A Moot court is a co-curricular activity at many law schools aimed at giving law students practical experience before they head out into the “real world”.
Participants take part in simulated court proceedings. One of the more prestigious competitions in Malaysia is the Tun Suffian Moot Court Competition (TSMC) where law students battle it out on International Human Rights Law and National Constitutional Law.
TSMC 2021 is a National level mooting competition on Constitutional Law. GoodNews caught up with the BAC team that managed to finish as First Runner Up, after a great showing by the team.
Emilia Lye Jia Jia, finished her 2nd year of law under the United Kingdom Transfer Programme at BAC and will later transfer to Queen’s University Belfast.
Catching up with GoodNews, she described the Moot Court Competition as exhilarating.
” It was fulfilling and exhilarating. I’ve met so many intelligent law students who were all so well read about constitutional law,” she said.
Emilia was named best oralist in the competition, but was rather modest about the achievement.
“Winning best oralist would also not be possible without my teammates, we all pushed each other to do our best and I owe everything to them,” she said.
She said Mooting was beneficial to every law student.
“It helps with public speaking and critical thinking. It also allows students to engage with the materials by thinking of arguments and applying cases rather than practical reading in school.
“The finals was one of the most rewarding experiences in my entire law student journey.
“Being able to present in front of Tun Richard Malanjum, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram and Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima David Wong was the most rewarding part. Having the most senior judges in Malaysia to provide feedback and simulate the hearing allowed me to step into the shoes of a lawyer in federal court,” she said.
Emilia encouraged other law students to join a moot.
“Find time in your schedule to do it. Without a doubt, it will change you. Your ability to think critically will naturally translate into your academic life because moot positions your mind to think in nuances and a creative manner in problem solving.
“As for your personal life, you’ll learn so much from the people around you and it’ll boost your interpersonal skills indefinitely,” she added.
In her second year of LLB, University of London, Chan Shin Yee has been a student of BAC since 2019. She described her participation in the competition as providing “great insight” into being a lawyer.
“It was a great experience and insight for me. Throughout the process, we had frequent meetings to discuss our points and improve our advocacy skills.
“Even until the day of competition, we continued with our research to increase our knowledge in the law and taking in judges’ comments on our advocacy style and poses, into the next round, she told GoodNews.
Shin Yee said the competition was conducted smoothly even though it was done virtually.
“As it is a national competition, we were able to go against other Universities in Malaysia and learn from them in terms of style, knowledge and passion.
“That being said, I think this competition has been beneficial to students, both observers and mooters, to learn and understand the expectation of actual judges towards lawyers.”
Despite the excitement of competing, the finals were nerve wrecking, she said.
“Although it was once in a lifetime experience, it was nerve-racking when we realised we would be submitting to Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, Tun Richard Malanjum and Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima David Wong.
“Even though we did not win, coming out as first runner up is still an achievement.”
She advised younger students to join moot competition regardless of the scale of it, as it is the “closest experience that one can get to an actual court submission”.
Naagathurga Vijayakumar is currently completing her final year of the University of London, external Programme. She is also the director of the internal moots department of the BAC moot society.
It was challenging as I am in my final year of classes at the moment, she told GoodNews.
“Thus, participating in this competition could be said as one of my most challenging tasks of the year.
“Since the TSMC this year was on Constitutional Law, I was a little hesitant as it was not one of my strongest subjects in class.”
The team coach Amiza Murad and teammates made it possible for us to progress to the finals.
“It was because of them we were able to do our best. It was a great privilege to be appearing before well known lawyers who were experts in the field especially during the final rounds where it was before retired federal court judge and chief justices (Dato Seri Gopal Sri Ram, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Datuk David Wong Dak Wah).
Participating in competitions like this trains you as a law student but also makes you a better person overall, she claimed.
“I recommend all law students to try out mooting. The process can be a rather stressful one at first, but the end result is always worth it.
“When looking back after the whole process, you would somewhat have a deeper understanding of the area of law. Although Constitutional Law wasn’t one of my favourite subjects during my course of studies, it has definitely gotten more of my attention as a result of the competition.
I have developed a liking to this area of law, specifically with regards to the state’s legislative power to enact laws.”
There was very little time to prepare for the finals but we came together as a team and rallied through, Naagathurga said.
“No matter how much we prepared, the questions posed by judges were always challenging. I personally commend my teammates Emilia Lye and Shin Yee for handling the questions so well.
Emilia also emerged as the Best Oralist for the Grand Finals due to her ability to quickly analyze the questions and provide precise answers.
As mentioned by the judges, we finished as first runner ups with the smallest margin but at the end of the day, we are proud of ourselves for making it all the way to the finals this round. It is also with pride that I say that this is the first time BAC was invited to this prestigious competition and we managed to get second place.”
Chang Qi Qi, is a penultimate year law student, pursuing the University of London external programme with BAC. She is active in several student organisations and is passionate about youth empowerment, personal and professional growth.
The group had three months to prepare for the competition and it was not easy, Qi Qi told GoodNews.
“Although it is not an easy journey, it is one of the best experiences you can gain being a law student. Facing up against mooters with different styles, demeanor and in-depth knowledge in law had definitely opened my eyes,” she said.
Mooting was important for law students, she said.
“Participating in an external moot competition provided a chance for me to put my skill sets into application and practice.”
Finishing second was unexpected.
“It was definitely unexpected, but I’m so glad that our hard work had paid off, and at the very least we made it to the furthest we could.
“The finals was really interesting – having all mooters giving their best before very prestigious (former) judges. We did our level best and have no regrets finishing 1st runner up!”
The team also thanked the BAC team for their impressive performance in the competition; Amiza (Coach), Nathan, Andrew Chee, Muhammad Fathan, Anushka Rao, Jayeswary Agilan and the BAC Moot Society.