Centre for Advocacy
Unit(s) of assessment: Law
School: Nottingham Law School
Welcome to the Centre for Advocacy at Nottingham Law School. The Centre for Advocacy builds upon Nottingham Law School's expertise in the design and delivery of advocacy training and aims to promote and develop the study of the practice and training of advocates.
Courtroom advocates play a crucial role in society. Courtrooms are the arenas in which an individual's rights and liberties are tested. It is the duty of the advocate to make sure that their client's interests are presented accurately, ethically and persuasively. The Centre for Advocacy aims to work with outside agencies to design training and assessment activities which ensure that standards are maintained. By carrying out research into the qualities which make for an effective advocate, the Centre aims to promote international discourse between all those with an interest in advocacy, with the objective of informing policy in this area. It also aims to increase opportunities for students on undergraduate and postgraduate courses to practise and understand advocacy as a key skill in their development as a lawyer.
Nottingham Law School was for many years the UK arm of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA). The School was one of the first providers of Higher Rights of Audience for Solicitors in England and Wales, and from the inception of the scheme in 1994 it has provided Higher Rights of Audience training and assessment to a variety of international law firms and individual solicitors in both criminal and civil advocacy, with pass rates averaging nearly 90% during the relevant periods.
In 1997 the School became one of the first providers to offer a Bar Vocational Course outside of the Inns of Court. Since the inception of the new SRA Higher Rights of Audience Regulations 2010, the School has concentrated on bespoke advocacy training and assessment.
The expertise of the Law School in the education of advocates is well known beyond the United Kingdom. For a number of years, we have taught at the Judicial and Legal Training Institute, for the Attorney General of Malaysia. In 2012 Nottingham Law School became the first institution in Europe to award an LLM in Advocacy Skills, having been commissioned to design a course for His Excellence the Attorney General of Malaysia (See news and events in 2011 below for further information).
Advocacy training and assessment is also at the heart of many of the commercial courses provided by the School to a number of law firms in the United Kingdom. One example is the Professional Skills Course (PSC) for trainee solicitors, which included extensive advocacy training and an appraisal. We have provided a bespoke shipping and insurance PSC for Ince & Co since 2007.
Internal membership of the Centre consists of Nottingham Trent University staff with an interest in and experience of advocacy. Our external membership consists of senior members of the judiciary and experienced advocates who currently hold posts as visiting professors or fellows at the Law School. For further details, contact Emma Ireton.
SRA Higher Rights of Audience Summer School
The NLS Summer School approach is simple. Advocacy is a skill that is developed over time, with support and constant feedback from fellow advocates. Our HRA programmes have been developed with that approach in mind. Find out more.
News and events
News and events in 2019
Third International Advocacy Conference
Centre for Advocacy, Nottingham Law School in conjunction with The Advocate's Gateway
Advocacy and Vulnerable Witnesses: 20 Years on from the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999
The Conference will be held on Friday 21 June 2019 at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University and aims to bring together all those with an interest in criminal procedure and evidence as well the teaching and development of advocacy skills. The Conference will provide opportunities for trial advocates, members of the judiciary, intermediaries, policy makers, health and social care professionals and academics from around the world to meet and share best practice.
We are delighted to welcome Sir Nicholas Green LJ, Chairman of the Law Commission and former Chairman of the Bar Council and Advocacy Training Council, as our Key Note Speaker.
Call for papers
Proposals are hereby invited for papers and workshops which may include, but are not limited to:
- restriction on the use of previous sexual history evidence, theory and practice
- the effectiveness of special measures in achieving best evidence
- the extent to which vulnerable witnesses (including defendants) can participate effectively in the trial
- the fairness of the use of special measures to the parties
- the operation of Ground Rules Hearings
- international best practices for vulnerable witnesses
- the use of technology to ensure effective participation and modernisation.
News and events in 2017
Advancing Advocacy: Challenges ahead in criminal evidence and procedure
The Centre hosted a one day conference on Friday 23 June for practitioners and academics with an interest in the collection, presentation and assessment of evidence within the Criminal Justice System. The event provided updates on the latest research being conducted across a number of disciplines including Law, Psychology and Linguistics. The conference aimed to help develop an understanding of concepts which will assist practitioners in presenting and challenging evidence in court.
