Evaluating your research
You may do this as you are going along or at the end, but it is important to go through your research and evaluate the sources and information.
You are likely to know when you have exhausted the scope of your research, a good indicator is that you have used the breadth of sources mentioned in the previous sections and the same information, cases and points are coming up time and again.
It is worth going through your moot problem again to see if there are any gaps or further research questions.
When evaluating your sources for mooting it depends on whether you are looking at a primary source or secondary. Things to think about are in this diagram.
Using Case Citators
It is important that you check any cases to make sure that they are still good law and that there hasn’t been any development in the precedent since the case was decided. This is done through 3 case citators (see below)
It is also good to know as much as you can about a case, especially if you are going to be relying upon it as an authority in your submissions.
Like with sources you cannot just rely upon one. It is beneficial to choose the one you prefer and then use the other 2 to check. Westlaw and Lexis+ UK use a traffic light system for the cases – don’t ever use something that has a red symbol as this case is no longer good law. VLex Justis does use a traffic light system but it for the subsequent 'treatment' and so is slightly different.
Westlaw case analysis can be found by searching for a case in the usual way. Instead of going into the report choose Case Analysis.
Click here for a video on how to search. (the video link will be active shortly Feb 2023)
VLex Justis has a lot of different tools that make it great to use as a case citator.
- Tabs across the tops for the lists (similar to Westlaw)
- A precedent map that shows that information in a wagon wheel
- A function that allows you to see the most cited passages of a judgment with the list cases that has done so.
Please note that there are cases from other jurisdictions on the database although these are easily identifiable by the flags.
Lexis+ UK has recently replaced Lexis Library and so we are currently updating this section. Information and a short video will be available shortly (Feb 2023)
Other important things to note when evaluating cases
For your moot, unless you have a good reason, you should only be citing cases from this jurisdiction. If there is a case that is completely on point but from a different jurisdiction (and there is no UK equivalent) then you can use it as persuasive authority but you need to acknowledge this to the judge and abide with what they say.
Doctrine of Precedent
For the LRMSP moots you are all in the Supreme Court and so strictly speaking nothing is binding on you. However when choosing which cases to use it is worth bearing in mind that the higher the court the more authoritative the case and you should aim to be using Court of Appeal and House of Lords/Supreme Court cases where you can.
Limit of cases
In the LRMSP moot you will be limited to citing (in detail) 6 cases per team. This is because there is no time for you to cite more and it also encourages you to think about which cases you really need to cite. One good solid case that is on point is enough, you do not have to cite others that say the same thing. As part of the evaluation process you should be thinking about which cases really support your submissions and weighing this up with the 2 headings above.
Always search for legislation on one of the 2 major databases (Westlaw or Lexis) as legislation.gov is not updated as regularly. The other advantage of finding the legislation on the databases as there are annotations and links through to related content like articles and books.
Evaluating secondary sources
Although databases and traditionally published material is relatively safe you need to make sure the information is up to date and accurate. It is very important if you are searching the free web that you bear in mind the following: