The underlying philosophy of the course is that the skills of a barrister are best learned in an environment that is as close to the real experience as possible. This involves creating a brief, asking the barrister to properly prepare as they would for a hearing and then giving them the opportunity in an environment of challenge and respect to perform.
The aim is to engage the barrister through a deeper understanding of the relevant objectives for each performance task, thoughtful preparation and an ongoing process of practice and review.
The focus is on each barrister and exploring ways of improving their performances. The course involves a combination of lectures, demonstrations, performances by participants, group reviews and individual coaching sessions.
Advocates prepare a Federal Court brief and perform opening addresses, examination and cross-examination of witnesses and give a closing address. Considerable emphasis is placed upon case analysis and thoughtful preparation.
Each barrister is briefed for the Applicant or Respondent to appear in the Federal Court. The case is detailed and requires a good deal of close examination and thought. Barristers are expected to be ready to deliver an opening address on the first full day of the course. Accordingly, it is essential that extensive preparation is undertaken before the course commences.
Past experience suggests that at least three full days may be required.
As part of that preparation, each barrister prepares and submits a chronology, an outline of opening address, an outline of the examination-in-chief for each witness, cross-examination points and an outline for the closing address. These documents are submitted before the course and refined as the course proceeds.