Paul Epstein QC tips on tribunal advocacy


ELBA Advocacy Training

Practical Hints on Tribunal Advocacy

By Paul Epstein QC

Be Prepared

1. Have a system for reading the case before the hearing. Read the pleadings first, then witness statements, then documents, and finally any cases and the law.

2. For your own benefit, prepare a list of the issues. Often you can take the main issues from the pleadings. List the issues, and identify the points for and against you. Try to imagine what the Tribunal will want to know about these issues.

3. Prepare a Chronology. This is a very important document. This will be your guide in times of trouble. The Chronology should have three headings, Date, Reference and Event.

4. Write your Closing Submissions. This is a useful discipline. It helps you with case analysis. You will make alterations to your submissions as the case proceeds.

5. Note the points that you have to put to the other side’s witnesses.

6. Work out which side will go first. Figure out the order of your witnesses. This order takes into account who will be your good witnesses, who will be your less good witnesses, and the witnesses’ own convenience.

7. Have the music in your head. After you have prepared the case, take a bath, and think about the issues.

8. Get plenty of sleep. You are unlikely to perform as brilliantly on 4 hours’ sleep as you will on 8 hours’ sleep.

9. Make sure you arrive at the Tribunal building in sufficient time. You may need to have a pre-hearing conference with your Client. Look at the Tribunal location on a map the day before. Work out how you will get to the building. Catch a train one before the train you think you really need. If you are walking from a train or bus station, work out how long the walk will take you. Bear in mind that you may have heavy bags. It does not inspire confidence if the advocate appears only moments before the hearing, bathed in sweat, carrying heavy bags.

10. Make sure that you eat breakfast. Have carbohydrates. Drink water. Otherwise by lunch-time you will be feeling faint and will have a pounding headache.

11. Take headache tablets with you.

12. Hold the plastic water cup when pouring water into it. Think long and hard before leaving a half-full water cup on the table. You will only knock it over. Drink it. Have a ready supply of napkins for when you knock over the plastic water cup on your table.

Download the full article here: pje-elba-advocacy.pdf