UK and South African governments back advocacy training programme

A TEAM of South African barristers has arrived in London to learn the skills of advocacy training from leading UK barristers.

The visit marks the start of a major training programme being jointly funded by the UK and South African governments.

It also signifies the breaking of new ground for the Inns of Court Advocacy Training committee, which will take its skills abroad for the first time next month during a visit to South Africa.

The committee's chair, Michael Hill QC, will lead a team of 10 senior barristers and an administrator on a three-week trip to help the South African Bar set up an advocacy training programme similar to the UK scheme.

As well as training around 50 advocacy teacher-trainers the team will also hold workshops for up to 140 pupil barristers in Durban, Johannes- burg and Cape Town.

Hill described the project as “very exciting” and said its importance was reflected by the fact that both the South African and UK governments had agreed to back it.

It was set up after talks between Dullah Omah, the South African minister for justice, and overseas development minister Lady Chalker during his visit to the UK last year. At the time he also met leading legal figures including the then Bar Council chair Peter Goldsmith QC.

The Overseas Development Administration will be supplying funds of up to £140,000 to pay for the trip and the costs of workshop accommodation and equipment.