The Rise and Rise of Tribunals – Engaging Law Students in Tribunal Advocacy


  • Shaun McCarthy University of Newcastle



Over the past 30 years there has been a rise in the determination of legal disputes in non-adversarial and less adversarial forums such as tribunals. Tribunals deal with an increasing diversity of legal matters including cases of anti-discrimination, consumer claims and reviewing executive governmental decisions. Traditionally, Australian law schools and higher education practical legal training providers focus on the development of advocacy skills in an adversarial context set in a courtroom. Law students often study compulsory doctrinal courses solely from an adversarial court perspective. Little emphasis is placed on developing skills and knowledge in the practice and procedure of tribunals despite entry level lawyers appearing more frequently in such forums. This paper argues that there is a need for law students to engage in advocacy experiences in tribunal settings as distinct from the courtroom so they can acquire and foster skills to appear in such non-adversarial and less adversarial forums when in legal practice. By engaging expert witnesses, such as medical experts, in simulated tribunal hearings the realism of the advocacy experience for the student is heightened.






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