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CBA Advanced Advocacy Scholarship

The 2021 course has been cancelled – applications for 2022 will open in January 2022.

The 2022 South Eastern Circuit Bar Mess Foundation Advanced International Advocacy Course at Keble College, Oxford will take place from

Tuesday 30th August – Saturday 3rd September 2022.

Participants must attend each day of the course.

The aim of this course is to encourage and develop the highest standards of advocacy amongst practitioners in London and the South East. The course is the most demanding and intensive of any advocacy course in the UK.

Lord Walker said the following in the House of Lords on 10 July 2014, when talking about the Bar’s work in advocacy training: “The most outstanding course, of which at least my legal colleagues will be well aware, is the week-long advanced advocacy course held every year at Keble College, Oxford, which goes on to more advanced matters, including appellate advocacy, and the important topics of handling vulnerable witnesses and expert witnesses”.

To qualify for the course, you must join the Circuit and be a practising member of the Bar, over three years’ call at the time of attending the course.

The course is massively subsidised by the Circuit and the cost to each participating Circuit member is £1,200.00 / £2,000.00 + VAT (Crime / Civil respectively). 

The Circuit subsidy represents at least the participant cost all over again: i.e. the Circuit is making a large investment in its Practitioners.

Previous courses have been accredited by the Bar Standards Board (includes 33 CPD hours, 9 Advocacy hours).

The course takes place at Keble College, Oxford.

The faculty consists of senior juniors, silks and judges, all of whom have undergone teacher training including specific training for this course. The ratio of participant to teacher is approximately 2.5:1.

Every participant undertakes each piece of work. Each piece of work is filmed. Advocacy takes place in small break-up groups of around 12. There is immediate critique in the class room followed by private one-on-one video critique. The purpose of the sessions during the week is to improve advocacy skills in all areas, including interlocutory work, associated with a trial.

On the last day of the course a full trial takes place (also filmed) for criminal practitioners before a judge and jury, and for civil practitioners before a High Court Judge or Deputy. The jury’s deliberations are filmed: each participant receives the film. Jurors also complete a confidential questionnaire on each advocate’s performance.

Midway through the week a day and a half is devoted to working with experts in a trial setting. The experts will either be specialist consultant endocrinologists and neurologists (a medical negligence/manslaughter case) or accountants from one of the large accountancy firms.  Voice coaching is also available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Whilst the work on this course is demanding and difficult, firm friendships are made in the context of a supportive collegiate environment. Participants will be living and working with some of the great advocates of this generation, whose intentions are to help each participant realise his or her true potential.

This course is internationally recognised as arguably the best and most intensive advocacy course in the world. In recent years, we have been fortunate enough to have participants from the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague, and faculty and participants from the Scottish Bar, the Florida Bar, the South African Bar, and the Bars of Australia, India, Pakistan and Hong Kong. We, and they, all gain immeasurably from this dimension.

Application and Scholarships’ – this section will be updated in late 2021

If you wish to attend the 2020 course, please download and complete the application form and return it to Aaron J Dolan, The South Eastern Circuit, Suite 23, 30 St Dunstan’s Street, Canterbury, Kent CT2 8HG, or send a copy of the signed originals to: [email protected]

The Inns of Court offer funding for up to five of their members practising as Barristers in publicly funded work, towards the cost of attending the Keble Advanced Advocacy Course.

To apply for a scholarship from your Inn for the 2020 course, please complete both the application form and the Inns’ scholarship application form and submit them together to Aaron J Dolan.

To apply for the CBA Advocacy Scholarship, please complete the application form and return to Aaron J Dolan, together with a covering letter or Email explaining your reasons for applying.

Recent attributes from past participants can be found in ‘The Circuiteer’

A copy of the 2019 programme is available here

The deadline for the submission of application forms and references is Friday 3rd July 2020.