Video the way forward, says US lawyer

Pictures are set to become an increasingly important weapon in the armoury of the courtroom advocate, according to an American legal expert.

Deanne Siemer, chair of the US National Institute for Trail Advocacy trustees board, said that a range of visual tools such as video and computer generated images were set to gain greater prominence in the courtroom in an attempt to win over judge or jury.

“The power of the box is really quite amazing,” she said.

Siemer said enforced time restrictions and caseload has meant American advocates had long been more direct in their oral presentations and more enthusiastic users of visual information compared with their British counterparts.

“I think some of your advocates are more capable of an eloquent defence of a slender position than you would find in our courts,” said Siemer.

But with time limits set to be imposed on British advocates, Siemer suggested they may have to cut the waffle and turn on the eye-catching evidence to get cases across effectively.

Siemer was in London last week with 119 delegates from around the world for the first International Advocacy Training Symposium at Gray's Inn.

Inns of Court Advocacy Training Committee chairman Michael Hill QC said he hoped this would be the first of a number of regular conferences.

“By learning from each other we can improve what we do,” said Hill.