- Dr Lucy Justice, School of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University: Beliefs about memory in the public, police and memory experts.
- Dr Heather Flowe, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University: Alcohol and memory for sexual assault.
- Professor Jonathan Doak, Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University and Lauran Doak, Sheffield Hallam University: Non-verbal witnesses in the adversarial process.
- Dr Georgina Gous, School of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University: “That voice sounds familiar”: Errors in memory for disguised speech.
- Jeremy Robson, Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University: A fair “hearing”: Voice identification, parades and PACE
News and events in 2016
International Advocacy Teaching Conference: The 21st Century Advocate
The Centre hosted the 2016 Advocacy Conference on Friday 24 - Saturday 25 June. Amongst those who attended the were HH Judge Jo Cooper, HH Judge Peter Rook QC, Ian Morley QC, Kenneth Robinson QC, Derek Wood QC, HH Judge Michael Stokes QC and HH Judge Joanna Korner CMG QC.
- Alan Birbeck (LBSU Law School): Aspiring to inspire: student engagement and advocacy teaching
- Dr David Parratt (Crown Office Chambers): The training of instructors using recorded performances
- HH Judge Peter Rook QC (Central Criminal Court): Advocacy and the vulnerable
- Ian Morley QC (23 Essex Street): Teaching case concept
- Jane Jarman and Fiona Carter (Nottingham Law School): "Not only, but also": a CPD strategy for advocacy training in law firms.
- Lynda Gibbs (Inns of Court College of Advocacy): Advocacy and the vulnerable national training programme.
- Nicola Harris (Cardiff University Law School): Assessing advocacy: perspectives on live assessments.
- Adam Jackson, Emma Piasecki and Gemma Davies (Northumbria University Law School): The future of advocacy training in respect of expert evidence: no more 'laissez-faire'?
News and events in 2015
Jeremy Robson’s comment pieces on the Criminal Justice Alliance review 'Structured Mayhem' was published in The Times and The Law Society Gazette.
Congratulations to Visiting Professor, Jo Cooper, on his appointment to the Circuit Bench. HHJ Cooper will sit in Cambridge, Peterborough and Huntingdon. He will continue to play an active part in the life of NLS.
File on Four
Jeremy Robson appeared on BBC Radio 4’s File on Four programme discussing advocacy standards in the CPS.
New Honorary Professor
We are delighted that Iain Morley QC has joined the external faculty as an Honorary Professor. Iain is an internationally respected advocate and advocacy teacher, and is author of the bestselling advocacy guide The Devil’s Advocate.
Lord Chancellor’s speech
Jeremy Robson was quoted in The Times and The Guardian following Michael Gove's first speech as Lord Chancellor. Read the article.
'Human Rights, Law and Religion: Perspectives on the Islamic Face Veil' Seminar
On 30 March 2015 the Centre for Conflict, Rights and Justice, in collaboration with the NLS Centre for Advocacy, hosted a seminar, Perspectives on the Islamic Face Veil, that explored some of the legal and human rights issues surrounding the Islamic face veil – the niqab and the burqa.
The seminar aimed to provide a forum for those with different views and perspectives to engage in the debate in a supportive and collaborative atmosphere. Eight speakers spoke from a range of perspectives over the course of three themed sessions. The day was a great success, demonstrating that even controversial issues can be debated fully and frankly but with respect for opposing views.
Presentations and Speakers
Slides from presentations can be found below:
- Felicity Gerry QC: 'Female Defendants... Perspectives on Open Justice'
- Jeremy Robson: 'The Veil and the Myth of Pinocchio's Nose'
- Professor Jill Marshall: 'Burqa bans and the control or empowerment of identities in European democracies'
News and events in 2014
Nottingham Law School hosts International Advocacy Teaching Conference
The Centre for Advocacy was launched at the International Advocacy Teaching Conference 2014, the first conference to bring together advocates, judges and legal educators from across the professions and from a number of jurisdictions to discuss and debate Advocating standards in advocacy.
Broadcaster and journalist Joshua Rozenberg was a guest speaker at the event. Read Joshua's column in the Law Society Gazette.
