University of Vermont

What is Mock Trial?

Mock trial, sometimes called moot court, is a competition in which teams prepare a court case released every year  by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA).  Participants in mock trial take on the roles of attorneys and witnesses, and use critical thinking, debating and public speaking skills, as well as a thorough knowledge of pertinent case and trial law to compete against teams from other universities by arguing their case in front of a panel of judges.  Mock trial provides a wealth of important skills to participants including the ability to speak confidently in front of a group of people, the ability to think quickly on their feet, and the capability to work effectively both in a group and individually to form a cohesive case theory.  

Every time the case is presented, each side (the plaintiff/prosecution and the defense) has three attorneys and three witnesses.  During tournaments, rounds are presided over by a judge who handles procedure in the courtroom as well as objections.  There are also two scoring judges who score each portion of the trial with a 1-10.  These scores are what decide the outcome of each round, not the presiding judge.

The Mock Trial program at UVM:

UVM Mock Trial is an academic student run organization, commited to a high level of competition at invitationals as well as the AMTA Regional tournament. Everyone meets between two and three times per week within their individual teams, as well as once a week with the entire program.  Meetings with individual teams start out with forming a case theory and writing examinations.  As the season progresses, examinations are continually edited, and case theory evolves.  Witnesses develop character for the roles they play, and play an integral role in writing their examinations.  We expect to go to three or four private invitational tournaments, and each team will attend a AMTA Regional Tournament.  Tournaments are a great opportunity to improve mock trial skills, as well as a good chance to get to know your teammates.  Not only is UVM Mock Trial a beneficial academic activity to be involved in, but it is also a great way to meet new people and have fun!  

Last modified August 30 2011 04:40 PM

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