Appellate Advocacy

There are only 24 positions available. Seniority of at least 8 years at the private Bar is a pre-requisite.

The skills of a barrister are best learnt in an environment that is as close to the real experience as possible. This workshop involves a realistic brief, detailed preparation including written submissions and performances in real court settings before appellate judges. The workshop will promote excellence in appellate advocacy through the development of relevant skills.

Groups are small and the coach-to-participant ratio is high. Performances are recorded in court before an appellate court judge, and then reviewed separately with senior members of the Australian Bar.  Voice and movement coaching is also available from a professional coach.

The brief

You will be briefed on an application for leave to appeal from the judgment of a single judge of the Federal Court and the final appeal. The brief is based on a real legal dispute that has previously been litigated.

Pre-course preparation

Written submissions are to be submitted prior to the commencement of the course.  It is recommended that at least three days is set aside for preparation.  Less experienced appellate advocates may find it worthwhile to allow more time.




The cost of the workshop covers:

  • Electronic copies of all materials and readings
  • Venue, equipment and stationery
  • Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea on Friday and Saturday
  • Dinner on Saturday
  • Morning tea on Sunday

All travel costs, including flights and accommodation are additional and must be organised by barristers individually.


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Some testimonial comments from previous courses

The coaches and judges were very balanced in their feedback and observations.

I commend the quality and standing of the judges and coaches that were brought together for the course.  I am indebted to those people for the time and expertise that they gave to make the weekend the success that it was.

I thought there was a real focus on the substance of your advocacy rather than the form.

The quality of the coaches and bench participants was beyond expectation or comparison.  Their level of engagement outside of the formal elements of the course was tremendous and so beneficial to me as a participant.  Overall I would have to say that it was an incredibly beneficial experience for me.  I endorse the approach and the execution.



I can honestly say that I found the Appellate Advocacy Course of huge assistance to me in my practice of advocacy.  I have already put to good use many of the lessons that I learned in the two and a half very intense days of the course.

I have also reflected on the comments made to me by the judges before whom I had the privilege of appearing, and the very constructive, encouraging and challenging advice of the coaches.

I am very grateful to the ABA for the opportunity to brush up on my advocacy skills, especially as it took place in such a supportive and encouraging environment.

I have promised myself that from now on I will attend a course of this nature every few years.  It is easy to fall into bad habits and so rare to receive honest and expert feedback.  It is an essential part of professional practice.



I found the workshop to be of the greatest value.



The judges and counsel gave their valuable time to give me feedback and helpful advice during the workshop.  I found their assistance extremely valuable and am grateful to have done the course.  It's helped me already at work because I feel more confident about my skills today than I did before the course began.



Usually, the relationship with the Bench is very different.  This can lead to anxious anticipation and fear of embarrassment in respect of appearances on the Course too.   

I think that an appreciation by Barristers that the Judges (and Acting Judges) on the Course will not be hostile or unreasonably critical - but rather providing genuine feedback and constructive criticism is an important and valuable distinction between learning on the job / by experience and learning through the Course.  

The Course actually provides a relatively safe and truly valuable learning opportunity - its value being directly related to the effort the participant puts into his or her preparation and actual performance - given that it is coaching or feedback on a performance skill.  

The coaching (to improve skills for the future) from the silks or experienced advocacy specialists - who can also provide feedback on the performance reinforces the value of the Course.  My experience was that, both formally as part of the Course and even informally in casual discussions, the Judges and Course presenters / providers were genuinely willing to give help and be forthcoming in their comments.

I genuinely commend … the dedication of time and hard work to improve the quality of advocacy services of Barristers in Australia.  

I would readily recommend the Course to any Barrister wanting to improve his or her advocacy skills.



I learnt a number of very practical matters about oral and written submissions, engaging with the court and what appellate  judges (most likely) want to hear.

I thought that the ‘social’ side was very enjoyable – not only the dinner (great venue and quality) but also meeting the Judges and other colleagues.



This was an outstanding course. 

I have recommended others on my floor do this or one of the other offerings.



The combination of general insights and tips from judges and leading silks, together with personalised constructive critique of individual performances, created an extremely valuable advocacy experience.