Trial advocacy is the branch of knowledge concerned with making attorneys and other advocates more effective in trial proceedings. Mock Trial is a method of clinical legal education. Learning the law in practice at the college level is the essence of mock trial. Mock trial is nothing but model court trial offered through simulation. It teaches the students law in practice before the Criminal Court. Any criminal case before the real court takes years together to complete the procedure including judgment. However, in mock trial students are trained to show the complete procedure within a span of one hour. It is taught as an essential trade skill for litigators in law schools and in continuing legal education programs. The skills of trial advocacy can be broken into two categories:
- Skills that accomplish individual tasks (tactical skills) such as selecting jurors, delivering opening statements and closing arguments, and examining witnesses, and
- Skills that integrate the individual actions to achieve greater effects and to drive unfolding events toward the advocate’s desired outcome (strategy).
Most law school trial advocacy courses focus on tactical skills, though some integrate basic methods of strategic planning. Some academics have expressed disfavor with advanced strategic techniques because of the imbalance they create, especially against attorneys who are unaware of them. Proponents of advanced strategic techniques argue that these methods are the only effective means to counter the already-existing imbalances in the system, as between indigent defendants and the state, and between working-class plaintiffsand well-resourced, wealthy corporations.
The topics commonly encompassed within Trial Advocacy are:
Opening statement: Presenting a non-argumentative overview of what the jury will see, often in the context of the attorney’s theme, theory and story.
Direct examination: Eliciting evidence from one’s own witnesses through non-leading questions. Because studies have shown that people best remember the first and the most recent (last) information heard (methods referred to as primacy and recency), the preferred method is to start with an engaging and favorable topic, move through more mundane matters, and to finish on a strong, favorable point.
Cross examination: Working with witnesses offered by the opposing party who may be hostile or uncooperative.
Closing argument: Using argument to create within the jurors a perception of what they have seen and heard that influences them to find in favor of the attorney’s client.
Persuasion: The general principles that enable an advocate to make the jurors more receptive to his claims.
Mock trial: In mock trial, students take responsibility for the prosecution/ plaintiff or defense case in a trial presented using fabricated evidence, and role-players as witnesses and faculty or volunteers as judge or jury. It evaluates the participants’ skills in argument, evidence handling, and examination of witnesses, but omits jury selection and strategic matters. Mock trial differs from moot court in that moot court practices appellate argument, and so involves no handling of witnesses or evidence, but rather is an exercise in legal research and oral advocacy.
Basic trial strategy: The means of organizing a case into a clear and complete presentation.
- Case Diagrams: In which the attorney charts the elements he / she intends to prove (or attack) and the evidence that will support each. These ensures the case is comprehensively addressed.
- Theme and Theory: The theme is a sound bite that captures the emotional appeal of the case, and the theory is an explanation of events. These serve as strategic focal points, allowing individual actions (opening, examination of each witness, etc.) to be united with a common focus, and in a way that clarifies and reinforces the perception of the case the attorney wants the jury or judge to adopt.
- To train students in the art of advocacy.
- To enlighten students about procedural concept of criminal trial before the court.
- To acquaint with court manner and court procedure.
- To understand the provisions of Cr.P.C and Indian Evidence Act in practice.
- To impart various skills that is required for a practicing lawyer.
- To make the students to understand and appreciate the evidential aspects.
- It helps the students to understand the present scenario of courts.