Legally Flawless has started this drive to aware law students and young lawyers to achieve in the field of law through strategies from the achievers themselves.
In our seventh blog of the GYAN Series, we are going to learn everything about the art of mooting and how should one approach a moot court Competition to make his/her success.
The team of the Institute of Law Nirma University won the 13th WBNUJS Herbert Smith Freehills Corporate Law Moot Court competition 2021. The winning team from the Institute of Law Nirma University comprised Kajal Singh, Vanshika Agarwal and Nikunj Maheshwari.
Also, Kajal Singh was adjudged as the Best Speaker and Vanshika Agarwal as the second-best speaker, as per the score sheets.
Before beginning with the questions Team Legally Flawless would like to congratulate the Nirma University Team for winning the 13thNUJS HSF National Corporate Law Moot Court Competition, 2021.
Tell us something about the prestigious NUJS HSF Corporate Law Moot Court Competition?
Kajal Singh: It’s a great experience and about the moot, it offers you an opportunity in terms of working on a big problem, which is very nuanced, and which provides an opportunity to delve into various aspects of corporate law. So, if I have to talk in particular about the 13th NUJS HSF, we had to juggle between two jurisdictions, India and UK, and try and understand the operation of law in both the countries. So we dealt with very peculiar and specific doctrines, technical laws, and even though there were some vestiges of the same in India, but the doctrine hadn\’t been dealt with in detail. Further, we touched upon certain areas of duties of director and how is it that the company is operated when it is under insolvency?
Nikunj Maheshwari: HSF is one of those Moot Court competitions that requires a huge amount of persistence and dedication.
What were the major legal provisions involved in this edition of the HSF Moot Court Competition?
The problem dealt with a few aspects of company law and conflict of laws. So, at times it happens that multiple jurisdictions can try the matter at hand. In our case, both the UK and India had the jurisdiction and thus we had to delve into the conflict of laws. Coming to company law, we had to deal with two major doctrines, first derivative action suit and another reflective loss principle. So recently, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom gave a judgment in the case of Marex on reflective loss. Now, this doctrine is not very old but a recent one brought into jurisprudence somewhere around 1988 and so there are not a lot of cases regarding the same. Another is the derivative action doctrine which states that shareholders on behalf of the company can bring a claim when the company or its management is unable to do so.
So, in India, we have recognized class-action suit in section 241 and 245 of the Companies Act 2013. However, no specific provision on derivative actions suits exist. So this problem revolved around these two doctrines and conflict of law and then there was double dip theory or double recovery, which implies that the plaintiff cannot recover twice from the defendant in the name of damages.
What did you look for in a team member? How did you make it a winning team?
Nikunj Maheshwari: Since we are in our fourth year, we knew the characteristics and qualities of everyone. So like, we knew that Kajal and Vanshika are great speakers. So even when I went as a speaker in the Open Challengers, we thought that it was better that Kajal goes as a speaker in the actual competition. Further, their spontaneity and prior experience suggests that they not only good speakers but also possess the skills to answer the questions that be thrown at them during the oral rounds. So this was the primary thing, I saw while making the team. Also since we are friends, that worked as a factor.
Also, we have done moots previously. For Kajal, this was her 5th moot court competition, 3rd moot court competition for Vanshika and me as well. So, I did a constitutional and insolvency Law moot court competition. Whereas, Kajal has done a corporate, environment and constitutional law-based moot court. Vanshika has participated in competitions based on the constitution, criminal and. She has also participated in the Jessup Moot Court Competition which is an international competition.
When did you start the preparation for the NUJS HSF moot court competition?
Vanshika Agarwal: I think the problem was released somewhere in the beginning of January but we were allotted this competition by the end of January, by the college. the advantage we gained was not only that we have mooted priorly and had some idea as to how to go about the moot court competition. It was also the fact that the three of us could meet, participate and brainstorm over this competition together. So I think the fact that all three of us prepared for this competition together at one place and argued, debated and brainstormed over each and every aspect of the moot problem was added to our advantage because I knew that the other teams probably did not have the opportunity to sit together and brainstorm each and every day together. It is very important for teams to be together and constantly question and for the individuals involved to constantly question each and everything that the other person is coming up with. And then read the solution which comes out. So we used to discuss a lot, debate each and every aspect. We used to sit down and find logic to each and everything.
