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Post #15: All About Mooting - Part III - Writing Conclusions

Post #15: PART III: All About Mooting (Plus Tips, Tricks, and What to Expect!) 

So, we have covered a bit about writing introductions for submissions, under PART I of the Mooting Guide, and about writing submissions under PART II of the Mooting Guide. Shall we continue?

PART III focuses on writing conclusions. Please remind yourself of my disclaimer - these are simply my tips and tricks, so be mindful and ask your Professor when you are not sure about something!

Please do not copy the submissions or examples listed here. These examples are to give you ideas, and suggestions, not for copying or extensive appropriation. 

 

Fariya's Guide to Mooting Successfully - Part III - Writing Your Conclusion 
(Please note these comments are geared towards Canadian mooting, but are still relevant for the Dual JD students!) 

Overview

Conclusions, especially for the second speaker, has an very important and powerful impact on the court. It has the same power and impact as the introduction of the first speaker - it refocuses the court on the important parts of your case. 

The Conclusion - First Appellant or First Respondent

Beginning your Conclusion

In general, your Professors will suggest using an indicatory word that you are moving to your conclusion:

  • "In Conclusion"
  • "To summarize the Appellant's position"

Detailing Your Side's Arguments in Brief 

The first counsel does not need to sum up the entire side. You only need to summarize your position. For example, if you dealt with a section 8 Charter claim, and your co-counsel is covering section 24(2), you should only be summarizing your position:

In Conclusion, ...

  • ...The Appellant submits a section 8 violation occurred in this case...
  •  ...The court should find the conduct of the office to be in violation of section 8 of the Charter 

Submissions in the conclusion should be short, straight-forward and to the point. Avoid double negatives, long-winded statements, and submissions that don't touch at the overall heart of your argument. In this brief overview, the simpler your submissions are, the better. This is a great place to use your mantras, to hammer home major points.

Detailing Your Arguments - The Focus of Your Submissions

You can continue to summary, very briefly, the major points you made:

In Conclusion, the Appellant submits a section 8 violation occurred in this case. In support of this conclusion, the Appellant has raised three important points. 

1. First, The Accused had a subjective expectation of privacy

2. Second, The subjective expectation of privacy was objectively reasonable

3. Third or Lastly, the arresting office engaged in a search that was both egregious and a flagrant disregard of the accused's Charter rights. 

Again, keep these submissions as short and simple as possible. The more straightforward and clear they are, the more persuasive the arguments will be. 

Concluding Your Conclusion

Generally, a concluding line, such as the following, is appropriate:

  • Subject to any further questions, these are my submissions. 
  • Unless the court requires my assistance further, these are my submissions 

At this point, you would pause, look at the judges, and wait to see if they have any more questions. If they don't have any more questions, or after answering the questions, you can end with:

  • Thank you Justices. - A simple thank you works very well, and you don't really need to introduce your co-counsel's position, as they will introduce themselves immediately once you conclude.
  • My co-counsel will now address the section 24(2) arguments. Thank you Justices. - if you wish to introduce your co-counsel, keep is very short. 

Other Thoughts

The first speaker can have a longer, more powerful conclusion, depending on how much time you have left in your moot. Sometimes you get a lot of questions, and you run out of time, and you only have 30 sections, or a minute, or extra time provided by the court, to make your conclusion. In those cases, you might stick with a simpler conclusion, as above. There is power in that conclusion too, because of the short punchy statements/mantra.

If you have a little more time, however, you might consider adding a little more policy or explanation. For example, consider the conclusion I used at the Preliminary Rounds of the 2012 Zuber Moot.  

In Conclusion...

The Respondent submits that article 585 of the Civil Code of Quebec violates section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it (1) creates a distinction based on an analogous ground and (2) creates a disadvantage by perpetuating prejudice or stereotype. 

[This part is exactly the format set out above. I could have easily concluded with this - it is clear and to the point, and persuasive on its own]. 

The choice by the Quebec legislature to deny de facto spouses access to the fundamental right to claim economic support, simply because the legislature considers such unions less stable, is discriminatory in both intention and effect. Simply put, article 585 of the Civil Code of Quebec violates the equality rights of people who are, in fact the suffering from the same economic realities as married couples, even if not recognized under the law.  

