Excellence in Advocacy

News and Events

Latest news:

ICCA's Expert Evidence Training Conference – July 2017

The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) is hosting a one-day-training event focusing on the handling of expert witnesses. The syllabus has been created in consultation with a number of Specialists Bar Associations (SBAs).

The training will take place on: Saturday 22 July 2017 (9am to 5pm) at the Rutledge Suite, Middle Temple Lane, London, EC4Y 9AT.

The course is suitable for Practitioners over 5 years’ call with:

  • A Chancery/commercial practice (expert accounting)
  • A medical negligence practice (forensic psychiatry)

Derek Wood CBE QC and Simon Readhead QC will deliver keynote addresses on the day. Master Wood will cover the work ICCA has been doing on research and development in the area of expert evidence and Simon Readhead will focus on cross-examination of experts.

Please follow this link to download the full schedule. The day will include a case study on each specialist area, case analysis, lectures, and training on cross-examination with real experts. This event is equivalent to 8.5 hours CPD.

Click here for more details and to book your place.


The Council of the Inns of Court is hiring!

COIC is looking for an exceptional project manager familiar with the latest educational techniques. Working with a skilled Project Team, the post holder will play a lead role in developing and launching a wholly new and radically innovative Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC).

If successful, the post holder will be able to take pride in having made a real difference to the education of Barristers in England and Wales – improving flexibility, accessibility and affordability while ensuring high standards in the delivery of training.

Full details on how to apply and a role description are available here.


Our Access to Justice for Vulnerable People Conference, deemed a success

The Advocate’s Gateway second international conference: Access to Justice for Vulnerable People took place on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd June 2017 at the Law Society in London. The event was praised by delegates who found it an insightful and useful forum in which to learn and network.

Across the two days, an inspiring array of speakers presented ground breaking research, imparted their knowledge on vulnerability-related-subjects ranging from:

  • international perspectives and innovations across different jurisdictions
  • the pre-trial stage
  • young defendants
  • women in the Criminal Justice System
  • Legal rights and responsibilities
  • effective participation
  • autism and communication
  • special measures and  the use of intermediaries
  • comparative responses to vulnerability, as well as
  • the latest developments in Criminal Justice proceedings

The full programme for detail on sessions and speakers can be found here.

This second international conference led by The Advocate’s Gateway and funded by The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA), explored the access to justice combining and expanding interdisciplinary research and practitioner knowledge to encourage innovation and best practice. Facilitating an international networking exercise as well as, knowledge and practice sharing and the proper presentation of such cases globally.

An engaged audience

  • Sessions were widely discussed on twitter (#TAG17Conf hashtag) where delegates highlighted key points and advice to practitioners and researchers such as:
  • "…there have been many positive changes on the treatment of vulnerable people in the Criminal Justice System, however findings suggest that despite these, we still have a way to go.”;
  • “…there’s a need for a clearer definition of vulnerability, universal ground rules - and a review of basic advocacy training”; “…there should be mandatory disability training for lawyers and judges…”;
  • “…it is very important that ABE interviews are conducted in a coherent manner for vulnerable people…”;
  • “…whether you have a diagnosed vulnerability or not, being an unrepresented defendant makes you vulnerable...”;
  • “…trauma places vulnerable people at a disadvantage in trial due to testimony gaps and inconsistencies then exploited during cross-examination…”
  • And what seemed to sum up the conference’s spirit: “…new guidance must be always backed up by peer reviewed research.”

Forthcoming publication

The many areas of knowledge and research presented and discussed will be compiled in the conference’s resulting book to be published before the end of the year. Keep visiting these pages for more details and updates on when the book will be available.

For more details please get in touch via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


New Youth Justice Advocacy Materials

The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) has created a suite of materials to help practitioners improve standards of advocacy in the youth justice system.

The resources include five guides and a short film. All the materials are available on the ICCA website: www.icca.ac.uk/youth-justice-advocacy

The guides address some of the most complex areas of practice in youth justice. These cover:

  • First hearings in the youth court
  • Bail and remand
  • Anonymity and reporting restrictions
  • Sentencing of young offenders
  • Application for Certificate of Assigned Advocate

The accompanying film is entitled “Youth Justice Advocacy - Communicating Effectively with Children” and addresses communication and engagement with children in the criminal justice system.

The Youth Proceedings Competences issued by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) governs practice in the youth justice system, communication and engagement is one of the five BSB's Youth Proceedings Competences.

Follow this link to find out more.


Advocacy and the Vulnerable – Training for Barristers

Inner Temple will be running two Advocacy and the Vulnerable training sessions for barristers on Saturday 17 June 2017. This training will be delivered free of charge and is open to all Barristers of all four Inns.

Please book by 26 May 2017 by visiting: innertemple.org.uk/vulnerable

The Advocacy and the Vulnerable national training programme has been designed by His Honour Judge Rook QC, the Bar Council and the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) to ensure that all advocates, when dealing with vulnerable witnesses, understand the key principles behind the approach to and questioning of vulnerable people in the justice system. 

