Monday, October 12, 2020 - 10:31


A keen interest in advocacy inspired Ms Rachel Tan Xi'En to join the ECC-SAL International Mooting Competition 2019—which led to an experience most only dream of.

Rachel Tan (left) and her mooting partner Dana Chang 


The thrill of advocacy—with its wit-laced banter and rapid repartee—draws many to the legal profession. Mooting gives young advocates and those in training an early taste of this thrill, as Ms Rachel Tan knows very well. “Mooting challenges you to think and act think like an advocate,” says Ms Tan, who was part of the winning duo of last year’s ECC-SAL International Mooting Competition.

In light of the pandemic, all rounds of next year’s edition of the competition will take place online using the Opus 2 virtual hearing platform. “I think it might actually be harder for participants to have a virtual moot,” reflects Ms Tan, who is currently the Research and Development Operations Lead at the Singapore International Dispute Resolution Academy and Associate Counsel at RevLaw LLC. “When we’re doing it physically, we have the benefit of being able to read and also display body language. And we don’t have to contend with possible technical complications either.”

Still, she encourages other young advocates to participate for the added challenge of a virtual moot as well as the invaluable training it offers. After all, virtual hearings are no longer the stuff of science fiction and today’s practitioners are expected to be just as comfortable making an argument in cyberspace as they would a physical courtroom.

Plus, those who clinch the top prize at the ECC-SAL moot have a chance many can only dream of: an all-expenses-paid attachment at Essex Court Chambers in London. Ms Tan set off on this attachment last summer and as she recounts to SAL, it was an experience she won’t be forgetting any time soon. The standout of her fortnight there was the chance to watch a Queen’s Counsel, Hugh Mercer QC argue a case in the Court of Appeal. “We then went out for tea and spoke about the case. Mr Mercer asked me what I thought of his arguments and case. So you’re not just a passive observer—you actually get to bounce ideas off with the best of the best!”

You can have a shot at enjoying such experiences as well and hone your advocacy skills at the same time by participating in the ECC-SAL Virtual International Mooting Competition 2021. Lawyers and legal service officers who have been qualified to practice for no more than three years as at 1 January 2021 are welcome to register their interest. Teams may comprise mooters from the same or different law firms and organisations, with each participating firm or organisation asked to submit no more than two teams.

The winning team will be offered an all-expenses-paid two-week internship at Essex Court Chambers in London, one of the leading commercial sets of barristers’ chambers in England (subject to feasibility in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions on travel). Awards will also be given for the Best Speaker, Best Memorandum submitted and the Best International Team.

Registrations for the ECC-SAL Virtual International Mooting Competition 2021 close on 1 November.

Moots are a great way to solidify bonds, but don’t let friendship be your only guiding principle when picking a team. “I chose a very good friend, Dana Chang, to partner me, because of our friendship and also her complementary skills,” recalls Ms Tan, adding that her partner is one she can count on to be “eloquent” and “quick on her feet”. “On the other hand, I’m more measured, which is also useful.”