A moot court is a simulation of a court, set up to try a ‘moot’ (=a hypothetical case). Moots are typically held at law schools to develop and assess law students’ trial advocacy skills. A moot court has no authentic jurisdiction and can be made up of law professors, students, practicing lawyers, judges etc.
In the US, most first year law students will participate in, and be graded on, a moot court competition. The case to be tried will be created the law school, either based on an old case (ie a moot case), a completely hypothetical case, or an old case which has been modified in some manner. Many law schools have moot court associations in which the best ‘mooters’ are invited to become members. These associations then compete in national and international competitions.
There are several European moot court competitions. Two of the best known are the European Moot Court Competition, with its final rounds being determined by the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg, and the ESLA Moot Court Competition on World Trade Organization (WTO) law, sponsored by the WTO. The world’s largest moot court competition is the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court in international law, held before the International Court of Justice. The competition is organized by the International Law Students Association (ILSA).