Working Party on the Method of Teaching Advocacy

Report by Stephen Lloyd (January 2018)

Introduction

In 2016, the Inns of Court College of Advocacy commissioned a working party to review the teaching of advocacy by the Inns and circuits with the following terms of reference:

  1. To review the working of “the Hampel Method” of training, in advocacy courses for pupils
  2. To review the methods of training used in advanced advocacy courses including New Practitioner courses
  3. To make recommendations consequent on such reviews.

The members of the working party are practising trainers with experience of teaching on courses for pupils, new practitioners and of training new trainers and are identified in the schedule.

The working party has reviewed written material disseminated within the respective Inns or on Circuit for the guidance of trainers, papers relating to the teaching method or alternatives and sought information from those involved with the delivery of advocacy courses in England and Wales. There has been the opportunity to consult in writing or in meetings with representatives from Scotland and Northern Ireland and a number of overseas jurisdictions. There has also been a number of individual representations. The working party is very grateful to all who have taken time to contribute to this exercise.

Summary

We find the Hampel Method [the Method] continues to be the bedrock of training on the Pupils’ courses run by the Inns and Circuits with only minor modification when required; it remains the most effective way to communicate the basic techniques of advocacy and we recommend no change at this level.

On New Practitioner (NPP) courses, specialist and advanced advocacy courses there is greater diversity in how training is delivered. We consider that it must be regarded by course providers as a given that they use only trainers who have the advocacy skills and experience and the training skills and experience to deliver such courses. Subject to that important caveat, we consider that it can and it should be left to course providers to select their most effective trainers and left to the experience of the trainers to match their teaching style to the task in hand. Trainers on such courses are in the main (although not exclusively) experienced trainers and teacher trainers and therefore the underlying principles of the Method generally remain intact even if the manner of delivery may be less structured. The provision of an effective advanced course requires an holistic approach to setting up the role-plays to ensure that there are sufficient challenges for the trainees (as exemplified by the successful deployment of “Advanced Hampel” – see below).

Background

A concise history of advocacy training in England and Wales is set out in the annex hereto. In short during the latter part of the twentieth century there was a recognition that advocacy, like any other performance skill, could be improved through training and for the last 25 years or so teaching according to a structured method (in this paper called simply “the Method”) has been at the centre of such training. During that period changes in the regulatory requirements in respect of entry into the profession and continuing education mean that attendance at courses which used to be voluntary for pupils and young practitioners has now become compulsory. There are increasing moves towards the provision of courses focussing on advanced advocacy and specialist areas such as dealing with expert evidence and questioning through interpreters.

The delivery of all courses post call to the Bar is the responsibility of the Inns and circuits Their professional staff deal with the administration and provide the necessary rooms and equipment, however the actual training is done by members of the practising bar and judiciary who provide their services on a pro bono basis.

Trainers are recruited from experienced advocates (normally a minimum of 7 years in practice is required) and all are required to be trained in, and to have shown a sufficient mastery of, the Method and to command sufficient professional and personal skills to enable them to train effectively. When resources permit, trainers team-teach (which also enables more experienced trainers to mentor the newer recruits) and senior trainers rove around the groups to ensure the maintenance of standards and consistency of advice.

Brief Description of the Method as used for Newly Qualified

In summary the Method involves a role play exercise, using specifically prepared exercises in which the trainee is required to prepare (in advance) and then perform a specific task – e.g. the examination in chief of a witness – which is then reviewed by the trainer. The trainer assesses the level of skill of the trainee, selects a specific point which he or she believes can be improved, and who then reviews the performance in the following manner:

  1. Identifying the topic to be addressed (HEADLINE)
  2. An illustration of the headlined matter quoting the trainee’s own words (PLAYBACK)
  3. Explains why the topic is being addressed (RATIONALE OR REASON)
  4. Explains how to improve the performance (REMEDY)
  5. Demonstrates how to apply the Remedy (DEMONSTRATION)
  6. A further short performance by the pupil to confirm that he or she has understood the message (REPLAY/DELAYED REPLAY)

The role play exercise is performed in small groups (with an optimal size of 6 or 8) who therefore hear the reviews given to the others. Members of the group also play the role of witness; being questioned is itself a significant learning experience.

