On 27 November the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) and the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) joined forces to officially present the joint guide: "Statistics and probability for advocates: Understanding the use of statistical evidence in courts and tribunals".
Hosted at UCL, the event took the form of a seminar followed by a drinks reception. Derek Wood CBE QC (ICCA’s Chair of Governors) welcomed everyone to the evening and introduced the speakers: Professor Ruth Morgan (Director, UCL Centre for the Forensic Sciences), Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter OBE FRS (President, RSS) and Dr Claire McIvor (Birmingham Law School); who highlighted the challenges courts and tribunals face when confronted with expert and statistical evidence in particular.
The booklet, is available to download, free on our website; aims to provide a sound educational resource for advocates who have to present and challenge statistical evidence at trial.
Follow this link for a full event review.
The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) and the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) have created a joint guide on statistics and probability for advocates to aid their understanding in the use of statistical evidence in courts and tribunals.
The guide is available to download, free, both from this and the RSS’ websites from today. The booklet's online release has been chosen to coincide with this year's European Statistics Day, which is themed around The Value of Official Statistics as a Public Good.
Printed copies will be available from both organisations following a launch event in late November.
This guide is the first of a series, as part of the College’s project: ‘Promoting Reliability in the Submission and Handling of Expert Evidence’. To create this booklet, ICCA drew on the expertise of seasoned law practitioners and partnered with the RSS. The Society’s work on Statistics and the Law provided a very fitting frame for collaboration.
Statistical evidence and probabilistic reasoning form part of expert witnesses’ testimony in an increasingly wide range of litigation. The guide aims to identify the main traps and pitfalls that advocates are likely to meet when handling expert evidence.
Although the booklet does not claim to hold all the answers, it is hoped that it will encourage advocates to investigate further opportunities for professional development in the understanding, interpretation and presentation of statistical and probabilistic evidence. It should also help practitioners to consult more effectively with appropriate expert witnesses in the preparation of their cases, and know how to effectively deploy and challenge expert evidence and opinion.
These knowledge and skills are necessary to avoid miscarriages of justice, which may have occurred in the past due to the inappropriate use of, and understanding of, statistics and probability by judges, expert witnesses and advocates.
First impressions on the guide
Commenting on the guide, UK Supreme Court Judge, Lord Hughes said:
“Advocates (and judges) very often encounter experts who use statistics in their reports. An understanding of the terminology which they use is an essential baseline from which to start in following and evaluating what they say. More importantly, statistical propositions are sometimes beguiling, and at other times counter-intuitive. All court users will benefit from a very basic guide to the kinds of question where statistical analysis can be useful, and, as importantly, to the kinds of question where it cannot. This guide has been prepared with these aims in mind, and by experts who have set out to explain themselves to lawyers. It will, I hope, be a valuable companion to those who are asked to digest, to apply, and to test, expert opinion relying on statistics.”
Derek Wood CBE QC, ICCA’s Board of Governors Chair, said:
“The Inns of Court College of Advocacy is proud to have collaborated with the Royal Statistical Society over the production of this booklet. Experts in every type of discipline, appearing in every type of court and tribunal, habitually base their evidence on statistical data. A proper understanding of the way in which statistics can be used – and abused – is an essential tool for every advocate.”
Also commenting on the guide, RSS President, Sir David Spiegelhalter said:
“The RSS welcomes the Inns of Court College of Advocacy’s programme to improve the reliability of expert evidence, and we hope this guide will ensure that evidence which includes statistics and data is used more effectively, for everyone’s benefit.”
Follow this link for more information on the College's work around Expert Evidence.
The Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) has just hosted a successful one-day-training event focusing on the handling of expert witnesses. The syllabus was created in consultation with a number of Specialists Bar Associations (SBAs).
The training took place last Saturday 7 October at the Rutledge Suite, Middle Temple Lane, London, EC4Y 9AT. This event follows another very well attended conference in July 2017.
The course was designed for Practitioners over four years’ call:
- A financial/commercial practice (dealing with economic expert evidence)
- A medical expert practice (dealing with forensic psychiatric evidence)
The day included case studies dealing with either economic or psychiatric expert evidence, lectures, case analysis and cross-examination of real experts, after having the opportunity to confer with them.
Follow this link for further details.
COIC's Pupillage Matched Funding Scheme
Applications to the scheme have now closed. For more information on the scheme please email COIC's Secretary, Hayley Dawes.
About the scheme
The scheme encourages the provision of additional pupillages in those chambers (and other approved training organisations) whose work is predominantly publicly funded.
The Inns will match the first six funding already provided by chambers. Chambers that would otherwise recruit one pupil, can then apply for a matched funding grant of £6000 to fund the first six months of a second pupillage.
Applications for a grant of £3000 will also be considered from those chambers which have not recently provided a pupillage and would like to do so; chambers would provide £3000 towards the first six months of pupillage.
ICCA's Expert Evidence Training Conference – July 2017
On 22 July 2017 the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) hosted a successful one-day-training event focusing on the handling of expert witnesses. The syllabus was created in consultation with a number of Specialists Bar Associations (SBAs).
The course was designed for Practitioners over four years’ call:
- A financial/commercial practice (dealing with accounting expert evidence)
- A medical expert practice (dealing with forensic psychiatric evidence)
The day included case studies dealing with either economic or psychiatric expert evidence, lectures, case analysis and cross-examination of real experts, after having had the opportunity to confer with them.
Please note that applications to this post are now closed.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
CPD: Course equivalent to 3 CPD hours plus 8 CPD hours for advance preparation
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.