Aims of the



Board and Management

The Australian Advocacy Institute

The Australian Advocacy Institute (AAI) was launched on 11 September 1991 during the 27th Australian Legal Convention.

The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit body governed by a Board of Directors under the Chairmanship of The Honourable Justice Ann Ainslie-Wallace. The Founding Chairman was Professor the Hon. George Hampel AM QC.

The AAI was established under the auspice of and with the financial support of the Law Council of Australia. Since 1995 the Institute has been financially independent.

Its birth was in response to the ever growing demand by the Australian profession for advocacy training which could no longer be fulfilled by a handful of enthusiastic, committed individuals. It marked the acceptance by the profession of the need to improve advocacy standards and that advocacy skills can be taught at all levels.

Aims of the AAI

Good advocacy is important to the litigant and to the integrity of our adversary system.

The primary role of the advocate in the adversary system is to persuade the tribunal of the merits of the client's case. Advocates must be up to that task, so that client interests are properly represented, and courts are assisted. Representation is now a requirement in serious criminal cases in which its absence may result in an injustice.

The Institute is committed to the principle that a client's right to representation is a right to professionally competent representation.

The aims of the Australian Advocacy Institute are to:

  • Improve the standards of advocacy skills throughout Australia
  • Provide an Australia-wide forum in which ideas and experience in advocacy and advocacy training can be shared and developed
  • Design and develop methods and materials for training lawyers in advocacy
  • Train lawyers to teach advocacy skills

Litigation today demands increased efficiency and economy for the private client and the State. At the same time it is essential that the interests of the parties are effectively represented and that just results are not sacrificed for the sake of efficiency.

The achievement of this balance requires preparation, discipline, skill, and a professional approach by advocates capable of analysing the issues and succinctly presenting cases for their clients.

The Institute is dedicated to the pursuit of professional excellence.

The Institute's patrons have been the Hon. Sir Anthony Mason AC KBE, the Hon. Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE, the Hon. A M Gleeson AC and currently the Hon. Justice Robert French, Chief Justice of Australia.

.... back to top.

The Philosophy of the AAI

Advocacy is the art of persuasion in court. To be persuasive an advocate must be prepared, disciplined, skilled and able to communicate effectively with the tribunal.

Until the 1970's there was a common belief that advocacy could not be taught. It was thought that good advocates were born not made.

Reading about advocacy and exposure to senior advocates were thought sufficient for new advocates to learn their skills by observation and osmosis and to develop them by experience. Many did learn, and some who had talent became excellent advocates. However, it often came at a cost to clients. Some did not learn from experience but simply perpetuated bad advocacy practices. Experience does not necessarily equate with competence, far less excellence.

The 1980's saw the demise of the attitude that advocacy could not be taught.

The breakthrough came with the realisationthat advocacy involves skills and talent. Skills are best taught by the workshop method of performance and instruction in a manner akin to coaching rather than by observing and acquiring information and experience.

This process enables advocates to see and analyse their performance, to improve it and to continue learning more effectively from experience in practice.

There is no one correct style of advocacy. Individual styles and abilities must be developed. However, an analysis of the work of good advocates shows that there are fundamental common features although the expression of them differs with individual style and ability.

The Institute's teaching methods enable individuals to develop their own styles within these touchstones of good advocacy. Once these fundamentals are established, the advocacy skills based upon them can be applied in all jurisdictions and before all tribunals despite different practices and procedures. Experience has shown that advocacy skills at all levels can be developed and individual talents enhanced by the workshop method used by the Institute. Participants at workshops have the benefit of demonstrations by the teaching faculty who are practising advocates and trained teachers. The teaching methods and materials are under review by Management. Members of management, the Board and the Senior Faculty keep in touch with developments in advocacy training throughout Australia and overseas.                                                                                                                                                      
.... back to top.

The AAI Teaching Method

1. Advocacy Workshops

A typical weekend workshop commences with an introductory session on the Friday evening. The purpose is to introduce the Institute's philosophy of advocacy and its teaching method. This session is conducted by the workshop Moderator.

It is followed on the Saturday/Sunday by analysis sessions and short individual performances of advocacy tasks.The performances, which are conducted in groups of eight, are video recorded. Each performance is analysed and reviewed by the instructor within the group. Positive, constructive instruction is provided and a demonstration given to assist participants with ways they can improve.

Each participant's video is viewed individually, analysed and reviewed with emphasis upon communication skills and style. Participants retain their video for later personal review. The analysis sessions are interactive and concentrate on preparation for performance, communication skills and advocacy techniques. Each participant will perform at least three advocacy tasks in a workshop.

Thorough familiarity with case files and preparation in advance of the workshop are essential in order to benefit from this intensive teaching method.

The workshops enable participants to improve their skills at their individual level and to gain the ability to self-assess and continue development in practice.

2. Materials

Much time and effort is devoted by experienced advocacy teachers to the preparation of suitable teaching materials. Materials are designed to achieve specific teaching objectives at various levels.The workshops materials are sent to the participants in advance with a guide for preparation.

3. Instructors

Instructors qualified to teach with the Institute must be good, experienced advocates who have undergone a teacher training course provided by the Institute, which qualifies them to use the Institute's teaching methods and materials.

While the Institute achieves a degree of uniformity in its teaching approach, there is strong emphasis on individual contributions by instructors. The development of individual style is thus emphasised.

