Advocacy

This week I have been in London and Norfolk delivering courses for CLT. On Monday I was running an Advocacy course which was thoroughly enjoyable, both for me and the delegates who attended. I'm keen to encourage solicitors to do their own advocacy where they feel able to. Its not that I don't instruct barristers but I do feel that having drafted all the papers in a case, actually read and written all the correspondence and spoken to the client on multiple occasions, i'm pretty well placed to present their interests in court.

I have also been involved in many cases where a frazzled barrister has confided that they picked up the two bundles for the final hearing at 7pm the night before the 1 day final hearing. Or that they have been involved in multiple cases that day and haven't had a chance to meet their client to discuss how to proceed. Or frankly, they just haven't read their brief.

These things unnerve me.

I took the advocacy specialism when I undertook the Resolution accreditation 5 years ago and so its not surprise that I now teach advocacy!

The delegates on the course asked me what other materials I use and so I have listed them below.

  1. Advocacy in Family Proceedings - A practical guide - David Bedingfield ( not to be confused with the singer Daniel, which is something I frequently do when I recommend this book!).  It is a general trot through advocacy but it is a good starting point, more Children focused than Finance focused. Published by Family Law, I see from their website that there is a new edition due in March 2012, I  like the book so much that I'll buy the new edition when it is released!
  2. Advocacy by David Ross QC - whilst not aimed toward the family practitioner but is is very useful to guide the advocate through contested advocacy generally.
  3. Advocacy - Edited by Robert McPeake - Published by the OUP. Brilliant! Written for the City Law School, it will put the average solicitor. ILEX member on the same footing as a new barrister as it was designed for the Bar Vocational Course now the BPTC. Clear and concise.
  4. Golden Rules of Advocacy by Keith Evans. This is a neat little book that could be read in an evening.  It has lots of great tips and traps, I particularly like the chapter entitled "The psychology of advocacy".

These aren't the only books available on advocacy, just the ones I like, have read and would go back to if I needed to do so.

Norfolk

This was a bespoke course on the FPR 2010, 6 hours of fun looking through the new rules. I found it amazing how unique the local court is in this area. It seems that the Judges  "like to do things their own way". At almost every turn of the page, the practitioners would tell me their local court's take on what we were discussing! Bundles should be copied on both sides of the paper (contrary to PD22A), no documents should be served on the court in paper format, only via email. The list was endless, beware anyone moving to Norfolk, don't start practising family law until you've had a good chat to a local solicitor as otherwise you just won't know what the court expects!

05/11/11