The Court of Appeal issued its grounds of judgment dated 19 September 2018 in the case of Mak Siew Wei v Yeoh Eng Kong and other appeals. The Court of Appeal took the unusual step of issuing a post-script to remind counsel of the need for well-researched briefs and advocacy. The Court reminded us that it is a cornerstone of the administration of justice. In our adversarial system, the Courts would rely significantly on the arguments of counsel and on the truth of the legal arguments.
An important skill for an advocate is to draft effective and persuasive written submissions. The written submissions will condense the essential facts and the legal arguments you will be advancing in a case.
This post is based on a note I circulated to my own team members. They contain my thoughts on what I feel make effective submissions. Some of the elements below may be a matter of personal or team style. Don’t take any of the suggestions below as the only way of crafting your submissions. See what may work for you, and adapt it to your style or your firm’s style. Continue reading
I have set out below 10 appellate advocacy tips. They focus on the skills of arguing before the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court.
Some of these lessons have been passed down from senior counsel I have worked with. Some are based from my own observations or tips gleamed from the judiciary at various conferences. I cannot take credit for these tips but I do hope that they came in useful. Any errors are my own.
Ultimately, there is no substitute for being on your feet, making your submissions, learning from each experience and developing your own style.
Read about knowing the battlefield, winning the battle through written advocacy, starting strong in your oral advocacy and building your reputation.