The Method can be used to enable basic errors to be identified and eradicated (e.g. leading inappropriately) but is equally effective in improving the competent beginner. For the latter reason trainers are encouraged not to refer to identifying errors but always to finding ways to improve. Trainers are also encouraged to couch their training in positive language, recognising trainees as fellow professionals and building their confidence in newly acquired skills. This has sometimes been misunderstood as a discouragement to praise the good performance; well merited praise has its place and when well used is an effective confidence booster but trainers are discouraged from insincere or routine approval of performances which in truth can and should be improved. The trainees are there to improve their skills and the trainers are there to assist that improvement.

If the provider has access to video equipment then the trainee is able to see him or herself in action immediately after the formal review. This should be a private session with another trainer in an adjacent room, and is less structured. It may involve reinforcing the room review where it is necessary to do so, or dealing with a stylistic point or another point of substance or something that arises from the trainee’s case analysis. It is not unusual for the trainer to find that the trainee is quick to identify points for discussion and, unless there are more important issues to consider, such self- diagnosis is very much to be encouraged.

Advocacy courses are not a substitute for effective pupillage; they supplement pupillage and many chambers provide in-house advocacy training for their pupils using as trainers members who have been trained by their Inn or Circuit. It is also important to emphasise that any advocacy training course will be supplemented by other elements such as case analysis sessions, lectures and demonstrations, and so forth.

The Strengths of the Method

At the root of the Method lie the principles of all good skills training: an assessment of the pupil and the level at which the instruction should be pitched; the selection of a single point (possibly from many) which needs to be addressed; the focussing of the pupil on that one point following the six stages set out above. Its genius has been to encapsulate those principles in a structure which is effective, easily communicated to new trainers, simple (for most) to put into practice and capable of being monitored so that standards of training are maintained.

The existence of a structured approach to the conduct of the pupils’ advocacy course, and effective monitoring of the teaching is also important given that the grant or withholding of a Provisional Qualification Certificate by the BSB depends on an assessment of that pupil’s performance during the course. This imports into what would otherwise be purely a coaching exercise an element of examination upon the outcome of which the pupil’s ability to commence independent practice is dependant.

The Limitations of the Method

Given that the Method was and remains the only teaching skill introduced to the Inns and Circuits, it was perhaps inevitable that it would be regarded as a universal route to the successful delivery of all advocacy training: a ‘one size fits all’ technique from which the slightest deviation would spell ruin. The reality however is that, despite its manifest strengths, the Method sometimes needs to be applied flexibly to meet the needs of particular types of advocacy or when working with the more advanced advocate. This is not to abandon the Method, simply to apply its fundamental principles to the needs of a particular situation.

The Method works superbly well in inculcating the basic techniques deployed in examination-in-chief and cross-examination. In such exercises it is possible to pick out individual questions put by the trainee which are too long, too complex, too wide, inappropriately leading, unnecessarily open and so forth, and these form the basis of the review.

However, some trainers find it difficult to apply the Method to narrative advocacy and tend to unfocussed or ineffective reviews. At the root of many shortcomings in performance is a defective structure to the submissions but the ethos of the Method remains valid, in particular assessing the pupil, selecting a limited point to review, focussing the attention of the pupil on that point and clear advice how to improve. However playback may have to take the form of a summary of the structure (or lack of structure) in the pupil’s submission, demonstration may have to give way to a description of how the submission could have been more effectively structured and replay may be impractical unless the trainee is given time to re-prepare. It seems fairly clear that many trainers have dealt with this by simply adapting the Method on an ad hoc basis.

In Australia, some other jurisdictions, and in some of the Inns, a delayed replay is used not just for narrative advocacy sessions but also for witness handling because the use of a delayed replay gives the trainee an opportunity to re-word or re-order their questions or indeed to alter their whole approach to the witness (e.g. to get to the point more effectively).

