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Advocacy and the Vulnerable

The Advocacy and the Vulnerable national training programme was developed by members of a working group headed by HHJ Rook KC in response to the Government’s September 2014 paper “Our Commitment to Victims”. 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 that all advocates, when dealing with vulnerable witnesses, understand the key principles behind the approach to and questioning of vulnerable people in the justice system. Training materials have been prepared by the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA).

The Course

The course is broken down into three stages:

Stage One – Online preparation

Compulsory materials
The compulsory preparation should take around eight hours of your time. Training materials are provided by ICCA. They include;

  • A series of short films for you to watch
  • A case study for you to read (R v George Graham)
  • Principles of Questioning for you to learn

There are also some optional resources available including criminal practice directions, podcasts, toolkits, and a reading list. It is recommended that delegates also become familiar with these before Stage Two of the training.

Cross-examination questions
Based on your reading and viewing of the online materials, you will be required to prepare cross-examination questions for all three female complainants in the case of R v George Graham. You will be asked to email your cross-examination questions a week before you attend your face-to-face training (Stage Two). Your course facilitators will assess them in advance.

If you fail to submit your questions in advance or fail to demonstrate that you have engaged fully with the materials, you will not be permitted to continue to attend your face-to-face course. A lack of preparation on behalf of a delegate could affect the value of the course for others. For quality assurance purposes, training providers will be expected to demonstrate that they have followed this protocol.

Stage Two – The face-to-face course

You must complete Stage One online preparation before attending the course.

At the course you will take part in sessions on each of the witnesses, using the questions you have prepared and submitted in advance.

The face-to-face course usually runs for three hours.

Stage Three – Consolidation Stage

The original project’s working group and ICCA have put together a series of exemplar films demonstrating elements of best practice in relation to the fictional case upon which the case materials are based.

Upon your completion of the face-to-face training, you will be given instructions on how to access these exemplar films.

After watching the films, you will be required to fill in a short form in order to be accredited as having completed your training.

The Bar Standards Board has confirmed that the course is the equivalent to eleven CPD hours (eight hours preparation plus three hours face-to-face). Please note that this does not satisfy the New Practitioner advocacy CPD hours.

Dates & Locations

All four Inns provide this training and practitioners can attend the training provided by any Inn. Details for the courses provided by the other Inns can be found on their respective websites.



Date TBC, 2024

Ashworth Centre, Lincoln’s Inn

Tuesday 12 September 2023

Gray’s Inn


Inner Temple

Monday 4 September 2023

Middle Temple


The course is free to attend.

How to Apply

Bookings are not yet open for our 2024 course. If you would like to register your interest and be contacted when the date is confirmed, please fill in this form.

The course is also run by the other three Inns of Court and on Circuit. Please visit their respective websites for more information on their courses.

Gray’s Inn

Inner Temple

Middle Temple

Those wishing to do the training on circuit should contact their Circuit Administrator.