Compendiums For Moot Courts: How To Prepare And Use by Vasu @LEXCLIQ – 25th July, 2021

What is a Compendium?

A compendium generally refers to a collection of documents. Specifically, for the purpose of moot court competitions, it refers to a collection of references mentioned in your written submissions. These references may include case laws, conventions, treaties, sections of statutes, etc. Although the requirement of a compendium depends entirely on the rules of the competition, it can surely boost your marks in the oral rounds if you present it to the judges with precision.

A compendium gives an impression to the judges that your team is well-prepared. A compendium is also similar to showing “evidence” in a court of law. For instance, as lawyers show “Exhibit A” in a court, mooters provide the judges with the relevant page number of the compendium which essentially contains a case law in order to facilitate their arguments.

How to make a Compendium?

We have listed down the following do’s and don’ts for you to keep in mind while making a compendium.

The DO’s 

  • Format it neatly- make sure to spiral bind your compendium for a moot that is not held online.
  • Only put important case laws and sections. You should be selective while picking the references from a memorial which should be compiled for the compendium. Moreover, if you’re referring to a relevant section, highlight only those parts which are relevant to the facts of the memorial or help speakers substantiate their points.
  • Order the compendium according to your issues- Categorise and compile the material in the order of your issues and the flow of your arguments. Example: Section 354 of the IPC belongs to Issue 2, whereas XYZ v. ABC case law belongs to Issue 4, and hence should be marked in the same chronology.

A tentative Table of Contents for a Compendium divided as per the issues might look like this:

  1. Issue 1: Whether or not…..?
    1. Case laws
      1. Faizal v. Ramadheer
      2. Guddu v. Kaleen
      3. Kanye v. Kim
    2. Statutory provisions
      1. Section 378, Indian Penal Code, 1860
      2. Section 312 – 338, Indian Penal Code, 1860
    3. Articles
      1. Article 1
      2. Article 2
    4. Etc.
  2. Issue 2: Whether or not….?

This method of ordering the compendium will assist you in keeping the judge on track with the flow of your arguments. It’s very possible that the bench appreciates this unique approach and awards you the cherry points which you direly need.

  • Mark/flag and highlight all the references, preferably with numbers– All your references should be marked/flagged either according to the issues or with a number or with case names. Numbers are easier to recognise and thus are preferable. The purpose of this exercise is to make the process of referring to the compendium quick and convenient for both, you and the judge.
  • Prepare an Index of your compendium- Index your compendium with a reference sheet in front of you, so that you can refer to the indexed number of the compendium to the judge by a mere glance at your reference sheet. A model reference sheet would entail the case name, the flag number and the issue that it pertains to. (Have a look at point number 3 to contextualise the indexing of the compendium)
  • Come well-versed with the Compendium- Just like your memorial and moot proposition, you must have read each and every case that you have submitted in the compendium in order to answer any probable questions asked by the judges.

The Don’ts

  • Do not highlight every sentence in the judges’ copy of the compendium. If you do so, it will take more time for the judge to notice the exact line and would only waste your precious time. Only highlight the exact sentence you want the judge to read, not more, not less. Having said that, in your copy of the compendium, highlight all the relevant facts, issues and lines highlighted in the judges’ copy in order to tackle the questions of the judges well. In short, you should highlight only the relevant parts, which might be cited by you during the oral pleadings.
  • Do not place your entire material in the compendium- Don’t make your compendium bulky. The purpose of a compendium is for the speakers to convince the judges and to not make it another bulky court document. Compendiums are not the content of your arguments but only catalysers of the same.

Include all those authorities which are used and cited during oral pleadings. A lot of references are there in the memo, but not all included. (if all authorities cited in the memorial are included in full in the compendium, then either your compendium has to be published in volumes, or it should be classified as an immovable property).

References cited during oral rounds or the ones which are important for the structure of your arguments are presented in the memorial.

  • Do not waste time flipping through pages in front of the judge- This gives an idea that you are unsure about your own documents. This is why we suggest that your compendium should be marked or flagged for easy referencing purposes.
  • Don’t bother to put random case laws- Don’t bother to put random case laws you are not prepared with because judges may put stringent questions from the compendium.
  • Don’t print from unreliable websites- Make sure that the material which has to go in the compendium comes from reliable sources. For instance, if you are relying on case law to prove a point, do print a copy of that case from Manupatra or SCC Online rather than India Kanoon.

FAQ

“If a case I’m relying on is 120 pages long, should I print all the 120 pages?”

Ans: No.

Example: If you’re citing the Kesavananda Bharati case, you need not print 500-700 pages for the compendium.

Solution: Print the first page of the case as it has all the relevant details of the case. Now if the page you’re citing is Pg. No. 24 of the judgment, then just take a printout from pg. 22-26 along with the first page, just so that the judge has the context of your reference.

How to use Compendium?

    • How to make the reference to the compendium- If it is a virtual moot competition, usually the researcher presents their screen. If it is a physical moot, the researcher shall pass a copy of the compendium to the court clerk before the rounds. (make sure to make as many copies as there are judges in addition to one copy for your own reference). The compendium has to be submitted before the starting of the round to the court clerk.
    • When to not make a reference to the compendium- Don’t refer to the compendium on every argument. Rather, refer to the compendium only when necessary or in order to prove an important argument that will make or break your case.
    • When to make a reference to the compendium- It leaves a good impression on the judge if you refer to the compendium for a particular question of the judge. It reflects that you have brainstormed the problem well and have come with well-researched answers.

Online compendiums

  • Owing to this pandemic, lots of mooting competitions are online. The frequency of mooters using a compendium reduces drastically when it is optional, but it can make a difference as it makes it easier for the judges to see what excerpt of the cases you are using.
  • It helps you convince the judge that you really know your stuff. Thus, you should focus on using a compendium to stand apart from the crowd.  A hard copy isn’t required. Prepare a soft copy (PDF is most preferable as it is non-editable) and highlight the relevant part on the pages which you might refer to the judge.
  • Make note of 4-5 places where, whilst submitting your arguments, you seek the bench’s permission to screen-share and show them the relevant authorities from your compendium. This helps you to break the monotony and allows the bench to be more engaged with the flow and structure of your case.

Now that you have an understanding of preparing and using a compendium, we hope that you’ll put your learning to practice and gain the advantage it allows you. All the best for your upcoming moot! 🙂

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