Skip to main content

Advocacy and the Vulnerable


Stage 1a: Pre-course work
Each delegate is required to carry out approximately eight hours of coursework prior to attending the virtual training (Stage 2).

This involves reading and watching material on the link below (Stage 1a), and then constructing a set of cross-examination questions based on an example court case which is included in the materials (Stage 1b).


Stage 1b: Cross-examination questions
Once the pre-course work has been completed, delegates must construct and submit their cross-examination questions.

All cross-examination questions must be received by 20 May 2022.

Each delegate must construct their own set of questions and save a copy for their records, to be used in Stage 2. They must NOT complete this task as part of a group. Once you submit, you will not be able to make any further changes.


Stage 2: Virtual training course
The live training will run on 26 May 2022, from 09:30-12:30.

Delegates can only attend the virtual training if they have submitted their cross-examination questions, without any issues raised by the facilitator. Delegates will be notified by email once their questions have been reviewed and they are eligible to attend the training.

The training is three hours long. During the session, delegates will take part in role plays based around the example court case. 


Stage 3: Consolidation
The third and final stage of training requires delegates to watch a number of videos. You will be able to access them via the link below within two working days of completing Stage 2.

Course Description


  • 12 hours
  • Advanced
Recognising and dealing appropriately with vulnerability is a skill that can be taught. There is a wide spectrum of vulnerabilities, from age and background, to physical or mental health and other developmental issues. This course has been designed to ensure all solicitor advocates dealing with vulnerable witnesses understand the key principles behind the approach to, and questioning of, vulnerable people in the justice system.

The training was developed in conjunction with the Bar Council to help solicitor advocates and barristers strike the balance between advancing their client’s case effectively in court, whilst ensuring vulnerable witnesses are not subjected to undue stress.

We anticipate that the Ministry of Justice will make this training compulsory for all publicly-funded advocates before they can act in serious sexual offences cases.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the importance of adapting practices to accommodate children and vulnerable witnesses in court, and be aware of the development of the law in this area of practice.
  • Understand and be able to apply best practice in relation to conducting cross-examination of key witnesses in accordance to the Ground Rules and Section 28 Hearings (GRH).
  • Understand how characteristics of children and their development influence their ability to function as useful and credible witnesses in the legal system.
  • Understand and apply the key principles behind the approach to, and questioning of, vulnerable people in the justice system.
  • Understand and apply the relevant Criminal Procedure Rules & Criminal Practice Directions.
  • Be able to recognise and deal appropriately with vulnerable witnesses in court.