice rounds with the team is extremely helpful in order to gauge potential time management issues, assess each other’s arguments, and boost confidence by securing flow and familiarity before oral rounds begin.

4. Success only follows for teams with great synergy but considering the online mode, how did you collaborate well to win the competition?

There were certain hurdles to achieving the best coordination during the online rounds if one were to compare the same to the offline oral rounds, nevertheless, this was counteracted with multiple practice sessions, and foreseeing the various questions that the judges were to pose during the rounds helping us come to a better consensus as to the answers to these questions. We as a team sat reviewed multiple case precedents and the possible questions and objections that would be raised on the same, the resultant effect of this were that all the team members had decreased need to consult each other to put forward an informed answer during the rounds.

5. What would be your takeaway from the entire experience? If you could do it again, what would you change?

The moot experience was one that we as a team cherished especially with respect to the seamless way that the competition was conducted. If we were to take away something from the experience it would be the rather short nevertheless information filled feedback session with the judges to the rounds who gave us valuable lessons on courtroom etiquette and mannerisms and the appropriate way to approach questions posed by judges which not only equipped us for the rounds ahead but also for the possible practical applications of the same skills in an actual court hall.

6. What was the primary motivation behind choosing to do the Nyayshastram Matrimonial Moot?

The team was primarily motivated to pursue the Nyayshastram moot since the proposition was one that was based on family law, a topic that the team had a common interest in. The fact that the subject matter of the competition was one that we had already dealt with during our academic curriculum made the competition one that could not have been missed since it posed challenging questions on a subject that most law schools cover in the early stages of their curriculum.