It was just before 18:00 on Monday 23 January 2023 and I’m sitting at my desk eagerly waiting online for the first teams of mooters, judges, and timekeepers to arrive. Following a successful introductory in-person event in November with the Masters of Moots (Masters Martin Chamberlain and Angus McCullough) and Master Zoe O’Sullivan, this was our first Zoom moot of the competition. The week would be busy, with an average of eight teams per evening – I had never multitasked with so many virtual rooms before, but “no time like the present” I thought. 

Many of us are no strangers to being online or adapting to online formats. This is the new norm since the pandemic and this competition was no different. From originally being in-person, then to being fully online during the pandemic, we have moved to a hybrid format; initial rounds online followed by in-person moots from round three onwards. This year’s competition started with 64 applicant teams, being matched with over 35 judges and 21 timekeepers. Being the busiest round, it is indeed more manageable online. All volunteers support this opportunity for Middle Temple students to practice their advocacy, to grow confidence and get extremely valuable feedback from judges and barristers. 

I have had the benefit of seeing the competition in chronological order, watching rounds one to four (at time of writing, we are going into the quarter finals) and I’ve had the pleasure to get to know the mooters. It has been a revelation how this competition has so many benefits. The students who take part on the GDL or Bar Course have constantly showed great promise with skill, determination, and team spirit.  

Coming from a community volunteering role previously, it was encouraging to see senior members offering guidance, being very supportive and enjoying working with students. The Inn’s ethos of community runs through the competition in many ways, connecting students online with judges who might have retired or haven’t made it to the Inn in some time. It also brings the opportunity of welcoming new moot judges. One of whom this year had previously won the competition and wanted to give something back! 

In March, the Inn held a volunteering event to promote various initiatives to  members who would like to reconnect with the Inn. Opportunities ranged far and wide, and I was lucky to gain five new moot judges. All spoke fondly of their time at Middle Temple and how gladly they would like to help us. Finally, it’s important to acknowledge our main core of volunteers, who every year respond to the call out to judge our moots. With so many dates to cover it wouldn’t be at all possible to run the competition without these 130+ people. This does not include the moot setters or the Masters of Moots who oversee the competition. I am very pleased to play my part and be so welcomed in my new role.

Geoff comes from working as a coordinator at an older people’s charity, organising events, trips, and partnerships. Originally from Hertfordshire, He trained in theatre and worked in the arts and customer support. He has been with Middle Temple over seven months and works in the Education Team coordinating the Mooting Competition, Advocacy weekends and supporting some post-Call courses.