Course Title: Advocacy Skills and Training

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Advocacy Skills and Training

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


660H Graduate School of Business and Law


Sem 1 2016,
Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2020

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

From 2018, Canvas is RMIT University's Learning Management System. Canvas is a flexible online system which will provide you with an engaging and exciting learning experience as part of your studies with us. The Canvas platform will be the primary site for you to gain access to all the resources designed to support your learning in this course. Your Canvas portal can accessed by logging into the following RMIT page:

Overview of Assessment

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