A few lucky Goldsmiths Law students were amongst a small audience attending in person the – within hours – sold out first Hamlyn lecture at Gray’s Inn Hall on October 11th.
The lecture, that is coordinated by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of London, was delivered by Lord Pannick QC, one of the most distinguished barristers in the country, who has led in the Miller (1) and Miller (2) cases, where the Government suffered historic defeats, on the triggering of Article 50 and the prorogation of Parliament respectively. More recently, Lord Pannick acted for Shamima Begum at the Supreme Court.
The lecture celebrated advocacy (“The Essence of Advocacy”). Lord Pannick sought to identify the central characteristics of good and bad advocacy with the aid of examples from courtroom practice in the UK and abroad.
Lord Pannick elaborated on ten principles that all good advocates should follow such as sound knowledge of the relevant area of law (naturally), focussing on the strong(er) arguments, but being aware – and working on – weaknesses in your argument, engaging with the bench, plain speaking, avoiding “boring” the judge or taking the risk of humour, and ensuring you never lose your temper (no matter how serious the provocation).
The lecture included an impressive range of references to great orators and politicians; Demosthenes, Aristotle, Seneca, Abraham Lincoln, Obama got a number of mentions, as did contemporary lawyers in the US and the UK, though not always for good reasons!