Monday, July 18, 2011

Legal Advocacy Skills Workshop

By Ing Veasna,

On March 13, 2011, the University of Cambodia (UC) hosted a workshop named Legal Advocacy Skills for Young Lawyers, which was supervised by Tep Punloeu, Associate Dean for the College of Law and the coach of the mock trial role-playing teams. Over 200 students watched the student prosecutors, attorneys, and witnesses perform during the workshop, which was a part of the UC Forum for Young Leaders.

The workshop consisted of two sessions. The first session was a lecture on legal advocacy skills, and the last session consisted of the role play performance and a critique of the performance by the judges. The purpose of the workshop was to help students understand the trial procedure and to learn about advocacy skills of attorneys. Attorneys and prosecutors use advocacy skills to discuss the case during a court trial.

Sokkhea Gechchheng, a term 5 College of Law student of UC and Project Personnel for the event, said she thought the workshop helped many students, especially law students, understand the trial procedure through the mock trial.

“The audience [members] were very happy and were attracted by the role players like they were in the real trial”, she said. “The audience could easily understand the story of the case because of the good performance of the role players.”

She also expressed her appreciation for the students who served as prosecutors, attorneys, and witnesses because “they shared the responsibility well and made it like a real trial.” After watching the workshop, she believes that the two role-playing teams can win an upcoming Mock Trial Competition for UC.

The law students who performed in the workshop were also able to practice the theories they learned from the classroom, improve their case analysis skills, develop critical thinking skills, and improve their ability to work in teams.

Phan Sin, a legal instructor at UC and one of the speakers and judges during the workshop, said that the workshop was generally good, but that students should have also addressed some of the weaknesses in their arguments.

“The mock prosecutors and attorneys should be clear about the common and civil law system. . .[and] the mock trial should be like the real trial,” said Mr. Sin.

He said that he enjoyed the workshop because these types of activities are good for the university, as well as for students. He encouraged hosting the workshop more often to help students understand the legal court and gain knowledge on legal advocacy skills. Moreover, he said he expects the next workshop will be better because students will have more experience and time to prepare.

Heng Chiveon, a term 5 College of Law student and one of the prosecutors, was happy after the workshop.

“Legal advocacy skill is not an easy skill to learn,” he said. “It requires a long time [for] practice, [and] critical thinking and analyzing skills.”

He continued to say that the students trained for only a few weeks, but that he was very proud of his performance during the workshop. He attributed his success as a prosecutor to commitment and great coaching.

“I will get the winning place [in the] Mock Trial Competition for the University of Cambodia,” he said.

Source: UC Bulletin March 2011, Page 17

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