Continuing Competency – reflection on practice and Advocacy Development Plan

SRA Continuing Competence

Since 1 November 2016, solicitors have no longer needed to complete 16 CPD hours annually. However, if you think you don't need to attend any more training courses that would be a mistake! Rather than simply attending training solicitors now have to be able to show that they have reflected on the quality of their practice and identified any learning and development needs. You must then plan how to address your needs and knowledge gaps and then record and evaluate your activities. A declaration of compliance will be made when renewing your practising certificate and may be subject to auditing.The SRA Competence Statement includes a requirement to:

Undertake effective spoken and written advocacy (in and out of court), including:

  1. Preparing effectively by identifying and mastering relevant facts and legal principles
  2. Organising facts to support the argument or position
  3. Presenting a reasoned argument in a clear, logical, succinct and persuasive way
  4. Making appropriate reference to legal authority
  5. Complying with formalities
  6. Dealing with witnesses appropriately
  7. Responding effectively to questions or opposing arguments
  8. Identifying strengths and weaknesses from different parties' perspectives

The requirement for solicitor advocates to undertake 5 hours of CPD in each year for 5 years after qualification is replaced by the requirement to reflect on practise and seek the necessary training to maintain competence and develop.

Advocacy competencies are set out in more detail in the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) Handbook. QASA registration for solicitor advocates remains suspended by the SRA.

Download your Development Plan for Advocacy for your records and see below for how SAHCA Training can meet your advocacy continuing competence

How to prepare and plan for a trial / How to develop a case theory Case theory is the foundation on which trial advocacy is built. Learn about case theory either by completing Distance Learning Case Theory Module or attending the Essential Advocacy Training for civil or for criminal practitioners. There are various dates available to book online this year, choose here.
How to conduct examination in chief/ structure / questionsLearn how to adduce your evidence from your witness to support your case, with structure, with control, with style; how to avoid leading questions and when you can ask them by attending the Essential Advocacy Training for civil or criminal practitioners. There are various dates to book online this year, choose here.
How to cross examination/ structure/ questions/ with control / effectivelyLearn how to ask leading questions, tell not ask, 'go commando' by attending Essential Advocacy Training for civil or criminal practitioners as a first step and then (or if you are confident and want more robust feedback and guidance) attend the Intermediate Advocacy Training for civil or criminal practitioners. There are various dates for the Essential Course throughout the year, choose a date here. The Intermediate Course is run once a year 9 & 10 June 2017, book here for civil and here for criminal .

How to impeach in cross examinationHave you heard of CAPRI or 3Cs? Learn how to tackle a witness with their previous inconsistent statement by attending the Intermediate Advocacy Training for civil or criminal practitioners. There are various dates for the Essential Course throughout the year, choose a date here. The Intermediate Course is run once a year 9 & 10 June 2017, book here for civil and here for criminal .

How to handle Vulnerable witnesses

The Advocacy and the Vulnerable Training Programme 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, irrespective of the nature of the allegation, or the jurisdiction in which the advocate appears.

In due course, the training will become mandatory for any advocate wishing to undertake publicly funded work for serious sexual offence cases involving vulnerable witnesses.

SAHCA is able to deliver this training programme to members. The course requires 8 hours of online study before attending a 3 hour course. The course will be limited to 4 delegates for each facilitator. There are various dates to book online this year, choose here.

SAHCA is able to deliver this training at your offices if you have suitable space and are able to invite colleagues and/or other local member to attend. Please email the Training Officer for details: admin@sahca.org.uk.

As an introduction to handling vulnerable witnesses attend the Intermediate Advocacy Training for civil or criminal practitioners. The Intermediate Course is run once a year 9 & 10 June 2017, book here for civil and here for criminal .

How to handle expert witnessesA different approach is required by the advocate when examining an expert witness. An advocate must:

  1. understand basic principles of selecting the right expert;
  2. understand how best to instruct and use an expert;
  3. understand the procedure rules governing experts;
  4. understand the principles of cross-examination;
  5. understand the expert's own perspective of providing evidence for a trial

All of these skills are taught and practised during the Handling Expert Witness Training Course, a one day course usually run once a year by SAHCA training. Date to be confirmed for 2017. Please email the Training Officer for details: admin@sahca.org.uk  

As an introduction to handling expert witnesses attend the Intermediate Advocacy Training for civil or criminal practitioners. The Intermediate Course is run once a year 9 & 10 June 2017, book here for civil and here for criminal .

Making Submissions:The key points to making submissions are dealt with at the Intermediate Advocacy Training for civil or criminal practitioners. The Intermediate Course is run once a year 9 & 10 June 2017, book here for civil and here for criminal .

Skeleton Arguments:Read SAHCA guidance here.

The key points to drafting skeleton arguments are dealt with at the Intermediate Advocacy Training for civil or criminal practitioners. The Intermediate Course is run once a year 9 & 10 June 2017, book here for civil and here for criminal .

Closing Speeches:The key points to making a closing speech arguments are dealt with at the Intermediate Advocacy Training for civil or criminal practitioners. The Intermediate Course is run once a year 9 & 10 June 2017, book here for civil and here for criminal .

Forms of Address and Court Attire for advocates:Read the SAHCA guidance here.

How to make appropriate reference to legal authority:Read the SAHCA guidance here