The Australian Advocacy Institute Excellence in Advocacy

The AAI Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Training Program

in association with the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

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

Video time: 2 minutes

The 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.


It is recommended you take 2 minutes and watch the video to the right.


The Program - ODPP NSW Program #1, 2018

Stage 1: Release of instructions and workshop materials - Monday 09 April, 2018

Stage 2: You will be required to allocate approximately 1 hour of your time to watch
a series of short videos, then 2 to 3 hours to analyse a case study then prepare a

one-page cross-examination exercise, which must be returned to the AAI

by Friday 20 April, 2018


Stage 3: Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Skills Workshop -

     Saturday 28 April, 9.00am to 4.00pm

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

REGISTRATION: Available only for advocates nominated by the ODPP NSW

On-line Registration opens Wednesday 21 March, 2018.

Those nominated to attend this program are requested to Register.

You will then be emailed a link to a secure site where the program materials will be available for download after 9 April..

‚ÄčRegister HERE


Future Vulnerable Witness Advocacy Workshops:
If you would like to nominate yourself to attend a future workshop in this program, please contact:


          Julie Booth, Professional Development Lawyer, Human Resources

          Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions NSW