Mooting & Debating

Moot court is a simulated court proceeding in which the participants prepare and deliver written and oral submissions in a hypothetical court case. It is designed to test the participants’ ability to argue the law. Each mooter plays the role of counsel for one party to the case (appellant/respondent). The proceedings are “judged” by the moot court judge, usually a junior lawyer, who asks participants’ questions to test their arguments. Mooting is highly encouraged for those who intend to go into practice. It develops core legal skills: issue–spotting, legal research, written submissions and oral argument. In addition, Mooters must learn to use logic and persuasion, cite relevant authorities, respond effectively to other sides’ arguments, and answer the judge’s questions. Finally, the moot is judged on the mooters’ advocacy skills and their ability to present their case.

Many mooting competitions are run within King’s Inns, including the Maidens’ Moot and the Brian Walsh Memorial Moot. Mooters of all levels are encouraged to participate, and workshops are held to support those participating. King’s Inns students also participate in several national and international debating, mooting and negotiation competitions. In support of mooting and debating, King’s Inns engages the services of junior practitioners to coach those participating in external competitions. King’s Inns teams have enjoyed much success in these competitions in recent years. 

King’s Inns also organises various debates and competitions throughout the academic year, including the annual McCarthy Impromptu Memorial Debate. These events are judged by members of the judiciary and the Bar. 

In addition to developing students’ advocacy skills, mooting and debating provide an excellent opportunity to meet and socialise with King’s Inns students outside of the classroom and to meet the members of the Bar who coach and judge these competitions. 


The Maidens’ Moot is held in the first term and is aimed at those who have little or no prior experience of mooting: it is open to any student in the King’s Inns who have never mooted before or those who have never progressed past the first round of a single competition. The appellant and the respondent each have eight minutes to present their arguments, and then each side has two minutes for rebuttal. 

The Maidens’ Moot is a fantastic opportunity for all students to learn about mooting, enjoy the experience and develop their advocacy skills. The emphasis of this competition is on feedback from the moot judges, who are experienced mooters and will assist with improving the participants’ mooting skills. The first round of the Maidens’ competition is reserved as a practice round (i.e. it is not a knock–out round, and the focus is on feedback for the mooters), so all mooters get an opportunity to find their feet and receive feedback before the competition proper. The final is judged by judges of the superior courts, giving the finalists an excellent chance to argue a case before a real judge early in their advocacy career. 


The Antonia O’Callaghan Exhibition Moot is an exhibition moot presided over by an esteemed judging panel of judges and senior barristers. The contestants are two invited current King’s Inns students with previous mooting experience and success. All students are welcome and encouraged to attend the moot. This moot marks the beginning of the mooting calendar and provides an opportunity for all students to watch fellow classmates exhibit a moot. 


The Brian Walsh Memorial Moot is the major in–house mooting competition and is held in memory of the late Mr Justice Brian Walsh, a judge of the Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights. The final of the moot takes place in the Four Courts and is presided over by three judges of the superior courts. The competition typically begins in January, with the final being held towards the end of the academic year. 


The Eoin Higgins Memorial Moot is held between students of King’s Inns and the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Queen’s University (hosted in alternate years by King’s Inns) and is judged by members of the judiciary from Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland. The moot is held in memory of the late Lord Justice Eoin Higgins. There is a dedicated coach available to participants. This moot is usually held after Christmas. 


GA: Gach Feabhra, díreach roimh Dhinnéar Bliantúil Gaeilge Óstaí an Rí, reáchtáiltear ár gcomórtas díospóireachta Gaeilge agus bronntar Bonn an Phiarsaigh ar an mbuaiteoir mar aon le duais airgid. Tá na duaiseanna seo urraithe ag Gael–Linn. Is do dhaoine aonair an comórtas seo agus baineann an rún, a nochtar roimh ré, le cúrsaí reatha. Téann acmhainn an ghrinn go mór chun socair na n–iomaitheoirí. 

Ainmnítear Bonn an Phiarsaigh as céimí Óstaí an Rí: an t–abhcóide, múinteoir agus oideachasóir, scríbhneoir, file, scoláire agus Uachtarán an Rialtais Shealadaigh le linn Éirí Amach 1916, Pádraig Mac Piarais, fear a throid dhá chás cearta Gaeilge sa tsean–Ard–Chúirt faoi réimeas Shasana mar abhcóide. 

EN: Every February, just before the Annual King’s Inns’ Irish language Dining, our Irish language debate is conducted, and Bonn an Phiarsaigh (the Pearse medal) is awarded to the winner along with a cash prize. These prizes are sponsored by Gael–Linn. This competition is for individual competitors, and the motion, which is made known in advance, relates to current events. A good sense of humour greatly aids contestants. 

Bonn an Phiarsaigh is named for the King’s Inns’ alumnus, barrister, teacher and educationalist, writer, poet, scholar and President of the Provisional Government during the Easter Rising 1916, P.H. Pearse, who fought two Irish language rights cases in the old High Court under British rule as a barrister.


The Philip C Jessup International Moot Court is the world’s largest moot court competition, with participants from roughly 700 law schools in 100 countries and jurisdictions. The competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. Teams prepare oral and written pleadings arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case. The King’s Inns participates annually in the Irish national round of the Jessup, with the winner going on to represent Ireland at the international rounds held in Washington D.C. in March/April each year. King’s Inns has represented Ireland on several occasions in this competition; in 2017, the King’s Inns Jessup team reached the top 32 teams globally at the international finals in Washington D.C. King’s Inns arranges for a coach to be available to participants in this competition. 

More information can be found on the competition’s website


The ICC Moot Court Competition simulates the proceedings of the International Criminal Court. It is the largest international criminal law–based moot court competition in the world, with more than 100 teams taking part every year. Teams prepare oral and written pleadings arguing from the perspective of the prosecution, the defence and the victims/government concerned. The international rounds of the competition are held in The Hague in May/June each year, with the final round taking place in the ICC itself with ICC judges adjudicating.

King’s Inns has enjoyed great success in this competition in recent years. In 2018, the King’s Inns team reached the international final of the competition, eventually finishing as second–runner up globally that year. King’s Inns also reached the competition’s final in 2019, finishing as the joint first runner–up on that occasion. King’s Inns mooters have also won individual awards for their advocacy in recent competitions. 

More information can be found on the competition’s website.


The Telders International Moot Competition has become the most prestigious European moot court competition. Each year teams from over 40 universities/colleges compete in the national rounds, with the successful teams representing their countries at the Peace Palace in The Hague. King’s Inns provide a dedicated coach for participants in this competition. 

Like the Jessup moot, the Telders moot concerns public international law, as participants represent fictitious countries in a dispute before the International Court of Justice. Again, King’s Inns arranges for a coach to be available to participants in this competition. 

More information can be found on the competition’s website


The first annual International Negotiation Competition was established in 1988. Students work in two–person teams to research a problem, design a negotiation strategy, adapt it to the personalities of their opponents and finally critically evaluate their performance.

National rounds take place. The final takes place in one of the participating countries, which are drawn from around the world. A dedicated coach is available for participants in this competition.


The Irish Times Debate is one of the best–known debating competitions in the country. It is held in its unique format, which combines both a team and an individual competition. Participants enter the competition in teams of two, with initial entrants usually over 150 teams being whittled down to four teams and four individuals. King’s Inns students participate each year and have won the competition on several occasions.