On 7 November 2019, the Hon. Judge Philip Misso, Judge in Charge of the Common Law Division of the County Court of Victoria, presented on the topic of “The Trial – Preparation, a Trial plan and the Language of the Trial”, in the third installment of the Court Advocacy Series run by the Victorian Asian Australian Lawyers Association and Maurice Blackburn.
His Honour emphasised:
- the importance of preparing early and comprehensively, as factual circumstances may change such that crucial evidence is not available at a later date;
- the need for a trial plan to break down a case into its fundamental elements, identify the questions to be answered, shortcomings of the case and evidence required, and facilitate prioritisation of tasks to be completed in the lead-up to trial;
- that in opening, the case to be put (including the facts, relevant legal principles and application thereof) should be summarised in a concise and pithy manner, to allow the judge to focus on pertinent material when presented in further detail thereafter;
- that in making applications, it is advisable to get to the point and explain what is being sought, why it should be granted and set out the evidentiary basis; and
- that the language of the trial varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but can be learned by careful consideration of the relevant authorities.
His Honour also acknowledged that different styles of communication and advocacy can be effective, so long as you get to the point in terms of stating what you want, why you want it and what legal principles and evidence you rely on in support.
We thank His Honour for his time, expertise and support, and Maurice Blackburn for collaborating with AALA for this series.