Year of entry: 2024
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Course unit details:
Advocacy and the Law
|Available as a free choice unit?
LAWS10111 Legal systems and skills
The unit aims to:
- Examine the role of written and oral advocacy in the legal process.
- Enhance self-confidence in public speaking.
- Improve the cogency of students' legal and factual analysis.
- Develop questioning, independent research, and drafting skills.
- Enhance students' ability to persuade orally and in writing by reasoned argument in a courtroom setting.
- Develop an awareness of legal rules and procedures in the context of high ethical standards.
Teaching and learning methods
This will be a second semester unit and will be delivered through lectures and small group fortnightly workshops, as well as directed and independent learning. The direct contact hours consist of:
Lectures: 10 hours
Workshops: 2hrs x 5wks = 10 hours
Court observation: 6hrs x 2 (2 days) = 12 hours
E-learning: 2hr (deductive and inductive reasoning tests) = 2 hour
Total: 34 hours
We will use real life scenarios in criminal and civil law that closely simulate legal practice. Applying the lecture content and directed learning, students will practise and develop their advocacy skills through a range of tasks in a courtroom atmosphere. Questioning technique will be taught to enable students to apply their knowledge. The role of advocacy in the making of court applications and the development of legal argument will then be explored and practised. The tutor will give individual feedback on performances, with time for self-reflection upon reviewing the recorded workshop. An oral advocacy exam (10 minutes) will take place mid-semester and constitute 20% of the students' mark, with feedback given. This exam will test their ability to make un/opposed applications in courts of first instance.
The second half of the course will concentrate on legal submissions at the appellate level, involving critical analysis of the law. The final exam will assess their written and oral advocacy skills in a Supreme Court context. Written work in the form of a detailed skeleton argument (2500 words) will amount to 40% of their overall mark and online oral submissions (20 minutes) based upon that skeleton will count as 40%. Evidently, none of the oral assessments can be undertaken anonymously but the written work will be.
Knowledge and understanding
- Know how to structure persuasive legal argument;
- Understand the manner in which legal submissions should be made and responded to;
- Understand and observe the rules of professional conduct, inside and outside the courtroom.
- Present and respond to legal argument, both orally and in writing;
- Effectively persuade;
- Critically analyse the law and formulate legal argument at the appellate level.
- Display confidence when addressing an audience;
- Advocate at a sensible pace, with appropriate tonation.
Transferable skills and personal qualities
- Whether students enter the legal profession or not, their knowledge and development of the art of advocacy will be readily transferable to any profession
Oral advocacy exam - 10 minutes - 20%
Written work (skeleton argument) - 2500 words - 40%
Oral advocacy exam - 20 minutes - 40%
No recommended reading at this time as this is a skills-based course.
Open book examination.
Restricted to: Law school students only.
See Law School timetable