Unfortunately, ‘winging it’ is not an option when representing a client as a civil or criminal barrister. While your favourite barrister on your favourite legal television show may ‘wing it’ regularly, this is not recommended as a defence strategy in reality. If you read news articles about successful barristers, you will note their many years of education and extensive history working in the legal profession – read this article about Michael Wolkind QC for an example. It is common knowledge that a barrister, in reality, needs to be adequately prepared if they are to have any chance of success. The most preparation you see in legal dramas is the lawyer organising files and reading them at the desk. This article will provide information on the method to follow to effectively prepare criminal or civil court cases.
The first point to remember when preparing to represent a case in court is that there are no short cuts to successful preparation. As a new barrister, you may think there are short routes to a satisfactory conclusion; however, the more experienced advocates will agree that success is only a result of hard work. Of course, the more experience you gain and the more time you spend in the legal field, the easier you will find it to carry out preparation and read papers.
Contrary to popular belief, organisation and reading of court papers are not the only forms of preparation to be completed. While the first thing to do when receiving a brief is reading the document, it is important to examine the individuals involved with the case and their position in the situation as well. This is the reason why barristers need to be skilled at reading personalities, emotions, and individuals in the court.
Picturing the scene is vital as this will assist in understanding the case effectively. The first factor to take into account is the ‘dramatis personae’. The ‘dramatis personae’ involves the setting of the people involved in the case and their activities. It is also recommended that one considers the chronology of the case examining the order in which events took place. All this information should be included in the documentation. By the end of perusal, it is essential that all the data is formed in your head and you can note which are significant to the case.
One of the most significant features of any trial preparation is the development of a case theory. The case theory is one that will explain the client’s version of events and place it in accordance with the facts. The more persuasive the theory is, the higher the chance of case success. It is important to consider all pros and cons of the theory before using the theory in court. Nothing is less persuasive than a flawed theory.