The Australian Advocacy Institute Excellence in Advocacy


The NSW Bar Association - AAI Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Training Program


Sydney - Saturday 12 October 2019


Welcome and thank you for agreeing to participate in this important advocacy program.


The NSW Bar Association - AAI Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Training Program has been designed to promote three goals.

First, to improve the quality of evidence available to the Court hearing a case involving a vulnerable witness. Second, to ensure fairness to those witnesses and finally, ensuring fairness to the accused in the trial process. We intend to improve your knowledge and advocacy skills in this important area of your practice.


The program recognises the great sensitivities involved in questioning witnesses who are vulnerable, whether that is because of their age, a physical or mental impairment or for other reasons, or indeed a combination of factors. It also recognises the importance of teaching advocates special skills, not general ones, in questioning vulnerable witnesses.


Set in that context, it is vital that advocates not only have an awareness of relevant issues concerning the vulnerable witness but are able to effectively implement key skills in questioning those witnesses. This will be so whatever the type of case or jurisdiction within which the questioning of a vulnerable witness occurs. This is truly a course which crosses boundaries.


We strongly believe that skills relating to the questioning of vulnerable witnesses can be taught and that we can improve the standards of advocacy in such an important and sensitive area. Our program commences with increasing your knowledge of relevant issues and concludes with your active participation in a one-day practical skills advocacy course focusing on the vulnerable witness.


   The Program - SYDNEY - Saturday 12 OCTOBER 2019
Stage 1: Pre-Workshop: You are required to allocate approximately 1 hour to watch a series of short videos.

Stage 2: Pre-Workshop:

1. You are required to analyse a case study, then prepare a one-page cross-examination, which must

    be returned by email to the AAI by Friday 11 October 2019.

2. You are required to prepare to perform both a short evidence-in-chief and a cross-examination of a

    witness from the case study.

The subject and detail for the analysis and performances can be found in the Timetable contained in the Workshop Materials bundle available for download at Program Stage 2 below.

Stage 3: Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Skills Workshop:

Saturday 12 October, 9.00am to 4.15pm

Venue: The Family Court of Australia, 99 Goulburn Street, Sydney

Please first take a few minutes to watch this introductory video which covers many aspects of this program.
Following that, please proceed to the information below which covers the program's three stages.

Introduction to the Program
with Craig Smith SC,
Director of Training for the AAI Vulnerable Witness Program


Video length: 7.5 minutes.







The Program

There are three stages in this program, leading up to the workshop on Saturday 12 October.


Please click on the Stage headings below...


Stage 1
Pre-workshop Videos
Stage 2Workshop Materials bundlePre-workshop: Case Study
and Submission
Stage 3
The Vulnerabl
e Witness Workshop:
Saturday 12 October 2019
Please watch the following four short videos: 1. The Role of the Court and the Vulnerable Witnesses, with Her Honour Judge Girdham SC,Judge of the District Court of NSW Video length: 10 minutes.            2. The Role of the Witness Intermediary,    with Jane Wolf, Witness Intermediary      Video length: 7.5 minutes.           3. Memory research and factors affecting how we
       adduce evidence from Vulnerable Witnesses,

       with Professor Jane Goodman- Delahunty,
       Research Professor, Charles Sturt University
     Video length: 20 minutes.


   4. The Principles of examining a Vulnerable Witness,    with Grant Brady SC, Senior Instructor and Moderator, AAI Video length: 21 minutes.
Stage 2 - Part 1 ... The Workshop Materials bundle.   CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE WORKSHOP MATERIALSThis pdf file includes the Workshop Timetable and Case Study, and includes details of your set tasks for pre-workshop preparation and then performance at the Saturday workshop. Part 2 ... Pre-workshop: Submit your Cross-Examination Questions by Friday 11 October. 2.1  Please refer to the Workshop Materials download (above) where, within the TIMETABLE on       page 3 you will find your GROUP and PARTICIPANT number. 2.2  Refer to the TIMETABLE on Pages 3 and 4, where in either Session 2 or 4 you have been       allocated a Cross Examination of a witness task. 2.3  Please open the CASE STUDY "Regina v Chris" at page 8 within the Workshop Materials       download. 2.4 Having viewed the videos in Stage 1 and closely read the case study, you are required to       prepare, then submit, your cross-examination questions. This to be no more than one page.

Please email your cross-examination questions (in Word or PDF format)
to the AAI at:   aai@advocacy.com.au  to be received no later than 5pm on FRIDAY 11 October,
the day before you attend the Saturday workshop.
This is a compulsory component of the workshop program. Part 3 ... Pre-workshop preparation of your workshop performance tasks.At the workshop on Saturday you will be required to perform a short Leading Evidence and a Cross Examination, as per the tasks detailed in the Timetable you have downloaded above.  You will need to prepare both performances in the time between now and the workshop. 
Stage 3 - The Vulnerable Witness WorkshopA one-day practical performance workshop will take place on: Date: Saturday 12 October, 2019Time: 9.00am to 4.15pmLocation: Family Court of Australia, 99 Goulburn Street, Sydney Dress:  CasualMorning tea and lunch will be provided.

The workshop TIMETABLE, TASK ALLOCATIONS and CASE STUDY can be found as part of the Vulnerable Witness Workshop Materials bundle available for download in Stage 2 above. You must complete Stages 1 and 2 before attending the workshop. 


Should you have any questions regarding this program or any aspect of the workshop, please email the AAI at: aai@advocacy.com.au