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Advocacy skills in family law

Course ID AC230801_FLP15

  • Online
  • 10
  • Masters

All family lawyers advocate for their clients in various settings, and many choose to appear in Court for procedural listings, interim hearings and final hearings. This post-graduate level course gives you the working knowledge you need to be the best advocate you can be for your clients.

In this skills-based course conducted online over 12 weeks and covering 9 modules of study, you will focus on developing, reflecting on and refining your written advocacy skills in the specific context of family law financial and parenting matters.

You will learn how to:

  1. Prepare to act as an advocate in a family law matter in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia;
  1. Perform all the roles of an advocate in this Court;

  2. Apply the rules of evidence, as well as brief and examine witnesses, and

  3. Resolve typical ethical and professional practice issues which arise in the conduct of matters in this practice area.

At the conclusion of the course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Please note that this is a non-award, post-graduate level short course. If you are interested in completing this course as a part of our post-graduate award program leading to a Masters degree, Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma, please contact our Customer Engagement team on 1300 506 402 to find out more about your options. 


Full Price $2890.00


Start date:

14 August 2023

End date:

03 November 2023


Each week you will complete readings, group discussions and online activities. 

There are 8 scheduled online conferences in weeks 2 – 9 of the course. During these conferences you will explore the subject learning material with your lecturer and peers. You will also receive guidance on the activities and assessments.

Week 1

Module 1 – Self-assessment activity

  • Reflect on your existing skills, knowledge, strengths and areas for refinement

Week 2

Module 2 – Role of the advocate

  • critically evaluate the role of the advocate in family law matters
  • identify and resolve ethical issues that may arise form instructions, and
  • outline the rules of advocacy and professional responsibility.

Week 3

Module 3 – Preparing for hearing

  • identify potential parties and other persons who may be involved in a case
  • advise a client on how to prepare for hearings, the procedures, and any obligations
  • prepare documentation for hearings, and
  • discuss the obligations which arise when a party is self-represented.

Week 4

Module 4 – Division 12A and financial proceedings

  • advise your client and witnesses about the interim hearing and final hearing processes
  • draft relevant court documentation in preparation for the first day of Div 12A of the Family Law Act 1975(Cth) (FLA) proceedings
  • present your client’s case on the first day of Div 12A of the FLA proceedings and consider your strategy for subsequent hearing days, and
  • draft relevant court documentation in preparation for court events in financial proceedings.

Week 5

Module 5 – Evidence

  • identify and apply rules of evidence as they apply to family law proceedings, and
  • advise a client about the rules of evidence in pursuit of a client's case, and the court's approach.

Week 6

Module 6 – Examination-in-chief and witnesses

  • draft court documentation by identifying the facts and issues in a case
  • advise a prospective witness and confidently lead a witness through a volume of material in-chief
  • advise your client about the procedures in calling an expert witness, and
  • evaluate the options and process in making evidence available.

Week 7

Module 7 – Cross-examination and re-examination

  • identify the aims of an effective cross-examination
  • plan and conduct an effective cross-examination of a witness, and
  • analyse when it may be appropriate to re-examine your witness.

Week 8

Module 8 – Submissions, reviews, stay applications and the slip rule

  • identify the rules, procedures and applicable case law in relation to reviews, stay applications, and the slip rule, and
  • make submissions in a persuasive, logical and coherent manner, consistent with the relevant rules and principles, and your obligations to the court and client.

Week 9

Module 9 – Interlocutory applications and appeals 

  • apply the rules of evidence to affidavits in preparation for interlocutory applications
  • discuss the types of appeals in family law matters
  • advise when it is necessary to obtain leave to appeal, and
  • advise on the procedure, costs and orders to be sought in appeals.

Activity/Assessment structure:

  1. Activities – in weeks 4, 5, 6 and 9, participants are invited to complete a feedback activity on that week’s topics, which may be in the form of a memo, short letter of advice, a short presentation or a file note (20%)
  2. Oral assessment – a recorded video presentation on one of the topics with slides and response to lecturer questions (30%).
  3. Written assessment – a written task based on a practical fact scenario (40%).
  4. Reflection activity (10%)

Completion of the activities/assessments and receiving the related feedback will help you to get the most out of this course. As a non-award short course, it is up to you whether to undertake the activities/assessment.


Study load

This course consisting of online modules that include self-paced study, practical activities, online discussion forums and interactive Zoom sessions. We recommend that you allow up to 10 hours a week to this study.

Should you choose to undertake the assessments, you will also need to devote around an additional 30 hours throughout the course for the assessments and preparation.


Delivery & assessment

The subject content includes online readings, videos, learning activities, interactions with lectures and peers, online conferences, and activities/assessments.


Who is this course for

This course is designed for all family lawyers wishing to improve and refine their advocacy skills.



This course complies with the mandatory categories of Professional Skills, Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Substantive Law



If you intend to claim CPD units for this educational activity, please note that CPD activities are not accredited by the Law Society of NSW or any other equivalent local authority, with the exception of Western Australia. If you hold a practising certificate in a state or territory other than Western Australia and this educational activity extends your knowledge and skills in areas that are relevant to your practice needs or professional development, then you should claim one (1) "unit” for each hour of attendance, refreshment breaks not included. Please refer to your local rules and relevant caps on claiming CPD points for the private study of audio-visual material. The annual requirement is ten (10) CPD units each year from 1 April to 31 March. Some practitioners, such as accredited specialists are required to complete more than ten (10) units each CPD year.

Please note: Practitioners holding WA practising certificates are not eligible to earn CPD points for this course.