Today, fellow eXtasy Books author Cheryl Headford has hijacked my blog. Check out her guest post and character interview that are all about her latest release Project X, a new adult, science fiction, erotic romance.
In Project X Matthew and Morgan engage in Mooting, at least Matthew prepares for one and Morgan takes part in a national competition. But what is a Moot?
The word Moot derives from the Old English mot meaning ‘assembly or meeting’, and the Germanic motian meaning to ‘converse’.
The Moot Court is a tradition that stretches back to at least the sixteenth century and are compulsory parts of the curriculum in many law schools internationally
As far as Matthew and Morgan are concerned a moot is an activity where students take part in simulated court proceedings. It’s based on the practice of the Court of Appeal (more in another post), and not the civil or criminal courts. This means there is no jury, no witnesses, and no presentation of evidence. In effect, it’s an academic exercise similar in many ways to a debate.
In most major mooting competitions, teams will be made up of two people – lead counsel and junior counsel. For the purposes of Project X, the original class exercise is a two man team, but for the Nationals I’ve chosen one man teams for effect, and to avoid my readers getting bored to death with the technicalities.
Generally, both teams are provided with the same set of facts, which is effectively a summary of a case that has been decided by a lower court, and usually involves an obscure point of law. Easements and Equity are common subjects because they are more theoretical than other areas of law.
UK law is made up of codified statute, case law and precedent. The statute is the ‘primary legislation’ which means it is the one that takes precedence and which you should go to first. If there is any ambiguity in the way the particular law you’re concerned with is written – and lawyers will be searching for that ambiguity to get their client what they want – the next step is to go to case law and precedent.
Basically, every decision made by a court is binding on every other court.
The judge in case A decides the legal definition of ‘wife’ means a woman who has been married in a church, the judge in case B cannot say that the term ‘wife’ includes a woman who has been married in a register office, unless judge B can find a way of defining a register office as a church. If he can’t then no woman married in a register office (or anywhere other than a church) can be a ‘wife’ as far as the law is concerned.
Much of the role of the lawyer is to discover ways of persuading the judge that their case is different to all the other cases because the facts are subtly different.
The job of the appellate court, is to decide whether the interpretation given to the facts of the case by the lower judge is correct. The job of the Mooters is to persuade the Moot judge that either it is or it isn’t, depending which side they are arguing. This is no easy task. The threads of case law go back many centuries and have become convoluted as one judge after another has tried to blur the edges. The skill of the Mooter, and indeed the professional lawyer, is to persuade the judge that there is historical evidence to support the finding of fact they are looking for.
The lawyer is trying to establish a register office can be a church. Perhaps they might point out that registers were originally kept in the church, and were moved to the register office later. They might be able to point to a case where, for example, an off-site storage facility is said to be part of an office. Therefore, in this case they might suggest that the register office is part of the storage facilities of the church and therefore part of the church. This enables them to apply a definition of church to the register office, and ‘wife’ to women who are married there.
All arguments have to be backed up with authority, which will usually be previous cases, but could also be statutes, other legislations, research, academic journals etc.
A few days before the moot, the teams send an outline of their written arguments to each other and the judge, who will usually be a lecturer, professor, academic or practicing lawyer.
At the moot itself, the teams will present their arguments verbally, seeking to sway the judge with their fluency, expert knowledge and skills of persuasion. The order of presentation will follow that of the court itself
- Senior counsel for the person who is making the appeal
- Senior counsel for the person who is arguing against the appeal
- Junior counsel for the person who is making the appeal
- Junior counsel for the person who is arguing against the appeal
Each person will have a chance to ask a few questions of their opposite number after they’ve given their argument.
The teams will sit at separate tables and each Mooter will stand to present his or her argument. Speeches are timed, and are usually limited to 15 or 20 minutes with an expectation they last at least 10.
When everyone has had a turn to speak the judge retires to consider. The judge will announce two decisions – who has won the case, and who has won the Moot. The Moot is won on the skills of the Mooters, and not who would have actually won the case. Therefore even Mooters with unwinnable cases can win the moot.