Kajal Singh: We did not focus much on the law but focused more on logic to each and everything.
Nikunj Maheshwari: However, we sat together for this moot court competition only in the last 10 days. Before that, we were at our homes.
What was the role of mentorship in this competition?
Nikunj Maheshwari: We definitely sought the help of a lot of individuals including those in our college presently and alumnus. So, definitely, these all people help you to know the law even if you knew the logic. So, they verified if our logic even stands the test of law and is there any legal provision on this. So yeah, that is the biggest help of a mentor that he or she verifies your logic.
Kajal Singh: We consulted a lot of Seniors for this moot Court Competition.
How did you balance both mooting and classes?
Kajal Singh: Of course, we had some advantages, as the classes were held online. So we could manage time for ourselves. So, when we had enough attendance, we would take the risk of not attending the same. However, it was still manageable. So the significant part is that we were at home, so we used to adjust the schedule accordingly. We used to attend classes for two to four hours and then sit down and discuss. Once we were in Ahmedabad we used to sit down post classes. And for the last week was so, we did skip a couple of classes. But yes, as it was online, it wasn\’t only really a big deal to manage.
What ups and downs did you face throughout the preparation?
So, every moot comes with its own challenges and its own set of problems. One of our issues was a little tricky, where we had to see how the principle of reflective loss applies in the Indian context or Indian jurisprudence. However, we were unable to find anything substantial for the same. And we were a little dissatisfied with whatever we were thinking to run as it didn’t sound logical. But however, fortunately, Kajal came up with this research. As per it, the US followed a different principle. Subsequently, all three of us sat together discussed, deliberated and brainstormed over this and thus could solve that issue. So it was only four days before our submission that we could crack this issue. So this was our biggest challenge.
How was your experience of virtual moot court competition?
Nikunj Maheshwari: So certainly there were a lot of delays on the side of the organizers because of multiple reasons like the advocates or the judges not responding on time. They\’re not coming to the meeting on time. There were a lot of hiccups. But I must say that they handled it really well and the competition was conducted smoothly with no difficulties during the actual rounds. Moreover, I feel bad that we won’t be getting the trophy this year, because of COVID. They are not transporting the trophy. So we will be definitely missing not one but two trophies, one for the Best Speaker and the other for winning. So that\’s a major setback for us for not getting it.
What challenges did you face in virtual mode?
Kajal Singh: We were very accustomed to having people right in front of us. So gestures reveal everything. Once everything shifts online, you need to change a lot. So you\’re not really sure as to whether you\’re able to communicate everything to the other person, then it\’s not just what you say, but even your gestures communicate a lot. But then you have been strained by the same online. A lot of your time goes into saying: Am I audible, etc. These were the constraints.
However, I personally didn\’t face much problem arguing. And secondly, Vanshika throughout was very supportive. I had a brilliant first speaker. She used to set the tempo and the momentum so well that I honestly didn\’t have to put in much effort. As she used to go as the first speaker, I used to get a fair idea as to what are the points that the judges will potentially carry on. So yeah, I think it was, again, a collective effort, the entire team that I could get the best speaker and initially I did face some difficulties in virtual mode, but then we had appeared for enough oral rounds amongst us and before the seniors so by the end of it, we got used to it.
Vanshika Agarwal: There was a lot of support among the three of us. And then when you have people around you who speak so well and can handle events. It also helps you become a better speaker. I think that was the case. That was a situation in our case where both of us were very supportive of each other. And we knew and we could rely on each other and know that if a question is posed, even if it\’s a very difficult question, the other person would be able to handle it. When you don\’t have that pressure of ensuring that the other person does well and if you have that person who also inspires you, I think it helps you in collectively elevating the level of the team and personally elevating your own individual level as well.