Feedback from the trainees and trainers to delayed replay is very positive where it is adopted and the observation is frequently made that with instant replay the pupil simply parrots the trainer’s question just demonstrated. However there is a contrary view expressed by others that, particularly for the raw beginner or those who lack confidence, the simple act of articulating a well formed and appropriate question is in itself an effective learning experience, and in any event that one must not lose sight of the fact that replay is simply to test whether the lesson has been understood, which it is better to address immediately: there is a difference between testing whether a pupil has understood what he or she has been told and testing whether the point has been fully mastered which may well take a great deal of practice (cf the contribution of the Australian Advocacy Institute below).

It seems to us that both observations are valid and essentially reflect two different situations. If the trainee is being reviewed on a point of basic technique then it is almost certainly better to make sure immediately that the review has been understood (if not, then it needs to be repeated) but if the objective of the review is more sophisticated, then an immediate replay may not be needed or indeed practical. A well-structured course will give a pupil a number of opportunities to practise the same skills and bring what they have been taught into their preparation; whether that is done as a further opportunity to do the same exercise, or in a different exercise seems to us a matter for course organisers. We recognise that delayed replay is increasingly favoured by trainers and trainees but we see no reason to remove the immediate replay from the Method as a matter of principle or to discourage trainers from concluding their reviews with an immediate replay where, given the nature of the exercise or the content of the review, it will serve a useful purpose even if an opportunity for delayed reply has been built into the course.

Developments in the Inns and Circuits and Advanced Hampel

It was perhaps inevitable that the undoubted merits of the Method would lead to its adoption with all the uncritical zeal of the convert. For some time there was, and in some quarters there still is, a reluctance to recognise that the Method is not, and was never intended to be, the only way to teach advocacy skills, particularly on NPP and specialist courses. To some extent this has been fostered by a reluctance to loosen the discipline on trainers that the Method imposes and seeing it as risking a return to diffuse and ineffective teaching that used to pass as advocacy training, but in truth it reflects an over reliance on the structure of the Method and a failure to reflect on the teaching principles that underlie it (see paragraph 12 above). It carries the very real risk that the trainer remains trapped in the basics or is reduced to nit-picking simply because it is thought that the Method will not otherwise work: the training thereby gets stuck at too basic a level and misses the chance to move the trainee on. It is also the case that on longer courses, over exposure to the Method (however well delivered) becomes tedious and so less effective.

These dangers have not gone unrecognised, particularly in respect of the New Practitioner Courses run by the Inns and Circuits.

In Middle Temple, for the pupil course, the Method is used without modification in respect of witness handling and for narrative advocacy. The exercises comprise a mix of criminal and civil papers and are common to all participants. The course is a full-time two-week course and includes lectures and court visits in addition to the practical exercises. At NPP level separate courses are provided in crime, civil, and family and there is also a course for the employed bar; new practitioners make their selection according to their chosen area of practice On the NPP courses the trainers (all of whom are highly experienced and in the main also teacher trainers) have been free to adapt their teaching as they think fit. If a trainee is still weak on the basics (which can be the case particularly for those civil practitioners whose practices do not include frequent witness actions) the Method is still used. However if the basics are in place the trainer will be looking to improve the way they are deployed. This can be summarised as IDENTIFY, DISCUSS, COACH and ADVISE. The trainer identifies a single topic for review (e.g. challenging an inconsistent statement) will discuss the tactic and objective, work with the trainee to re-question the witness (coaching) and then give practical advice on how to prepare for such questioning (making notes marking up bundles and so forth). The lesson will be addressed to the group as a whole, including the witness who for example may be asked how effective the questioning had been from the perspective of the witness. Time allowed for each participant is more flexible although trainers are careful to ensure that all participants get a fair allocation of time over the day.

