Princeton Moot Court
Princeton Moot Court
Twice a year, Princeton Mock Trial hosts the Princeton Moot Court tournament for high schoolers. This 2-day long tournament sees hundreds of students from tens of schools compete against each other in the realm of Constitutional Law. Our tournament is unique in bringing some of the state’s top practicing attorneys and retired judges to judge in the final rounds of the competition.
There are four preliminary rounds, followed by single-elimination out-rounds with the top 32 teams. The final two teams face off in front of a panel of nine justices, in a simulation of the Supreme Court.
Two teams compete against each other each round. One represents the petitioner and the other represents the respondent. The petitioner is the person who appeals the lower court decision. The respondent is the person who argues that the lower court decision was correct. Over the course of the tournament, teams will represent both sides.
Each team will have 20 minutes to speak during a round. The petitioner speaks first, and may reserve up to 8 minutes of their time for a rebuttal. The respondent then speaks for the entirety of their 20 minutes. Finally, the petitioner gives a rebuttal. Students should split up the speaking time evenly.
You should prepare at least 10 minutes of your presentation beforehand, but be careful not to fill up the entire 20 minutes with prepared material. You will have to respond to the points that the opponent made, and answer questions from the judge(s). During both team’s presentations, the judge will interrupt with questions. You should be well versed in the case law provided and able to think on your feet. The number of questions asked will vary from judge to judge. The judge will not ask questions in the first or last minute of a team’s overall time.
A good presentation will address each constitutional question and explain why your side offers the correct interpretation. To do this, rely heavily on both the Constitution and the case law provided. Be very clear about how you are interpreting the laws and precedent.