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.   


Essential Trial Advocacy

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.


Perth, Western Australia


Option 1 - $TBA includes:

  • All course materials
  • Venue and equipment
  • Five nights accommodation (Monday to Friday inclusive)
  • Breakfast, morning and afternoon tea, lunch, dinner and drinks each day of the course

Option 2 - $TBA this option is for Western Australian participants who do not wish to take up accommodation and includes:

  • All course materials
  • Venue and equipment
  • Morning and afternoon tea, lunch, dinner and drinks each day of the course

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

Advanced Trial Advocacy

There are places available for only 42 barristers, Seniority of at least three years at the private bar is a pre-requisite, please find the registration form here.

The underlying philosophy of the intensive 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 providing realistic briefs to counsel in sufficient time for counsel to properly prepare the matter for hearing and then giving them the opportunity to perform in real court settings.

The intensive involves discussion and comment on each aspect of trial performance.

The coaching faculty will comprise senior Australian judges, International and Australian senior practitioners and professional performance coaches accredited by the ABA.

There are very few opportunities for barristers to develop their advocacy skills by preparing a case and experimenting with a number of styles of performance to see which is the most effective for that advocate on that occasion. Rarely do barristers have the opportunity of seeing their own performance played back so that it can be reviewed. Never in professional practice is there an opportunity to have a number of senior practitioners analyse performances and provide intensive and supportive feedback about ways to refine and improve.

This intensive provides each of these elements and much more.

Cost of intensive

Cost to be advised. The cost includes:

  • All materials and readings required for the intensive.
  • Intensive venue, equipment and stationery.
  • Five nights accommodation (Monday-Friday nights).
  • All breakfasts, lunches, pre-dinner drinks and dinners (excluding Wednesday dinner).
  • Final night off-site dinner including drinks.

Please note that there are no discounts being offered for barristers who wish to stay off-site. It is intended that this is a residential intensive and as such rooms have been booked for all barristers. Exceptions will be made where barristers have care responsibilities that require their attendance at home.

Travel costs are additional for interstate barristers and are to be organised by the barristers individually.


The coaching faculty will include Federal and Supreme Court Judges, Australian and International counsel from New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom as well as performance and voice coaches with expertise in voice, movement and impact.


Owen Dixon Commonwealth Law Courts Building, 305 William Street, Melbourne 

Civil brief

Advocates will be briefed for either the Applicant or Respondent in a case involving alleged breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.

Criminal brief

Advocates will be appearing for either the Crown or Defence in a conspiracy to murder case.

In both briefs, barristers will give an opening address, examine in chief three witnesses, cross examine three witnesses and give a closing address. No extensive, specialised legal knowledge is required for either brief - the cases are suitable for practitioners from all areas of practice.

Pre Intensive Preparation

To replicate reality as far as possible, full preparation of the brief is required before the intensive commences. Barristers are expected to be ready to deliver an opening address on the first full day of the intensive. Past experience suggests that at least three full days may be required.

Intensive Format

The general format of the intensive is to discuss the requirements of each performance and have demonstrations the day before the performances. Barristers then reconsider and refine for their own performances.

Performances take place in court rooms in groups of six of similar experience. At least three coaches are assigned to each group, on rotation. Performances are discussed and recorded. They are then reviewed individually with another coach, one on one, so that particular aspects of the performance, or suggestions for change, can be further discussed and developed.

Coaches are available during breaks as well as before and after sessions for consultation.


Registrations are not currently available.