Winners of National UK Moots can go on to participate in International Moots, such as the Commonwealth Moot.
I don’t think Morgan, my champion Mooter, will be taking part in the Commonwealth Moot next year, though. He’s got other, far more serious things on his mind.
If you want to know why, read the book.
Title: Project X
Author: Cheryl Headford
Word Count: 93358
Publication Date: January 3, 2020
Heat Level: 3
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Genre(s): Erotic Romance, Gay, GLBTQIA, Science Fiction, New Adult
Morgan Bentley is a bastard. Matthew knows this absolutely—until he doesn’t.
Blurb: Matthew and his friend Cory are thrilled to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the UK. On their pre-entry visit, they met Morgan Bentley and his stuck-up friends. Matthew takes an instant dislike to the arrogant, conceited, self-obsessed, beautiful, intelligent, and charismatic boy. Throughout the next year, Matthew harbours his dislike, never missing the opportunity to complain to his best friend, Cory, what a bastard Morgan is.
Then, an unexpected turn of events catapults Matthew, Morgan, and Cory into a nightmare, and all the things Cory had said about Matthew’s true feelings about Morgan come crashing down on his head, and he realises that what he thought was hatred and anger was, in fact, growing attraction and begrudging admiration. But when the deadly nature of the elusive Project X is revealed, it seems their budding romance is doomed before it begins, as one of them is unlikely to survive.
Purchase at: eXtasy Books
Morgan Bentley was a bastard. An utter, complete, A-one, cut-glass bastard. He was arrogant, selfish, cold, standoffish, cruel, and completely heartless. His history was peppered with broken hearts and broken people attesting to the fact. There was no doubt about it—he was a bastard.
Morgan didn’t have any friends. What he had was an entourage: people who cared less for the person he was than for the prestige his company brought. At the moment he had a girlfriend, the undoubted Alpha Female of the university, a bitch called Charlotte Lethbridge, whose father owned half of Mayfair. The relationship wouldn’t last, though. They never did. And next week it could just as easily be a boyfriend.
No one ever said no to Morgan. No one outside his circle of “friends” ever said anything at all unless he invited them to, which he rarely ever did.
Cory often said Morgan was sad—he had to be. He had to be lonely and sad because he had no real friends, no lasting relationships, no one to share with. Not like us. Sometimes I had to stop myself laughing when he said that. Morgan Bentley sad? Not bloody likely. He had everything. I mean everything.
His father was a research chemist, heading a huge multinational corporation. They manufactured drugs and engaged in research projects, sometimes for the government. I think that’s why Cory was so fascinated with Morgan. He was getting a degree in biochemistry and wanted to be a researcher himself. Cory was awesome…but he had flaws, and his fascination with Morgan was one of them. Personally, I wouldn’t care if I never saw his smug face ever again. Hell, I’d have been so much happier if I hadn’t.
Note: For a different perspective on how Morgan felt about that initial meeting you might like to read the Prequel. This gives away spoilers if you haven’t read the book, but is a nice, currently free, introduction to the boys and how their different perspectives work.
Question: So tell me, Matthew. You didn’t have the best impression of Morgan at first. What led you to that?
Matthew: (gives a nervous glance to Morgan, who shrugs) Um. Well. The first time we met was when me and Cory were visiting the university for the first time. To be honest, I didn’t really want to go there. I thought the place would be full of snobs. Then I saw Morgan with these three nobs, complaining about the gravel ruining their designer shoes, and I thought they were pretty much the worst people I could hope to meet.
Cory: It didn’t help that Morgan had this gorgeous, shiny, sports car, and parked it next to our piece of crap.
Matthew: Hey, don’t talk about Ellie like that.
Matthew: That’s what we called the car.
Question: Why Ellie?
Cory: Because it looked like a herd of elephants had gone over it.