Inner Temple adopts the Method for its pupil course providing video reviews for most sessions and always a delayed replay. The same method is used for witness handling and for narrative advocacy, and they insist on trainers always providing a demonstration in the narrative advocacy sessions. On its NPP courses it deploys a refinement of the Method known as “Advanced Hampel” introduced by Professor Hampel in seminars on teaching advanced advocacy organised by Inner Temple in 2013 and again in 2014 and attended by representatives of all the Inns. The Inn follows the Australian Advocacy Institute’s method closely. A key element in Advanced Hampel is to have the trainee explain to the trainer and the rest of the group what the trainee will be saying in their closing narrative about the issue they seek to deal with when asking questions of the witness. This emphasises the importance of proper case analysis and the requirement that questions are only asked for the purposive intent of providing material for their closing submissions. A second trainer acts as witness and can adapt his answers, where necessary, either to expose a weakness in the way the questions are asked or in the case analysis; it allows the trainer witness to gear up to the skill shown by the trainee and prevents a wasted exercise where the trainee is not sufficiently tested so that improvements can be made to his/her skills. Following the performance the review normally begins with finding out whether the trainee felt that they had achieved their aim in such a way that leads naturally into the trainer providing the headline and conducting the review. This method can be adopted for even the most experienced advocates and allows them to feel that they have been responsible for finding their own review point. The New Practitioner courses are modelled round either a medical or accountancy expert problem with witness handling of other lay witnesses and adapted to civil and criminal streams with experts rather than trainers acting as the expert witness.

In Lincoln’s Inn, at all levels of training from Pupils to Established Practitioners, it is a mandatory requirement that all their advocacy trainers have received satisfactory training in the Method; which is applied strictly as the teaching model for the Pupil course. Until recently on the New Practitioners advocacy course a more relaxed application of the model was applied (nicknamed “Hampel-lite”) – which featured similar variations as those described in paragraph 23 above along with “Delayed Replay” – but in and from the current academic year commencing October 2017 Lincoln’s Inn has reinforced use of the traditional Method whilst introducing the “Advanced Hampel” training technique; in which the advocate is asked first to define his/her goal before the advocate’s witness questioning commences. Given the historic link with Chancery the statistical majority of New Practitioners at Lincoln’s Inn tend to have less experience of witness handling, and much more experience of interim applications and appeals, than their counterparts at the other Inns; and so the use of the Method is the predominant coaching technique.

Gray’s Inn deploys a strict application of the Method on its pupil course irrespective of the subject matter of the module being taught. It has found that the Method, as originally promulgated, works successfully in achieving an excellent rate of return on its NPP courses. The advocacy elements of NPP courses are tailored to 3 different practice areas, Crime, Civil and Family and founded upon witness handling of lay and psychiatric expert witnesses, in exercises in which the witnesses are new practitioners or newly practising psychiatrists wishing to develop skills to include medico-legal work. For its NPP courses, Gray’s uses only the highest grades of trainer whose experience in using the method enables effective reviews to be given suiting not only those new practitioners for whom a few years in practice has seen a great deal of advocacy and witness handling but also those for whom going to court is very rare. As the smallest Inn, Gray’s probably has the smallest pool of trainers and there is a “resources” benefit in having a set of teaching skills for advocacy which is consistent as applied by all trainers from the least to the most experienced.

Each Circuit is independent and responsible for delivery of its own courses (although two circuits have an informal arrangement for mutual assistance). A fairly consistent picture emerges of a strict application of the Method for teaching at pupil level for witness handling and no circuit reported any significant resistance to this either from trainers or from pupils (on the contrary it is well received by both). The Western Circuit values the immediacy of instant Replay and finds it helps to build confidence in the pupil, making the point that delayed replay can add stress and lead to the pupil over-thinking the issue.

In respect of narrative advocacy at pupil level the approach was more varied but all tried to apply the Method as far as possible. On the Midland Circuit trainers are encouraged to leave time for a group discussion at the end of the session on the points that have arisen but this is an add-on not a substitute. The Western Circuit seemed to give its trainers the most leeway particularly as to whether or not to include a demonstration.

As to the circuits’ several NPP courses, again a fairly consistent picture emerges of taking the Method as the starting point but where experienced and able trainers are able to deliver effective training in their own way strict application of the method is not insisted upon. It is clear that the Method is not universally regarded as suitable for teaching at this level and some very able practitioners who would not be suitable for teaching at pupil level but are highly valued for their skill at NPP level or above, would not be willing to be involved with training if they were constrained to use it.

