The AAI Teaching Philosophy


The AAI teaching philosophy is based on the following thirteen principles:

  1. Competent advocacy in the adversary system is essential to serve the best interests of clients, the interests of the community, and the interest of justice.

  2. Advocacy is characterised as the art of persuasion. A person who holds him or herself out as a specialist advocate must have the basic understanding of the concepts of good advocacy and the ability to perform the essential skills of an advocate.

  3. The practice must be in accordance with professional ethics and etiquette.

  4. Advocacy consists of developed disciplines, skills and techniques applied with such talent as each advocate has.

  5. Effective court room communication skills are essential to advocacy as the art of persuasion.

  6. Advocacy skills, techniques and disciplines can be taught, learned and developed at basic and advanced levels.

  7. Advocacy skills are best taught and learned by the workshop method of:
    • instruction
    • demonstration
    • performance
    • review.

  8. The focus of teaching is on methods of:
    • preparation
    • analysis
    • performance.
    Enabling advocates to develop individual style and approach free of fundamental error. The aim is to help pupils to improve, rather than find faults in their performance.

  9. The disciplines, skills and techniques taught are generic and cross jurisdictional.

  10. Experience as an advocate alone is usually not sufficient to ensure competence. The approach we teach to preparation, analysis and performance helps advocates to learn from their experience and develop their skills.

  11. The emphasis in teaching is on:
    • complete familiarity with factual and legal materials
    • a method of analysis of those materials to produce a consistent case theory
    • a method of preparation for the performance of specific advocacy tasks
    • development of skills in:
      • legal argument
      • opening and closing addresses
      • evidence in chief and re-examination
      • cross-examination
      • written advocacy
      • communication skills.

  12. The instructors are:
    • experienced and competent advocates
    • trained in the skills method of teaching by the AAI in accordance with its philosophy
    • able to explain and demonstrate advocacy skills to the pupils.

  13. The AAI is committed to the pursuit of excellence in advocacy by:
    • encouraging advocates at all levels to continue learning and developing their skills
    • equipping advocates with the ability to analyse their work and critically assess their performance
    • identifying and training members of the profession as potential instructors
    • continuing to develop the instructorsí skills in order to maintain quality and consistency in advocacy training.


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