Mooting is a popular co-curricular activity at many law schools, which aims to give law students practical experience before they head out into the “real world”. When mooting, participants take part in mock- court proceedings, giving them practical experience in presenting and arguing cases. One of the more prestigious competitions in Malaysia is the Tun Suffian Moot Court Competition (TSMC).
Held in collaboration with the Faculty of Law of the University of Malaya, the TSMC is a National level mooting competition on Constitutional Law where participatants battle it out on topics such as International Human Rights Law and National Constitutional Law. This time, TMSC 2021 was held online to ensure social distancing and compliance with pandemic S.O.P's.
In spectacular fashion, the BAC team managed to finish as First Runner Up, after a great showing by their student representatives!
Emilia Lye Jia Jia completed her 2nd year of reading law under the UK Transfer Programme at BAC, and will later transfer to Queen’s University Belfast for her final year of studies.
She described the experience as exhilarating, remarking:
“It was fulfilling and exhilarating. I’ve met so many intelligent law students who were all so well read about constitutional law.”
Emilia was named best oralist in the competition, but was rather modest about her achievement.
“Winning best oralist would not have been 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, stating that;
“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 concluded.
Emilia encouraged other law students to join in mooting.
“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.”
A second year student of the University of London, LLB programme, 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 took in judges’ comments on our advocacy style and poses, into the next round,” she said.
Shin Yee said the competition was conducted smoothly even though it was held virtually, remarking;
“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-racking, she admitted.
“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 in moot competitions regardless of the scale, as it is the “closest experience that one can get to an actual court submission”.
Currently completing her final year of the University of London Programme, Naagathurga Vijayakumar is also the director of the BAC Mooting Society's Internal Moots Department. Her remarks on the experience;
“It was challenging as I am in my final year of classes at the moment. 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.”
She also expressed her gratitude towards the team's coach and her fellow team mates remarking that;
“It was because of them that 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 judges 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, said Naagathurga, the students came together as a team and rallied through.
“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... 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 also a final year law student, pursuing her LLB via the University of London external programme with BAC. Active in several student organisations and is passionate about youth empowerment, personal and professional growth, Qiqi recalls how the group rushed to prep for the competition with only 3 months to get ready.
“Although it was 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 recalled.
Mooting, she said, was important for law students.
“Participating in an external moot competition provided a chance for me to put my skill sets into application and practice. Finishing second 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 were really interesting – especially 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 guiding them towards their impressive performance in the competition; Amiza (Coach), Nathan, Andrew Chee, Muhammad Fathan, Anushka Rao, Jayeswary Agilan and the BAC Moot Society.