Interview: Runners Up, Surana and Surana Trial Advocacy, North Zone

Interview by: Tanya Shrivastava, UPES, Dehradun.

Research Associate, LexQuest.

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This team of Shreyas Jain, Ayush Agarwal, Deepmala Dutta and Sumi Trivedi, of University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, were Runners-up in the Surana and Surana Trial Advocacy, North Zone. Below is their experience in the same.

  • Students of Law Schools prefer to give all their time to moot and Research Papers. What made you try Trial Advocacy?

Ayush: My interaction with Trial Advocacy was accidental. I was in my 1st year and that was the 1st Moot that I ever tried in my life. Since I am from U.P.,i.e.,  the state with maximum crime rate, I had a natural inclination towards Criminology. And this event provided an opportunity to perform all the actual scenes from the movies that we all see. Moreover, Moots can sometimes be boring for the audience since it is all about listening to the arguments, but, Trial Advocacy can be thoroughly enjoyed by the audience, since it is about how a witness has been trained and how he is being cross examined.

Shreyas: We are aware of the stereotype ideology with respect to moot courts and academic papers. For me personally, there is no Masala in both of these. Born and brought up in Uttar Pradesh, criminological psyche runs in every person’s mind there, as already mentioned by Ayush. I was merely letting my inner self to fly in open by being a good lawyer.

Deepmala: All that is I need to say now is that I too belong to U.P.

  • What according to you is the difference between a Trial and a Moot?

Deepmala: With respect to knowledge, both require thorough research, however, when it comes to the difference in the skills required, a person needs to be more spontaneous with the facts and laws applicable. Quick intelligence or, as we call it, ‘wit’ of person is tested. As far as difference in researching part, besides the cases to support your arguments or the authorities which you cite, more reports and supporting documents are required i.e., more authorities from background of medicine, forensic or from other professional departments as the case may require.

Shreyas: Trial advocacy is the most real picture of courts, on “how they function”. Actually, Trial advocacy = manipulative skills of a lawyer + academic skills of a law student.

Ayush: Moreover, Moots are generally based on a question of law and not on the question of facts or procedure.  Whereas in Trial Advocacy, the whole procedure is based on a question of fact.

  • What were the highlights of your trip to Bhopal, except of the obvious one of being the runners-up?

Shreyas: Our trip to Bhopal was not less than an adventure trip. FROM trees falling in front of our bus (shattering the front window of the bus) TO taking lifts in a stranger’s car, we have experienced it all.

Our journey to the Runners-up position at NLIU Bhopal was a mixture of sleepless nights and exhausting days (including the even more exhausting “witness briefing sessions”).

But at the end of the day, all I can conclude is that it was worth it!

Deepmala: For me, Highlights were the great arrangements by the college and the organizers, rounds were conducted quite smoothly but a regret that will never go is that due to the lack of time, we could not try the delicacies that are a must when one visits Bhopal.

  • How much experience did you have in Trial Advocacy before this one?

Shreyas: Except the Surana Trial Advocacy, 2015, we have won an Intra Trial Advocacy Competition of our college. We have also represented our college in the last year’s Surana Trial Advocacy, 2014 which was held in RGNUL, Patiala.

Interesting fact- We stood last there!

Ayush: Apart from the above stated ones, we also did Intra Trial Advocacy in our first year in which we were semi-finalists.

  • What are your suggestions to the future participants of this competition?

Shreyas: Firstly, know the court room procedure.

Secondly, practice for the cross examination like a zillion times (winning a round depends entirely on how well you cross examine witnesses)

Thirdly, do not put up unnecessary objections in the court room
Lastly, Look into the eyes of the judges and not on the paper, when you speak!

Deepmala: Whenever you go for trials, just remember that if you are stuck or are not getting a way out, the answer is right in the moot problem, you just need a better reading than the previous one, this suggestion is not specific to trials but for any Moot. Also try and keep the arguments simple and don’t deviate from the material facts.

Ayush: To my experience, working on someone else’s suggestion is a waste of time. But for formality all I would say is learn to work with a team. Everyone knows the procedure and how to follow them and that they should work hard. But, the thing that is most required for this competition is a healthy team spirit.

  • Do you think there is a need for changes in the curriculum of law schools?

Shreyas: As far as the practicability of education in India is concerned, I think it is a problem not just of Law schools but also of the Primary, Secondary and High Schools. If you ask me, a student’s life must always be like that of a kindergarten kid – ‘where you learn by doing!’

Ayush: Adding to what Shreyas said, Law schools follow more on practical aspect of every subject rather than focusing on theoretical aspects, i.e., taking exams, giving assignments and projects.

  • Apart from the runners-up title, you also won third best memorial, how did you proceed for making your memorial?

Ayush: Memorial making is more of the researcher’s work than of the Speaker’s work, but practically it is a speaker’s task. To make a good memorial, one needs to highlight the logical arguments instead of just mentioning facts and various laws. Memorial for a Trial Advocacy should contain the actual flow of arguments, how the facts proceeded and what Section and what charges will apply at which place.

Deepmala: Okay now what I feel is, memorial making is again not specific to researchers or speakers it has to be done by all and with all. As Ayush already mentioned that you actually write the logical arguments instead of just mentioning the facts and the laws pertaining to the facts, and while writing these arguments, you definitely get stuck, so discussion with the group is the best solution. More so, researching every bit and piece of the fact sheet that is generally suggested and done by all.

  • What are your future plans for the next three years of law school?

Deepmala: I would like to do more moot, and try MUNs and go for Youth Parliaments as well, since, I haven’t tried them yet.

Shreyas: Don’t ask me this question. I am sure the answer will change after a month. But as of now I am thinking of litigation as my farfetched dream profession.

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