University of Pittsburgh
The Center for International Legal Education presents:

How Argument Schemes and Structures can be used for Effective International Law Moot Court Preparation

October 16, 2012 - 12:00pm1:00pm
University of Pittsburgh School of Law
3900 Forbes Avenue Teplitz Moot Courtroom
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

“How Argument Schemes and Structures can be used for Effective International Law Moot Court Preparation”


In international law moot courts, students are faced with the task of advocating a case in a field of law they are not familiar with and which works in ways different from domestic legal systems. Creating, drafting and training to argue about the best possible arguments in the limited time before the competition is a challenge in terms of preparation and coaching. Similar to beginner law students, international moot court participants must learn a special way of thinking and arguing about legal sources and legal rules. Understanding these central methodological patterns early in the preparation process is key for effective preparation and subsequent success in the competition.


The field of Artificial Intelligence and Law focuses on the formal description and computational modeling of legal reasoning in order to facilitate tasks in legal education, research and practice. Two concepts have emerged which lend themselves to supporting moot court preparation. First, diagrammatical models of argumentation not only allow for visual arrangement of legal arguments but also help discover inconsistencies and ambiguities in an argument. Second, argument schemes (i.e. abstract types/categories of arguments) enhance a student’s ability to refine her argument, anticipate counterarguments and effectively challenge an opponent’s submission.


This talk will present typical argumentation patterns in public international law moot courts and use two exemplary case scenarios to illustrate how argument schemes and diagrams can be used to guide and enhance the student’s preparation. Attendance by students participating in any moot court competitions (international or domestic) is strongly encouraged. 

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