Matthew: It’s alright for you! We saved up for almost a year to afford that car. It was our most prized possession, and the way you looked at it on that day made me want to smash your face in.
Morgan: Glad you didn’t try. I would have hated scuffing my shoes.
Matthew: See? That’s one of the reasons I thought he was a complete bastard.
Question: Because of his shoes?
Matthew: No, because he’s a sarcastic son of a bitch.
Morgan: Guilty as charged.
Question: What about you, Cory? What did you think about Morgan?
Cory: (looks uncomfortable) I kind of knew from the very first day that he liked Matthew. There was just something in the look he gave him. Then I watched them. Matthew kept saying what a bastard Morgan was, but he kind of lit up whenever Morgan was in the room. He said he hated the way everyone ran around Morgan, and he would never do it himself, but he never took his eyes off him. By the middle of the first year I knew they were falling for each other, hard.
Matthew: Now, hang on a minute. I SO did not fall for Morgan in the first year. It wasn’t until he started acting like, well, kind of a human being I started having feelings for him.
Morgan: And I certainly wasn’t falling for Matthew. I wanted him, but I wasn’t falling for him. Until then, I got whoever I wanted. I was looking for someone with some brains in their head and a real personality. And yes, I wanted someone who would piss my father off, but I wasn’t falling for him.
Cory: They were crazy about each other.
Morgan and Matthew That’s not true.
Question: How did you feel about that, Cory?
Cory: (flashes a quick, sad glance at Matthew) Terrible. The worst thing was, I knew I couldn’t stop it. Matthew was always adamant he wasn’t gay. He told me that if he ever thought he might be, or was just…curious, he’d come to me first. (Flashes another look) It isn’t that I was pissed he didn’t come to me first, it was just…. I’ve had a crush on Matthew since I was about eight years old. It was okay when I thought he was straight. I couldn’t have him. End of. It wasn’t about me. Then, when I saw him start to fall for Morgan, and he was so blind about it, I started to wonder. Maybe, if he was gay, I’d have a chance. If he was looking at Morgan like that I might be able to make him look at me like that.
Question: Did you do anything about it? Anything to try to make Matthew look at you like that?
Cory: (shakes his head) No
Question: Why not?
Cory: It was already too late. He was already in love with Morgan. He didn’t have eyes for anyone else.
Matthew: I was not in love with Morgan. I was never in love with Morgan.
Morgan: Really? It kind of felt like that to me by the end. I mean…you did say it.
Matthew: (blushes) That was different. Of course I was in love with you by the end. We’d been through so much.
Question: Do you want to tell us a bit about what happened?
Matthew and Morgan: No
Question: Is it too hard to talk about.
Morgan: Well, it’s not easy, but the main reason is that if we talk about it and give away too much of the plot and no one will read our book.
Question: Ah yes, the book. Project X. What do you have to say about that?
Matthew: I think it’s pretty good. It tells the story well, but if you ask me, it shows Morgan in too good a light, especially at the beginning. It just doesn’t show what a complete and utter bastard he was.
Morgan: I beg to differ. The very first line is ‘Morgan Bentley is a bastard’ You can’t really get clearer than that. Besides, I never was that much of a bastard. Not really. I had my own issues. And I did try to be friendly.
Matthew: That’s your interpretation of ‘friendly’ is it?
Morgan: (with the sexiest smirk ever) What can I say. I guess I am a bit of a sarcastic bastard, but I’m a very sexy one.
Matthew: I can’t argue with that, and to be fair, I never said you weren’t sexy.
Question: So, back to the book.
Morgan: Sure, but just so we don’t give away too much, let’s just leave it to the general promo huh? If you want to get to know us better, and hear our crazy story, you’ll just have to read the book. It’s worth it, I promise, if only to find out how devastatingly gorgeous I am.
Matthew: And I can’t even argue about that.
Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.
Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her family and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created in play.
Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.
It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller was the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.
In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son, dog, bearded dragon and cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art, with a healthy smattering of magic and mayhem.