The Good, the Bad and the Competent

A view from the North

Good advocates and bad advocates both make mistakes. It is only the good advocate that realises they have lapsed into error and resolves not to do it again.

But what makes a good advocate?

A good advocate is not a “competent” advocate. A competent advocate will be able to string a sentence together (there are some that cannot and they are easily identifiable as a poor advocate) and will probably cover most of the basics required in questioning and making submissions. The competent advocate, however, is a long way from a good advocate. I fear that many mistake competent for good. We certainly know that the previous Lord Chancellor was content for a legion of competent advocates. He was wrong.

Simply because someone is an “effective” advocate does not mean they are a good advocate. Of course good advocacy is effective advocacy. However just because someone wins more than they…

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