Between 10 and 14 September 2018, the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) partnered with City, University of London and the Bertha Foundation to host an advocacy workshop in Johannesburg. The workshop was attended by 26 delegates from a range of public interest legal services organisations, including Legal Aid South Africa, SERI, Legal Resources Centre (LRC), Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC), the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), the Right2Know Campaign, and Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr's Legal Pro Bono Department. A number of advocates from the Johannesburg Bar also attended the workshop.
The four-day workshop was aimed at equipping candidate attorneys, attorneys, and junior advocates working in public interest legal services organisations with practical experience in litigation and advocacy, with a particular focus on witness handling (leadng evidence and cross-examining witnesses), trial skills and bail proceedings. The workshop began with two days of lectures, practical demonstrations and practice sessions focusing on key skills development, and concluded with two mock trials.
Delegates recieved instruction from Stuart Wilson (SERI's executive director and advocate at the Johannesburg Bar), Gcina Malindi SC (senior counsel at the South African Bar), Anna-Marie de Vos SC (senior councel at the South African Bar), Nikki Walsh, Stuart Lindsay, Simone Start (all senior lecturers at City University Law School's Bar Professional Training Course) and Brian Richardson (a practitioner atNexus Chambers at the London Bar, who focuses on racial equality and criminal defence cases).
The workshop is a unique and critically important practical skills programme that supplies South African public interest legal practitioners with essential courtroom skills to enable them to provide better legal representation to the very poor and vulnerable people they work with accross a wide range of different human rights work. In this way, SERI, the Bertha Foundation and City, University of London hope to contribute to the development and strengthening of well-trained, professional advocates working on public interest law.
SERI would like to thank our partners, City, University of London and the Bertha Foundation, for their support, practical assistance and the development of a professional and challenging curriculum; and the trainers for their high-quality teaching.