The South Eastern Circuit have for many years run their Advanced International Advocacy Course (Keble) which is unique in England and Wales in that it comprises a week long residential course, is not confined to those in the early years of practice (although attendance meets the NPP requirement) and attracts international participation by students and trainers. Its training specification has until this year required the use of the Method for witness handling and the first four elements of the Method for narrative advocacy with demonstration/discussion and delayed replay either later the same day or the day following; however last year (2017) the use of Advanced Hampel was successfully encouraged. The feedback from participants (summarised in Annex 2) has vindicated this change, with some cautionary notes about the continued importance of a clear headline and a clear exposition of remedy. Subject to that adaptation (and video review) trainers are expected to adhere to the Method and to maintain consistent standards. Almost all sessions involve a video review and video reviewers are left free to develop the video review as they think most useful.

The Bar Council approved a vulnerable witnesses programme to be rolled out nationally principally for the advocates at the criminal bar. This did not involve role play exercises assessed by the Method; all other considerations apart the numbers required to attend within a short time frame would have made this impractical. However this is a topic which may well lend itself to intensive small group training where the Method can be deployed very effectively, as was demonstrated by a vulnerable witnesses module run for some years by South Eastern Circuit at Keble.

2014 Conference

The second half of the 2014 Advocacy Training Conference was devoted to a consideration of the Method and its application. Most of the questions which delegates were asked to address (working in small discussion groups) were couched in terms of whether the Method should be changed, relaxed or otherwise modified, rather than whether a complementary method of teaching should be developed for use where the Method was unsuitable, and the responses need to be interpreted with that in mind.

The continued use of the Method unaltered for the basics was endorsed and its strengths as an effective teaching tool, capable of being taught and monitored, were universally recognised. However there was a recognition (albeit not universal) that advanced training by experienced trainers called for a looser teaching style.

Scotland and Northern Ireland

In Scotland, entry into the profession is very different; entrants must have practised as solicitors for at least one year; they then attend a five week foundation course during which the Method is used and strictly applied after which the Devils shadow a Devil Master and also sit procedure and evidence papers after which they are called to the Bar and are free to practise. Thereafter their CPD requirement includes 3 hours of advocacy training the manner of delivery of which is tailored on a case-by-case basis.

In Northern Ireland training is delivered both for pre-call students and pupils using the Method. Post call for the early years training the Method is adapted to adopt a more “coaching approach” to the review. Subsequent training is adapted to suit the subject matter of each advanced course.

Other Jurisdictions

The Method was introduced to the Republic of Ireland in 2013/4 and was well received by pupils. They are currently building teaching resources including training all Pupil Masters in the Method. Their experience is that the Method lends itself to any level of expertise, and with more experienced practitioners, trainers look for a more sophisticated analysis or introduce an extra element of difficulty into the exercise.

South Africa has been using the Method since about 1999 and it is used both for pupil courses and course for new and more senior practitioners. The only change has been that where video is used Replay now follows the video review.

North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services uses the Method at all stages from student to practitioner but trainers may add other elements (e.g. drills) and case analysis; it encourages a ‘bring your own case’ program where participants can bring and work on a real case.

In Australia, pre-call training varies from state to state and pupillage is also administered on a state-by-state basis. Therefore, practice may vary but the teaching method in most states follows the Method.

The Bar Association of Queensland offers course to legal practitioners who wish to practise as Barristers and thereafter on the Readers Foundation (first year of practice) CPD workshops (2-5 years) and an Appellate Advocacy Workshop (8 years plus). Training is fluid with trainers being selected for their skill as trainers but being left free as to how they deliver the training.

The Australian Bar Association has dropped Replay from its post-call and pupillage courses but structure trial advocacy courses so that the exercise is repeated at least twice during the course (so if a particular weakness persist the point can be repeated). In general it is less wedded to the five step structure as opposed to a more personalised approach to the trainee and placing reliance on the qualities of the individual coach. Courses for the early years of practice are focused upon the use of a civil case. For more advanced advocates (five years call and later), civil and, criminal cases are used, at the election of the advocate. An appellate advocacy programme is available for those with seven years plus call. The approach to appellate advocacy is quite different being more a simulation of real appellate circumstances at a leave (single judge) and full (multiple judge) hearing level. This requires the use of a high ratio of sitting appellate justices and trainers, to advocates. It remains performance-based training.