Judges, Senior Counsel and senior advocates from around Australia have attended teacher training workshops, which are by invitation only and are conducted by the Institute's most experienced instructors.

Trained instructors give their time generously, usually without remuneration, because of their commitment to the improvement of the standards of advocacy.

The Institute is grateful for this strong support by the profession and the judiciary.

.... back to top.

The AAI Board of Directors.

The Hon. Justice Ann Ainslie-Wallace
Chair, Australian Advocacy Institute
  • 1978 Admitted to the Bar. Frederick Jordan Chambers, Practice - Family Law.
  • Pioneered the role of counsel for separate representatives in family law cases representing children
  • Family law and related jurisdictions together with extensive appearances for the State Crown – counsel assisting inquiries, inquests, appearances for government bodies in all courts and tribunals at all levels
  • 1995-1997 Acting Judge of the District Court
  • 1997 Appointed to the Bench of the District Court of New South Wales
  • 2010 Appointed to the Appellate Division of the Family Court of Australia
  • 2015 Appointed as Bencher, Inner Temple (UK)
  • Visiting Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (USA)
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law
  • Professor of Law (Advocacy), University of Technology, Sydney
  • As part of a Law Council/Legal Aid Commission of New South Wales initiative, founded the Separate Representative Training Course – a three day intensive, multi-disciplinary training course for children’s advocates
  • 1997-1999 Former member of the District Court Policy and Planning Committee
  • Former member of the NSW Bar Council
  • Former member of the NSW Bar Association Professional Conduct Committee
  • Former member of the NSW Bar Association Family Law Committee
  • Former member of the Family Law Executive, Law Council of Australia
  • Chair, College of Law Master of Applied Law [Family Law] Advisory Committee
  • Council Member, National Judicial College of Australia
  • Former NSW Representative, Australian Association of Women Judges 2008-2010.
  • Investigators, Expert Witness and Advocacy Skills Workshops: Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong: 2004 to date
  • Instructor, New Practitioners Workshops, Inner Temple, London 2013 and 2015
  • Instructor, AAI Advanced Teacher Training Program, UK Advocacy Training Council, London 2013
  • Instructor, AAI workshop on Advocacy for Victims of War Crime, International Criminal Court, The Hague 2013
  • Senior Moderator and Instructor with the Australian Advocacy Institute with teaching commitments throughout Australia and in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the UK, the USA and The Hague
  • Member Australian Bar Association International Advocacy Team teaching advocacy in Bangladesh from 1996-2000.

Her Honour Judge Felicity Hampel SC
Deputy Chair

  • Barrister since 1981
  • Queen's Counsel since 1996, now Senior Counsel
  • Appointed to the bench of the Victorian County Court in 2005
  • Visiting faculty member National Institute for Trial Advocacy (USA)
  • Adj. Professor, Faculty of Law, Monash University
  • Former Member of the Victorian Bar Readers' Course Committee
  • Former Convenor, Women Barristers' Association
  • Former Member of the Victorian Bar Equality before the Law Committee
  • Past President of the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties
  • Extensive advocacy teaching experience as Senior moderator and Instructor in Australia, USA, England, Scotland, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and The Hague since 1984
  • Former Deputy Co-convenor, Australian Republican Movement Victoria
  • Foundation Board Member, Australian Women Lawyers.

Grant Brady SC
Deputy Chair

  • Barrister since 2000
  • Appointed Senior Counsel 2015
  • Past Chair, ACT Law Society Criminal Law Committee
  • Past Member, National Criminal Law Liaison Committee
  • Instructor NSW Bar Association Readers Course
  • Accredited Teacher, Australian Bar Association
  • Member, Education Committee NSW Bar Association
  • Senior Instructor and Moderator, Australian Advocacy Institute at workshops across Australia and AAI workshops in Singapore, Hong Kong and at Monash University, Italy.

Carolyn Davenoprt SC
  • Barrister since 1977
  • Appointed Senior Counsel 2004
  • Past Chair, NSWBA Criminal Law Committee
  • Past Member, NSWBA Education Committee
  • Senior Instructor and Moderator, Australian Advocacy Institute at workshops across Australia and AAI workshops in Hong Kong and at Monash University, Italy.

Craig Smith SC
  • Barrister since 2001
  • Appointed Senior Counsel 2014
  • 2006-present: Barrister, NSW Public Defender's Office
  • 2014: Appointed Deputy Public Defender
  • Past Vice-President, Criminal Defewnce Lawyers Association
  • Senior Instructor and Moderator, Australian Advocacy Institute at workshops across Australia and AAI workshops in Singapore and at Monash University, Italy

Ian Robertson SC
  • Barrister since 1986
  • Appointed Senior Counsel 2008
  • Past Member, Law Council of Law Society of South Australia
  • Executive Member, South Australian Bar Association
  • Faculty Member, Australian Bar Association Advocacy Training Group.
  • Extensive advocacy instructor experience witrh the AAI across Australia.

Saul Holt QC
  • Barrister since 1998
  • Appointed Queens Counsel 2012
  • Chief Counsel, Victoria Legal Aid 2012-2014
  • Practicing in Queensland since 2014
  • Extensive advocacy instructor experience witrh the AAI across Australia.

.... back to top.


AAI Management
General Manager:

Scott Wallace
Phone: 02 9427 1620 or 0418 473 303
Email: aai@advocacy.com.au
Post: AAI, PO Box 446, Lane Cove, NSW 2066