Written Advocacy

Like oral advocacy, the goal of written advocacy is to persuade. It is a key aspect of international proceedings and the best international lawyers and prosecutors are those who have mastered both oral and written advocacy.

 

Iain Morley, QC, in his book 'The Devil's Advocate', writes that legal writing should be like a cavalry charge—swift, full, impressive, with no messing around, it should cover the ground, all of it, and do the job, fast.

 

The best legal writing focuses on the solution and not on how big the problem is. Although advocates should remain true to their own style, there are a number of techniques that lead to more effective and persuasive writing. Advocates before international(ised) courts and tribunals tend to follow certain unwritten norms. One of them, for example, is the ‘point first’ technique. Others include using multiple headings, introducing facts by giving the context for them, and separating the disputed from the undisputed facts.

 

During the course of a case, an international advocate will have to write a plethora of different types of pleadings, each with its own set of rules to follow. Trial and appellate written advocacy, for example, differ considerably.

The good news is that one can significantly improve their written skills by following proven techniques and through practice. These skills will apply in all English, French, Arabic, or any other language in which you are practising.