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Advocacy: theory and practice ( 6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL)


Leader: Professor the Hon. George Hampel

City Term 2 2006 (On-campus)

Synopsis: The unit will develop a deeper theoretical understanding by students of the essential role of advocacy in the adversary system. It will enable students to better appreciate the way in which cases evolve through the courts and how the factual and evidentiary foundation relates to the legal results. Students will better understand the nature of the skills which are required of advocates, their ethical obligations and the importance of the advocates role in the courts decision making process. This will be of benefit not only to students who are contemplating practice at the Bar, or as solicitor advocates, but also to those who will work in litigation and other dispute resolution.

Objectives: By combining the academic and the practical in the teaching methodology it is intended that there will be mutual reinforcement of evidence, ethics and trial skills. Trial advocacy amounts to more than a technical mastery of discrete tasks. The unit will reveal the links between, and interdependency of, fact and law, evidence and procedure and substance and theory. It is intended that students will gain a deeper understanding of evidence and the trial process through the promotion of 'knowledge in action'. This is to be achieved by the application of their knowledge of substantive law, evidence and procedure in the trial context. At the successful completion of this unit students should be able to: a) assess the strengths and weaknesses of their, and their opponents case; b) integrate analysis of facts, evidence and substantive law to develop and write a consistent case theory and strategy required in a contested trial; c) prepare for each stage of the trial process; d) demonstrate understanding of the trial process through the application of forensic skills of examination in chief, cross-examination, re-examination and addresses in an ethical manner; e) identify evidentiary issues and take and oppose evidentiary objections; f) prepare a structured written summary of argument; g) present a persuasive first instance and appellate legal argument; h) demonstrate effective verbal and non verbal communication skills in the courtroom; and i) evaluate and critique advocacy skills in accordance with criteria established by the Australian Advocacy Institute.

Assessment: Written plans/articulation of case theory for workshop exercises: 10%; written summary of argument: 10%; workshop attendance and participation: Pass/Fail (formative assessment without which students will not be permitted to take part in the final assessed advocacy performances); advocacy trial performance (videotaped): 30%; other set advocacy performances (videotaped): 25%; a written reflective report following the workshops and trials: 25%.

Prerequisites: The subject is aimed at Law graduates. Students with a non-Australian law degree will be required to demonstrate knowledge equivalent to: LAW 1100/LAW 7212 LAW3300 LAW5159 LAW 5104 LLM(LP) or JD students will be permitted to take the subject once they have reached the LLM coursework stage of their studies. The unit is especially suitable for LL M (LP) students who plan to complete their studies at the JD stage and will not therefore undertake the practical legal training element of the degree (i.e. the PDLP stage)