Training is being delivered by the Inns and Circuits and sessions will be led by barristers and judges who have been trained to facilitate these 3-hour sessions. It is anticipated that Advocacy and the Vulnerable training will become mandatory for any advocate wishing to undertake publicly funded work in serious sexual offence cases involving vulnerable witnesses.

Date: Saturday 17 June

Venue: Inner Temple

Fee: FREE

CPD: Course equivalent to 3 CPD hours plus 8 CPD hours for advance preparation


s.28 recorded cross-examination protocol 

The s.28 recorded cross-examination protocol has been extended to cover 16 -18 year olds and is being piloted in Liverpool, Leeds and Kingston. This group of witnesses is usually only vulnerable by age and therefore will not necessarily require verbatim questions to be provided in advance. These witnesses are more able to withstand a traditional cross-examination.

In one of the pilot courts, a decision has been taken that ‘everything is case specific but generally speaking, topics, as opposed to draft verbatim questions will be sufficient for these older teenage witnesses’.

The ‘20 Principles’, in their current form, may prove to be too restrictive and therefore a more relaxed approach can be taken in these instances.

There will be further considerations when the s.28 scheme is piloted to cover all adult victims in sex cases. The pilot will take place in three court centres, following that a decision will be made as to whether the protocol is to be rolled out nationally.

Please keep visiting these pages for further updates.


TAG’s 2nd International Conference 

The Advocate’s Gateway Second International Conference will take place on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd June 2017 at the Law Society, Chancery Lane, London. This year's conference will be entitled: Access to Justice for Vulnerable People

Attending the conference

The conference programme spanned over two days (2nd and 3rd of June) with keynote addresses, plenary sessions, panel and breakout sessions. Follow this link to download the full programme.

Follow @TAG_Advocacy on Twitter and join the conversation via #TAG17Conf


Pan-profession section 28 and the ‘advocacy and the vulnerable’ national training programme

A feature on the united approach to questioning is featuring on the latest edition of Counsel Magazine.

Following on from the Section 28 pilot, "Advocacy and the vulnerable” is gaining traction with over 300 facilitators who will deliver training to over 14,000 criminal advocates over the next two years. Courses will be offered by Circuits, each of the four Inns, the CBA, the Law Society and the CPS.

The programme has enabled the bringing together of strands of learning, practice and thought, which have been building over the years and which must now be reflected in how each advocate in England and Wales should be trained to approach the vulnerable. It is hoped that it will bring about the “sea change” required in gaining the specialist skills needed to effectively deal with vulnerability in the courts.

Read the full feature on Counsel Magazine


COIC & ICCA new offices!

The Council of the Inns of Court (COIC) and its subsidiary organisation, the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) have moved offices. The new address is: Ground Floor, 9 Gray's Inn Square, London WC1R 5JD. Please share our new postal address with members within your organisation and ensure your records get updated. All of our phone numbers and email addresses remain the same.

The new offices are located within the same building which currently houses the Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service (BTAS), also part of COIC. The move will help all COIC’s teams to work even in a more integrated way.


BSB's Future Bar Training Consultation - Please comment on the Inns’/Bar Council Proposal

It is vital that as many people as possible respond to the latest Bar Standards Board’s ‘Future Bar Training’ (FBT) consultation closing on 23 December 2016. Follow this link for more details on the model supported by the Inns of Court and the Bar Council.  

We encourage you to respond directly to the BSB and when you do, please also comment on Inns/Bar Council model so as to enable the BSB to properly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of all proposals.


 Vulnerability & Power - Maintaining the Balance: The Client's Perspective Conference

Our first annual conference took place last Saturday and was praised by delegates who found it an insightful and useful forum in which to learn and network.

Throughout the day, an inspiring collection of speakers imparted their knowledge on vulnerability-related-subjects ranging from the pre-trial stage, communicating through interpreters, immigration, autism, family law, disability, prisoners, addictions, intermediaries for defendants and mental health.

The event was widely discussed on twitter (#ICCA16Conf hashtag) where delegates highlighted key points and advice to advocates such as: "…do not lose your sense of outrage.... let your eyes see what they should see.”; “…procedure does not override statutory and convention rights [to fair trial]…"; “…experts should help to effect the justice system, not affect the judicial outcome...” and what seemed to sum up the spirit of the day: “…there should always be the same tools available to vulnerable defendants than there are for witnesses.

For more details please get in touch via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Barnahus - Improving the response to child sexual abuse in England

From spring 2017, child victims of sexual abuse, will be able to give their evidence in the safety of a Child House ('Barnahus') at two London locations, radically altering the traditional way in which evidence is taken from child victims. For more information, please see the Barnahus report from the Children's Commissioner. More details via issue 65 of the Youth Justice Board bulletin.


An evening with Stuart Tipple

As part of ICCA’s research into the use of expert evidence, the Expert Witness Institute (EWI) hosted an evening with Stuart Tipple, one of Australia’s most well-known criminal defence lawyers with unparalleled expertise in the use of expert evidence.