The Australian Advocacy Institute

The Australian Advocacy Institute described skills training involving performance review and demonstration as “the gold standard” without which effective advocacy skills training cannot be effectively conducted, whether addressed to the novice or to the more experienced advocate. They keep the teaching method under review. Their present practice is not to have an immediate Replay but to schedule a slot later on in the workshop when the advocate can select one of the points on which he or she has been reviewed and address that point: this is restyled ‘repeat performance’.

The AAI offers a number of different types of workshop ranging from ‘General Skills’ for those just starting out or whose practices give limited opportunity for oral advocacy to ‘Advanced’ and ‘Specialist’ programs. Particular importance is attached to the selection by the trainer of the appropriate review point and on a trainer’s ability to do an effective and concise demonstration. New trainers are mentored by the more experienced and all trainers are reviewed to ensure consistency and to maintain standards. Materials are developed to facilitate the training (not to mimic a ‘real’ set of instructions) and must be tailored to the particular task.

The AAI is cautious about the concept of trying to identify advocacy training methods based around specific groups (and in particular assuming that experience brings a given level of competence) as opposed to directing the key elements of performance review and demonstration to the skill level of the particular participant.

Professor George Hampel

Professor Hampel (expressing the views of himself and HHJ Felicity Hampel S.C.) makes the point that the problem with continuing advanced training is not with the Method but with the culture of the Bar which is not readily receptive to the concept of ongoing training by their peers. That is slowly changing in Australia and workshops are increasingly being attended by silks and senior juniors with excellent feedback; senior barristers and judges who are known as good advocates must show the way. They make the points that case studies must contain sufficient challenges for advanced advocates (but not be unnecessarily long or complex) and the structure of workshops and timetabling must be appropriate for advanced training. They advocate specialist advanced instructor training; trainers must have the ability to teach at the advanced level and in particularly the ability to demonstrate at that level.

The Current Position and Recommendations

The use of the Method in advocacy training has been the key to the undoubted success of the courses run by the Inns and Circuits over the last twenty five years. It remains an essential foundation to the continued success of those courses and to the future development of advocacy training by the profession for the profession. It is clearly right that those joining the profession should be able to draw on the talents and experience of those who have honed their skills over years of successful practice and that those who are already doing the job should, from time to time, be able to refresh or add to their skill base. It is equally clear that communicating those skills requires an additional expertise, i.e. the art of teaching, which the Method has been so successful in facilitating.

As to the teaching of the basic techniques of advocacy, we have found no evidence that anyone has discovered any significant improvement to the Method itself. A particular form of advocacy or a particular point for review may call for ad hoc modification but the Method, which is, or should be, a flexible tool not a blunt instrument is well able to cope with that. Therefore in respect of Pupil Courses we recommend no change.

As to courses in advanced advocacy, whether NPP courses in the early years of practice, or specialist courses, it is clear that there has been some diversity of approach but we consider this to be a sign of good health. To attempt to be prescriptive in respect of an advanced or specialist courses can only serve to stifle initiative and be counterproductive.

We respectfully agree with the Hampels that the danger to advanced training lies in the attitude of the profession, the members of which must be confident that the courses for which they give up their time (whether to teach or be taught) are relevant and helpful. The growing adoption of ‘Advanced Hampel’ (requiring trainees to set an objective and then meet it) is an excellent example of how to pitch a course at a more demanding level; the manner of teaching remaining basically unchanged. The same is true of courses which are built around the use of real experts, professional interpreters or witnesses with special needs. However, that said, achieving an effective outcome is what matters and, when trainees are already proficient and experienced advocates looking to hone their skills, discussion and debate can be illuminating and should be accommodated. The danger is that, with a weak or inexperienced trainer, departing from the discipline of the Method can lead to a lack of focus from which the trainee and the group gain little or nothing. However the trainers on advanced courses will, or should, be, not only skilled advocates but trainers with an established track record of effective training. Again we agree with the Hampels that it is crucial to the effectiveness of a trainer at this level that he or she has the ability and the willingness to give a demonstration in support of a review. Subject to those points we respectfully consider that it can and should be left to course providers to select their most effective trainers and left to the experience of the trainers to match their teaching style to the task in hand.