Presentations and speakers
Slides from presentations can be found below:
- Mr Justice Green – keynote address: Advocacy - In Peril?
- Lionel Blackman: Extending advocacy skills in the age of the "visual"
- Kenneth Campbell QC: Assessing Advocacy Skills
- Deveral Capps: Feedback to feed forward: Advocacy Training on vocational courses in England and Wales
- Kevin Crawley: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Advocacy Training
- Jeremy Robson: Criminal Advocacy Training after Jeffrey
- HHJ Rook QC: What judges will now expect from advocates in respect of vulnerable witnesses, and how this can be achieved
- Karen Squibb-Williams: One Bar, Many Careers: The A - Z of Advocacy
- Andrew Watson: Teaching Advocacy with History and in Context
- Martin McKay Smith: Preparing CPS Advocates for the Higher Courts
- Professor Robert Dingwall and Dr Sarah Seymour-Smith: Observation and Conversation Analysis
Helen Edwards and Jeremy Robson speak at International Applied Legal Storytelling Conference
Helen Edwards and Jeremy Robson delivered a presentation at the fourth International Legal Storytelling Conference entitled 'How to commit the perfect crime - Designing teaching materials which develop storytelling abilities in trainee advocates.' The presentation was well attended by academics, practitioners and judges from around the world, and provoked interesting discussions on the nature of advocacy training.
News and events in 2011
Advocacy Skills developed for Malaysian law officials
The first Masters devoted purely to advocacy skills outside of the USA has been developed by Nottingham Law School through a collaboration with the Attorney General’s Chambers of Malaysia (AGC).
On the request of the attorney general of Malaysia, the new LLM in Advocacy Skills has been designed and developed exclusively for officers of the AGC as part of their continuing legal education.
Five officers selected from the Deputy Public Prosecutors and Federal Counsel will be undertaking the one year course at Nottingham Law School, part of Nottingham Trent University, this year. A further 12 are already signed up for an autumn 2012 start.
The bespoke course will comprise a variety of practical experience, including role play and mock trials in Nottingham Law School’s own replica courtrooms – with former High Court Judge, Sir Christopher Pitchers, acting as judge in one of the trials.
The students will also take part in sessions with Nottingham Trent University’s psychology and forensic science departments to enhance their skills in cross-examining witnesses.
The Honourable Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, attorney general of Malaysia, said: “The principal reason Nottingham Trent University was chosen to conduct this programme is the excellent standing and expertise of its Nottingham Law School in the teaching of advocacy skills. Officers from the AGC that have had the privilege of attending other such courses organised by the university have benefitted greatly from the transfer of knowledge and skills.”
Dean of Nottingham Law School, Professor Andrea Nollent, said: “This is the first time a Masters qualification in advocacy has been offered outside America. We have an excellent existing relationship with Malaysia’s law professionals and it was a pleasure to develop this unique course to support them in enhancing their skills.”
Jeremy Robson, course leader, said: “Nottingham Law School has long been recognised as providing some of the highest quality advocacy training in the country and I am delighted that this has been recognised internationally. I am very keen that we explore the opportunity to open this course to others in due course, either in its entirety or using the material as the basis for short courses. There are various changes being made to how advocacy is conducted in court and I believe there will be greater demand for training from professions other than the Bar.”
Membership of the Centre is open to all University academic staff with an interest in and experience of advocacy. The Centre is pleased to be able to draw upon the expertise of those in other disciplines who have expertise in this subject.
Honorary / Visiting Professors
- His Honour Judge Jo Cooper
- His Honour Judge Gregory Dickinson QC
- The Hon. Justice Iain Morley QC
- His Honour Judge Avik Mukherjee
- His Honour Judge Jason Reece
- His Honour Judge Shaun Smith QC
- His Honour Michael Stokes QC
- Iain Goldrein QC
- Sarah Whitehouse QC
- Alastair Hodge
Nottingham Law Journal
Nottingham Law School publishes the Nottingham Law Journal. The journal was founded in 1977 (as the Trent Law Journal), changing to its current title in 1992. It is peer-reviewed and normally published annually.