[I had a little more time here, and so I just had a couple sentences expanding on my submissions. It has persuasive value, but is short and to the point. Keep these statements uncontroversial, or judges will interrupt your conclusion, and ruin your flow]. 

My co-counsel will now present the Respondents remaining submissions: that article 585 cannot be saved by Section 1 of the Charter, and that a remedy should be awarded under Section 24 (1).

Unless I may be of any further assistance to the court, these are my submissions. 

[The above two statements can be switched in order]. 

 

The Conclusion - Second Appellant or Second Respondent

Beginning your Introduction

As the second person to speak, your conclusion is a little different, although I would still read the tips above for examples of good conclusions, especially when detailing your submissions.  Some key elements are the same, generally containing the following points:

  • A key word indicating you are concluding
  • A summary of your arguments

Some individuals like to conclude their own submissions, and then discuss the entire side's position - others just like to conclude the entire side's positions. Consider the conclusion I used for the Lerners Cup finals:

In Conclusion,

The Respondent Submits that the learned trial judge correctly applied the test from The Queen and Gomboc,  finding that there was no section 8 Charter violation, as the appellant did not have  a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Further, if a violation is found,  the evidence should not be excluded  under section 24 (2) of the Charter  because the breach was in good faith, minimal in its impact on the accused, and the seized marijuana evidence is crucial to the adjudication of this case. 

See how I have summed up the section 24(2) sub-points, which I covered (the good faith, minimal impact, and adjudication of the case) within my summary of the entire case?

As the last person speaking, I really like having a policy point for the court to consider. Consider the continuation of my conclusion:

This case requires judicial recognition that evidence, seized in good faith and in respect of Charter rights, should be included to ensure that the administration of justice. 

This is a one or two lined statement, detailing the importance or relevance of the case. You could also follow this up with a concluding statement about the order being sought. I don't think you don't really need this to have an effective conclusion.

As a result, The Respondent requests that this Honourable Court  dismiss the present appeal and uphold the judgment of Justice Gilmore,  of the Supreme Moot Court of Windsor (Trial Division).

This would be followed by the traditional conclusion:

  • Subject to any further questions, these are my submissions. 
  • Unless the court requires my assistance further, these are my submissions 

 

Other Thoughts

As the last person speaking for your side, you also have a little creativity in making your conclusion. At the 2013 Gale Cup, I tried a conclusion that summarized the Respondent's position on all the submissions made:

IN CONCLUSION

The case before the court today  is about determining the standard for testimonial competency for those witnesses challenged on the ground of mental disability.  The Court has been presented with two options: 

To find in favour of the Appellant and raise the threshold of witness competency by expecting witness to articulate the concept of a promise will lead to the further silencing  of mentally-disabled sexual assault victims. Proceeding with this option  may result in the disrepute of the administration of justice. 

Alternatively, the Court can adopt a plain-language approach, as the Respondent asserts, and provide an avenue of access to justice for mentally-disabled witnesses, while relying on the extensive safeguards built into the criminal justice system to protect the accused’s right to a fair trial. 

The option that the Respondent has put forth today, effectively balances the rights of the accused,  and the important goal of protecting the vulnerable populations within our society.

For all of the reasons put forth today, the Respondent requests that this Honourable Court dismiss the appeal, and uphold the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada which ordered a new trial. 

Subject to any further questions, these are our submissions. 

THANK YOU

 

No matter your style of conclusion, you need to keep your conclusion straight-forward, to the point, and powerful. It is less about the style you choose, and more about make it very clear as to:

  • (i) what your position is
  • (ii) what your submissions are
  • (iii) why the case is important

And, the goal is to do all of this, in less than a minute! 

I do hope this helps with drafting your conclusions! I will have several more tips about practicing your arguments, and what to expect in a moot! Please see PART IV for tips on strong oration & answering questions from the bench, and PART V for frequently asked questions & other tips! 

 

~ Fariya Walji

2013-2014 PMP Student Coordinator

* Disclaimer: The above post is entirely of my own opinion, and was not counseled by Windsor Law or reflective of the thoughts, opinions, or attitudes of any other Windsor law staff or students. Individuals reading this post should read it only as a personal opinion piece, not as academic or career advice.