Simon Coath Consultancy

Post Higher Rights Advocacy Training

Royal Courts of Justice

Solicitor advocates who have acquired higher rights qualifications have an obligation to undertake further continuing professional development to develop their expertise.

Many such advocates have found that there are fewer opportunities than they would have wished to put into practise their advocacy skills. Accordingly, it makes sense to develop post higher rights advocacy training that affords participants an opportunity to practise and develop those skills that they mastered during their earlier training.

In addition, training should aim to assist in:

  • Refining technique
  • Boosting confidence and competence
  • Enlarging understanding of the dynamic of advocacy

SCC post higher rights advocacy training introduces delegates to a radically different pedagogical approach to that which they encountered on their higher rights training course. Delegates will find our programme of courses very challenging. We will facilitate an environment that will question their existing assumptions and understanding. We aim to promote real understanding and insight that will increase the delegate's confidence.

This is not just marketing spiel. We encourage prospective clients to check out and evaluate our claims. To that end, we welcome an opportunity to send clients a copy of our advocacy training philosophy, which demonstrates exactly how and why we offer an approach that is radically different from that of our competitors.

In short, we argue that advocacy is better learnt than taught and that the responsibility for individual development at this stage must be upon the delegate. It is he or she that must be encouraged to assume responsibility and exercise judgment and not look for the trainer to provide all the answers.

We are always happy to discuss with you how we might develop training that will assist your people. The workshops that we refer to below are just two examples of tried and tested workshops that can be adapted to suit your own requirements.

Cross Examination Workshop

Few would disagree that the ability to cross-examine marks out the accomplished advocate from the competent advocate. In addition, most civil law practitioners will recognise that with statements generally standing as evidence in chief, the ability to be able to cross-examine effectively is paramount.

Our objectives in this workshop are to enable small groups (maximum 6), to practise cross-examination in a workshop environment, where the role of the trainer is to facilitate marked improvement in the delegate's skills. Didactic delivery and telling the delegate how to cross-examine does not achieve this. Instead, our focus is on encouraging each delegate to review and assess and thus develop his or her own skill. This approach to training has as it objective the achievement of real understanding, not the ability to mimic technique that the delegate is taught in a prescriptive fashion.

At the end of the workshop the delegate will have received feedback that will enable them to have a greater understanding of:

  • How to properly prepare cross-examination
  • The importance of control of the witness
  • The importance of the dynamic of cross-examination (inter-relationship between Judge, Witness, and advocate)

Legal Submission Workshop

Delegates are most likely to have opportunities to practise their advocacy before Judges in chambers. This forum and the rules that determine its procedures have to be clearly understood if the advocate is to engage the Court and deliver submissions that are persuasive.

The emphasis in this workshop is upon how the delegate can prepare and then deliver persuasive submissions. At this stage in their development, most advocates will have mastered an appropriate technique and style but in our experience, many will have shortcomings in their ability to develop and then deliver engaging and persuasive submissions / arguments. To that end, we concentrate on examining the Judge's perspective and require delegates to focus on how their arguments are likely to be received by the court.

In addition to making submissions, we require delegates to sit as "Judges" and then review the argument of their colleagues. From this perspective delegates have an opportunity to consider and then reflect upon a number of issues are crucial in the development of a persuasive argument.

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