Advocacy and the vulnerable training
We run training courses to help criminal solicitor advocates working with children and vulnerable witnesses practise more effectively.
Vulnerable witness training course
The vulnerable witness training course is split into three stages:
- online pre-training course – approximately eight hours
- face-to-face training – approximately three hours
- online post-training learning – approximately one hour
The course uses a case study of a Crown Court trial to introduce you to:
- the concept of ground rules hearings
- the use of written questions for vulnerable witnesses
The Crown Court procedure is almost identical to what happens in the magistrates’ court and Youth Court, so the course is relevant to all solicitor advocates.
You must complete all three stages of the course.
Online pre-training course
We recommend you take between six and eight hours to read the case study, consider it carefully and prepare written questions.
You’ll be asked to provide your written questions at least a week before you attend the face-to-face training.
This reflects the way ground rules hearings work in court, where written questions must be sent to all parties before any hearing takes place.
You must also make sure you spend enough time thinking about the case study, so you have a good understanding of any factual or tactical issues that may come up during training.
The face-to-face training takes three hours and is divided into three stages:
- discussing some of the 20 principles of questioning, and how they may be applied to the case study
- peer reviewing delegates’ questions, with a chance to redraft and discuss other prepared written questions
- taking part in an informal advocacy exercise, allowing you to put the 20 principles of questioning into practice
Online post-training learning
The post-training learning takes approximately one hour. It includes watching a series of videos and reading a document.
When you complete your face-to-face training, you’ll be sent an email with a unique link to access the online training resources through Law Society Learning.
Once all three stages are complete, “Advocacy and the Vulnerable” will be added to your Find a Solicitor profile.
What you’ll learn
The course will teach you how to:
- analyse your own written questions
- analyse others’ written questions
- pick up on different styles of questioning
- use practical methods of cross-examination in your client’s best interest
- establish the correct facts while complying with agreed standards
The course will also give you the opportunity to speak to other solicitor advocates, QCs and senior junior barristers and share advice on undertaking effective cross-examination.
If you have any questions about advocacy training, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're working with young clients, you may also be interested in the SRA's resources on youth court advocacy.