Launching the Trial Counsel Development Program for 2019

Launching the Trial Counsel Development Program for 2019

Thursday, 28 March 2019

L–R: Louise Glanville, Jonathan Manning, Stephanie Joosten, Abbie Roodenburg, Matt Collins QC, Tim Marsh, Julia Kretzenbacher, Sarah Lenthall and Angela Sharpley (Veronika Drago absent).

On Wednesday 27 March we joined with the Victorian Bar to launch the 2019 Trial Counsel Development Program. This year, there are seven junior counsel participants, each of whom can expect to undertake two trials under the direct tutelage of lead counsel.

In welcoming the 2019 participants, Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) Chief Counsel, Tim Marsh noted the significant number of women who have participated in the program over the years including the 2019 group.

Mr Marsh said 'This will be the fifth time we have run the program, which has seen a total of 47 participants, 34 of whom are women.'

'Our experience in selecting participants for the program has confirmed that men and women with comparable skills and experience, face different obstacles and opportunities as they develop their advocacy careers.

'While there has never been any deliberate bias towards women as participants, in focusing on talented advocates who were on the cusp of running trials in their own right, we saw that women formed the bulk of that group.

'We remain committed to equitable briefing and reducing some of the barriers that women face in the profession, this program being just a small part,' said Mr Marsh

A significant component of the program is the training of participants in essential trial skills.

VLA Chambers has developed realistic trial preparation materials, and are collaborating with organisations such as Forensicare and the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine to give participants the chance to cross-examine real witnesses.

Over the eight years of the program, VLA has funded junior counsel in 177 trials, including ten in regional locations, that would not have otherwise merited two counsel. This would not be possible without the 45 leaders in the program who embody excellence in their craft, are willing to share their knowledge and who can mentor their juniors and give appropriate coaching and feedback.

'The criminal justice system as a whole operates most effectively if well-trained and skillful counsel act for accused people and for the Crown,' said Mr Marsh.

The program was developed to deliver unique training opportunities to selected junior counsel to develop a steady pool of quality advocates at the Junior Bar. It also aims to ensure that legally aided clients can access skilled and experienced trial counsel who can run effective and efficient criminal trials.

More information

Find out more about the Trial Counsel Development Program and how to get involved.

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