Schedule

  • Stephen Lloyd (Middle Temple) (Chairman)
  • David Dabbs (Lincoln’s Inn)
  • HH Judge Leonard QC (Inner Temple)
  • Bernard Richmond QC and Paul Stanley QC (Middle Temple)
  • Christopher Russell (Gray’s Inn)

Annex 1: History of Advocacy Training in the Inns and Circuits

The Professional Statement for Barristers published by the Bar Standards Board includes, as one of the Threshold Standards and Competences which any Barrister must possess on ‘day one’ of practice, ‘Persuasive oral advocacy skills’ (Professional Statement for Barristers paragraph 1.15).

That has not always been the case. Until comparatively recently, for those wishing to practise at the independent Bar, the only compulsory requirement for further training after call to the Bar was the completion of twelve months pupillage with a practising barrister. It was expected that a newly called barrister would acquire advocacy skills by working with his or her pupil supervisor (as they are now called) and observing advocacy as practised in the courts. During the second six months the pupil was permitted to accept work on his or her own account and would begin to build a practice; even during this period it would be unusual for the pupil to be observed by his or her pupil master (unless the pupil master was involved in the same case) and if the pupil received any feedback on his or her advocacy it would be informal from friendly (or not so friendly) opponents or Judges. There was some assistance to be had in the form of debates or moots, and from exercises run in the Inns by practitioners, participation in which was voluntary. The prevalent view was that oral advocacy as a performance skill was either a natural talent or one to be acquired by experience and that it could not be taught.

During the latter part of the twentieth century that view was changing and there was recognition that advocacy, like any other performance skill, could be improved through training. The breakthrough came in 1993 when, on the invitation of Gray’s Inn, Professor George Hampel, then a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria headed up a team of three to hold two weekend courses demonstrating a structured method of teaching the basic techniques of oral advocacy. All four Inns were invited to send representatives. The teaching method, was adopted by the four Inns which then organised (both jointly and severally) further training courses using the nucleus of persons trained by the Hampel team thereby building up workable numbers of advocacy trainers from the practising bar and bench working pro bono in the evenings and at weekends to man advocacy courses for pupils and young practitioners. In due course the training of trainers was taken out to the circuits and introduced to a number of other jurisdictions. Given the manner of its introduction, the teaching method became colloquially known in the Inns and on circuit as ‘the Hampel Method’ (not a description ever claimed by Professor Hampel) however it was developed by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy in America. Both before and after the Hampel visit, a number of the members of the Bar participated in the NITA courses.

During the 20 years since its introduction the Method has become the standard way of teaching oral advocacy. During that period the role of the Inns and circuits in providing post qualification training has been recognised, as has the value of providing a safe space for advocates to practise and develop their performance skills under the supervision and guidance of experienced and successful members of the Bar and Bench. Courses that were originally voluntary have now become mandatory for pupils and for new practitioners. Courses, particularly at post pupil stage, have become more sophisticated being increasingly tailored to different areas of practice and there has been recognition of the need for advocates to develop specialist skills for example in the examination and cross examination of vulnerable witnesses. We anticipate there will be increasing demand for training at advanced level or for specialist skills such as dealing with expert witness, working through interpreters and so forth.

Annex 2: Feedback from participants on the 2017 Keble course

Trainee required to specify (i) the intended objective in examination in chief or cross examination or (ii) how they would use the point in their final speech.
92% Very Helpful / 5% Somewhat Helpful

The success of the trainer in identifying a point to focus on improving.
70% Always or Nearly Always / 30% Mostly

The success of the trainer in identifying a remedy.
65% Always or nearly always / 30% Mostly

Faculty acting as witnesses.
95% Helpful / 5% Unhelpful

Trainee acting as witness during the demonstration by the trainer.
62% Helpful / 24% Neutral / 14% Unhelpful and would prefer to watch the demonstration

Time allowed per trainee (15 minutes).
97% About Right