• Offered by ANU School of Legal Practice
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law, Legal Practice
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

Family Lawyers are advocates.  Whether they appear at final hearings by choice or because there is no funding to engage counsel to support the independent children's lawyer, they need to know how to stand and ask questions.  They also need to understand how the affidavits they prepare are used and taken apart.  This course gives them that information in a practical way.  Students must prepare the case, ask questions of witnesses and present closing arguments, both in writing and orally.  They will be critiqued and guided by practising barristers who work in the family law area.

The skills to be a good advocate are not subject specific but this course also provides a particular context:  family law is more inquisitorial in style, the rules of evidence apply differently and the role of the independent children's lawyer can change the game.  

Advocacy - Family Law is a valuable addition to the series of family law courses (Foundations of Family law; Family (Property) and Family (Children), offered as part of the ANU Masters programs. Those courses provide deeper understanding of the principles and practical application of family law.  The advocacy course enables students to see the application in its final phase.  By understanding what happens in court, the student will be able to better reconsider and refine their documents whether they are intended for a court environment or not.

This course will suit any student interested in litigation and advocacy, but will provide particular benefits for those with an interest in family law. The relevant family law principles are identified so any student from a different area can relatively quickly be across the necessary law.  

The topics briefly review basic principles of witness examination and making submissions but build on those skills for more detailed analysis, structure, consideration of the rules of evidence, effective use of documents to prove and discredit a case together with more subtle and challenging witness examination and submission skills.

You will receive a case file with relevant materials, just as a barrister would.  The broad topic will be family law specific but there will be other issues regarding credibility and rules of evidence.  

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced and integrated understanding of a complex body of knowledge incorporating the legal framework and practical aspects of expert evidence in a variety of disciplines;
  2. Demonstrate mastery of theoretical knowledge of legal and ethical principles, issues, implications and risks, and a sound understanding of the context and methods applicable in conducting and dealing with expert witnesses and their reports;
  3. Demonstrate current knowledge and cognitive abilities to advise a range of clients on legal, probity and related issues relevant to expert evidence, whether in the form of expert reports or ‘live’ expert witnesses, in a variety of professional disciplines;
  4. Demonstrate technical legal and analytical competence in preparing and presenting expert evidence in a variety of professional disciplines;
  5. Critically analyse and apply expert judgment by synthesising complex information in preparing and presenting expert evidence in a variety of professional disciplines;
  6. Demonstrate cognitive skills to identify, contextualise and devise appropriate methods through critical analysis of complex information, to present expert evidence in a variety of professional disciplines;
  7. Research and apply appropriate methodologies, technical, legal and practical knowledge to develop autonomously solutions-focused strategies to a challenging set of facts and circumstances and interpret that information in preparing and presenting expert evidence in a variety of professional disciplines;
  8. Demonstrate and apply initiative and ethical behaviour in preparing and presenting expert evidence in a variety of professional disciplines.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Indicative assessment may include: (null) [LO null]
  2. 1. Initial submissions/examination/cross-examination - 10% (10) [LO null]
  3. 2. Advocacy participation/performances during the 4 day intensive - 25% (25) [LO null]
  4. 3. Advocacy assessment - 40% (40) [LO null]
  5. 4. Final submissions - 25% (25) [LO null]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


26 Contact Hours (Intensive Delivery over 4 days: 9-12 April 2018) plus private study time and Wattle interaction online.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (7300XLLM, MLLM), Master of Laws specialising in International Law (7300XSINTL), Master of Laws specialising in Law, Governance and Development (7300SLGD), Master of Laws specialising in Environmental Law (7300SEVNL), Master of Laws specialising in Government and Commercial Law (7300SGCL), Master of Laws specialising in International Security Law (7300SISL), Master of Laws in Migration (NLLML), Master of Laws in International Law (NLLIL), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (NLLEN), Master of Laws in Law, Governance & Development (NLLGD), Master of Laws in International Security Law (NLLSL), Master of Laws in Government and Regulation (NLLGR), Master of Laws (Legal Practice) (7312XLLMLP), Master of Diplomacy/Master of Laws (7883SINTL), Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP), Master of International Law (7310XMINTL), Master of Environmental Law (7309XMENVL), Master of Law, Governance & Development (7317XMLGD), Master of International Security Law (7318XMISL), Master of Government and Commercial Law (7313XMGCL); OR Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 level LAWS courses or five 6100 level LAWS courses; OR Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; OR Master of Military Law (MMILL); OR Juris Doctor - online (MJDOL) and have completed LAWS8712 Australian Public Law & International Law B. Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for permission number.

Prescribed Texts

There is no prescribed text. Relevant materials regarding advocacy skills, including videos to assist you preparing your case analysis, will be available online on WATTLE.

Preliminary Reading

A Course Study Guide will be available on the Wattle course site approximately 2-4 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.

The full expert evidence service, and Cross on Evidence are available from the ANU Library Electronic resources under ‘L’.  Expert Evidence is under ‘Lawbook Online’.  Cross on Evidence is under ‘Lexisnexis AU’.  These resources are available to any enrolled student.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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