Introduced by Professor Penny Cooper, Chair of the Advocate’s Gateway; Mr Tipple made a short presentation on expert evidence and the Chamberlain case; followed by a Q&A session and discussions on contemporary issues in expert evidence.

Commenting on the event, Professor Cooper said: “It was a reminder that experts can get it wrong; miscarriages of justice based on incorrect expert opinion can and do still occur. The work of EWI is as vital as ever and Stuart and lawyers like him who commit to the uphill task of righting a miscarriage of justice have my utmost respect. He gave a moving and fascinating account.” 


The new Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) is launched by The Council of the Inns of Court (COIC)

ICCA will become a global centre of excellence for the teaching of advocacy and ethics and will promote the reputation of the Bar of England and Wales.

The launch was marked by a reception at Lincoln’s Inn Old Hall.

The new College will provide leadership, expertise and guidance in the pursuit of excellence in advocacy and professional ethics and will build on the success of the Advocacy Training Council (ATC) which is internationally recognised for its development of education and training for the Bar and the wider profession.

The profession will regard the College as the resource of choice for education and training materials of the highest quality. The materials will be delivered online and through the Inns and Circuits.

The work of the College will be directed and overseen by an appointed Board of Governors:

    • Derek Wood CBE QC - Chair
    • Andrew Hochhauser QC - Vice Chair for SBAs
    • William Waldron QC - Vice Chair for Circuits
    • Alistair MacDonald QC - Vice Chair for Circuits
    • The Honourable Mrs Justice Andrews DBE - Judicial Governor
    • Dr. Catherine MacKenzie – Academic Governor
    • Stephen Murch – Lincoln’s Inn Governor
    • Sam Stein QC – Inner Temple Governor
    • Paul Stanley QC – Middle Temple Governor
    • Shaun Smith QC –Gray’s Inn Governor

In addition, the College is in the process of recruiting a Non-Lawyer Governor.

Chair of the Board of Governors, Derek Wood CBE QC, said: “I am delighted that COIC has established this new College of Advocacy to continue and expand the important work of the Advocacy Training Council. This again affirms the commitment of the Inns of Court to high standards of training in the practice and ethics of court advocacy”.

For updates on the College's activities, please keep visiting this website.


“Addressing Vulnerability in Justice Systems” - the publication

This publication from our hugely successful inaugural International Conference of the same title in June 2015. The book presents a selection of papers taken from speakers at the conference – all of whom are considered experts in their respective fields.

The work of the authors represents much of the current state of knowledge in these areas, and also, evidence of a great change in how vulnerable people are treated in the justice system.

“Addressing Vulnerability in Justice Systems” is available to be purchased via this link. For more information on how this book came about, please visit The Advocate's Gateway website


Promoting Reliability in Expert Evidence - Barristers’ guide for handling statistical evidence

The Inns of Court College of Advocacy, ICCA (formerly the ATC) is working with the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) to produce a new guide for handling statistical evidence.

This short and accessible guide will help barristers and other members of the legal profession better understand the application of statistics in legal situations, particularly the interpretation of evidence in trials.

The guide is being created as part of a wider ICCA project on promoting reliability in expert evidence, including a package of materials to enhance the training of advocates.

Due to be piloted in the autumn, the guide’s final version will be available both on this and the RSS' Statslife websites by the end of the year.


BTAS recruitment of Panel Members and Clerks

The call for applications to The Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS) is now closed; appointments of new Panel Members (barrister, lay and QC) and Clerks to serve at BTAS hearings will commence in 2017.

For further information about how BTAS recruits please visit: www.tbtas.org.uk/about-us/who-we-are/working-for-us/


Interim Revised Guidelines on Prosecuting Social Media Cases

These guidelines are primarily concerned with offences that may be committed by reason of the nature or content of a communication sent via social media. Follow this link for more details.


Event -  8th December 2015

Reforming the legal education and training framework: competency, diversity and innovation

The Westminster Legal Policy Forum are holding a senior-level keynote seminar on Tuesday 8th December entitled 'Reforming the legal education and training framework : competency, diversity and innovation'. Delegates at the seminar will consider the future of the legal education and training framework in England and Wales. Sessions focus on the future use of assessment frameworks and competency requirements for practitioners; new and emerging approaches to continued professional development across the sector;and what more regulatory frameworks for education and training can do to promote an effective, diverse and innovate profession moving forward.

Click here to book your place now.


October & November masterclasses

Tuesday 3rd November 2015 - The Use of Communication Aids

Thursday 5th November 2015 - Special Measures and Vulnerable People in Family Courts

The sessions will be run by experts in the respective areas of practice, and will be based on the toolkits available on The Advocate’s Gateway, which are research based guides to best practice. They will include participative practical training exercises, principals for planning and questioning vulnerable adults and children and  discussion.

These masterclasses are aimed at Barristers, Solicitors and Higher Court Advocates who wish to understand how better to communicate with vulnerable witnesses inside and outside of the courtroom.

All Masterclasses take place at Inner Temple. The cost is £10.00 per session. Registration and refreshments at 17.30; classes run from 18.00—20.00.

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