Course Title: Advocacy Skills and Training

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Advocacy Skills and Training

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


660H Graduate School of Business and Law


Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: Dr Peter Condliffe

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2000

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Building 13

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Required Prior Study
040015 - Introduction to the Australian Legal System and Legal Methods

Course Description

The protection and enforcement of legal rights and interests ultimately depends on legal proceedings in courts and tribunals. Many if not most legal proceedings revolve around issues of fact. In an adversarial context this means the presentation of competing versions of contentious events. The objective of each party is to persuade the court or tribunal to accept their version of events so as to increase the likelihood of a favourable remedy or outcome.
The emphasis in this course will be upon trial rather than appellate advocacy. Effective trial advocacy requires a broad, complex and diverse set of skills, ranging from the ability to develop and present a persuasive narrative (both in an address and by examining a witness) to the ability to cross-examine a witness to make concessions that will advance the party’s case. These court room skills are built upon legal research and analytical skills to support and develop the case.
The course is taught in an intensive and supportive workshop format and therefore students should only attempt the course if they can attend all sessions. Topics covered will include the adversarial process; the role of the trial advocate; the development of case theories, themes and labels; plea making; opening and closing addresses; making objections; and witness examination including examination in chief, cross examination, and re-examination.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an advanced and integrated understanding of the practice of advocacy in the Australian legal system
2. Critically evaluate the dynamic relationships between issues of law, fact and evidence in the application of case theory;; 
3. Analyse and research complex problems relating to advocacy and make reasoned and appropriate choices amongst alternatives;
4. Demonstrate sophisticated cognitive and creative skills in approaching advocacy and generate appropriate responses
5. Show effective, appropriate and persuasive collaboration and communication skills for legal and non-legal audiences through engagement with advocacy simulation such as a bail application; a plea of guilty submission; Magistrates or County Court defended hearing including examination in chief, cross examination, correct tendering of evidence, objections to evidence and a closing address

6. Demonstrate an advanced and integrated understanding of approaches to ethical decision making in advocacy.

Overview of Learning Activities

The course shall be delivered in three weekend (Saturday and Sunday) workshops.
Some part of the workshop shall be delivered by lecture. Lecture slides are posted online before each workshop and usually cover a full hour of content. Preparation for and reflection on lectures must take place in your own time. Pre-reading for each lecture topic will be notified to students in the same way. Look in Learning Resources online for references to other articles or readings.
The workshop structure is based on the understanding that the best way to acquire and improve advocacy skills is to practise these skills in Moot Courts or Workshop presentations. Preparation for and reflection on workshops must take place in your own time. Students must be ready to participate in each workshop activity. Preparation time for each work shop or online activity is estimated to be at least equal to the face to face class time. The time required for the final trial hearing preparation is substantial.

Overview of Learning Resources

Recommended Reading

Aronson M and Jill Hunter Litigation Evidence and Procedure Butterworths Sydney 1998
6th Ed
Britts M M G Pleading Precedents Law Book Company 1990 4th Edition 1990
Chay A and Smith J Legal Interviewing in Practice Law Book Co 1996
Curthoys J and Kendall C Advocacy: An Intoduction Lexis Nexis Butterworths 2006
Davies L E Anatomy of Cross Examination Prentice Hall Law & Business 1993
Glissan J L and Tilmouth S W Advocacy in Practice Butterworths Sydney 1998
Glissan J L Cross-examination Practice and Procedure Butterworths 2nd1991
Perry M Hampel on Advocacy Leo Cussen Centre for Law Revised Edition 2010
Hyam M Advocacy Skills Blackstone Press Ltd 1990
Kyrou E and Lewis G Handy Hints on Practice Law Book Co 1993 2nd Edition
Lauchland K A & Le Brun M J Legal Interviewing Butterworths Skills Series 1996
Ligertwood A Australian Evidence Butterworths Sydney 1993 2nd Edition
Mauet T and McCrimmon L Fundamentals of Trial Techniques Thompson Reuters
Australian Edition 2011
Morris E Technique in Litigation Juta & Co 1993 4th Edition
Selby H Winning in Court Oxford 2000
Wellman F The Art of Cross-Examination Dorset New York 1986

County Court Act 1958
County Court Criminal Procedure Rules 2009
County Court Civil Procedure Rules 2008
Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2005
Supreme Court Act 1986
Supreme Court Rules 2005
Supreme Court (Miscellaneous Civil Proceedings) Rules 2008
Magistrates Court Act 1989
Evidence Act 2008 (Vic)
Evidence Regulations 2009 (Vic)
Civil Procedure Act 2010 (Vic)


Legal advocates need to have at their fingertips a wide range of resources and the following will be of assistance in preparing cases.

Australasian Legal Information Institute (Austlii):
Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department:
Judicial College of Victoria:
Victorian legislation and parliamentary documents:
Victorian Government Solicitors Office:
Federation of Community Legal Centres (Victoria) Inc:
Human Rights Law Resource Centre:
Law Institute of Victoria (LIV):
Public Interest Law Clearing House (PILCH):
Victoria Legal Aid (VLA):
Youth Law:
Consumer Affairs Victoria Resource Centre:
Financial and Consumer Rights Council Inc. (FCRC):
Financial Counselling (Vic) (FCV):
The Consumer Credit Code:
Our Community:
Environmental Law Online:
Federal Discrimination Law Online:
Lawyers Weekly:
Rural Law Online:
Victorian Government Gazette:
Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria:
Reaching Agreement:
Lawyers for Animals:
Victoria Law:

Overview of Assessment

The assessment comprises an individual advocacy exercise, a group advocacy exercise and participation in a mock trial.