Can you give some handy tips to prepare well for the Oral rounds?
Nikunj Maheshwari: You need to practice, practice and practice as much as possible, and the researcher needs to be really on his or her toes to make the speaker\’s practice as much as possible.
Vanshika Agarwal: I think one needs to keep in mind that some tricks and tips may work physically but may not work on a virtual level. So we need to be cognizant of these things. That may work physically but not virtually. And second is your practice and give as many older rounds virtually as possible. So that you can get an idea as to how things will be conducted. When the actual competition happens, there is no pressure to understand how things will be carried on virtually because you\’ve already made yourself comfortable with that.
How should one tackle difficult judges?
Nikunj Maheshwari: There is nothing as difficult or easy judges. The only difficult part is when the judges are unable to understand, what you are speaking and they remain silent and blank. Silent bench refers to when they are not asking questions. So, that becomes a tough thing but you need to keep them engaged. You need to ask them if they have any queries if they are fine with what the counsels are arguing? If we can portray the larger picture?
However, if the judges are asking you a lot of questions, then it\’s absolutely fine, you need to be assured of one thing that judges can understand your contentions. You have to just keep a smile on your face and explain your points and answer their questions.
What advice do you want to give to junior mooters?
Nikunj Maheshwari: I feel that one must participate as much as possible. They should not feel disheartened if they lose one moot or another. They should keep practicing. Secondly, you need to work on your logic. One thing that I am sure of is that law is based on logic. If your logic does not sound correct, probably the law will also be the same. So you need to first build your logic really well and after that, you can definitely find the law.
Sometimes judges also buy the logic, if you don\’t have the law. And I was able to see when Kajal and Vamshika had to answer some questions and they didn’t have the law at that point, they would argue logic and I feel that it gave us a lot of brownie points against our opponents. thirdly, you need to participate in this competition as much as possible.
I feel what happens in Nirma University particularly, I\’m not sure about other colleges. Once the participants win the OCs or internal competition, they tend to become complacent. They feel that they have achieved something really big and they stop working for the actual competition. In fact, the process must be a little different. It is fine to work less for OCs but they should be really hard working for the actual competition.
Vanshika Agarwal: please, please, please, Juniors, participate in Tier -1 moots or the big moots. People tend to get afraid of participating in bigger moots. And we tend to get happy with smaller achievements and small moves. However, we are no less than anybody. And if we work hard enough, we can crack even the big moots. And we must start understanding our value and start participating in bigger moots and stop being afraid of it.
Kajal Singh: We are not trying to give a hierarchy to moots but just put yourself among the best competitions. Whether or not we\’ll win a moot is essentially a culmination of a lot of factors. Different judges have different perceptions regarding what the average score should be or what the highest score should be. So, you just have to ensure that you are thorough with your research and that on the last day of submission or the day before your oral rounds, you do not feel that you could have done any better and this is the most that you could have done and you put in all at once. So enjoy the process that\’s what we did by the end of our submission. Before the beginning of the oral rounds, we were pretty confident and practiced enough. Thus enjoy the process, whether you win the moot or not is secondary.
To give some practical tips:
1. Be thorough with your fact sheet.
2. Discuss it as much as you can, with your teammates.
3. Brainstorm each and every factor.
4. One should never consider himself/herself less than anybody.
5. Apply Logic.
6. Read as much as you can and be thorough with your research.
We experienced that by the end of our memo submission and by the beginning of our oral rounds, we could exploit facts to an extent that it works to both sides I mean, we were very apprehensive about taking up HSF Moot Court Competition. We weren\’t sure where will we end up winning but by God\’s grace and of course by the collective effort of the team we achieved what we did. You just need to take that first step to give it a shot.
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Tags: Moot Court Competition 2021| 13th NUJS HSF Corporate Law Moot Court Competition| Virtual Moot Court Competition| National Moot Court Competition
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