LLM Programme

The taught modules offered on the LLM programme vary from year to year. Please check the full list of taught modules list for details of modules running in specific academic years. We make every effort to ensure that every module will be offered, but modules are subject to change and cancellation. You are therefore advised to check this site regularly for further updates throughout the year preceding entry to the LLM programme.

Credit value: 15 credits (6 ECTS)
Module Convenor: Mr David Pope Other Teachers: N/A


This module is about advocacy – the art of arguing persuasively on behalf of others. Advocacy is at the heart of what modern lawyers do.

The module draws on classical rhetoric, the system for teaching oratory that the ancient Greeks and Romans developed from the fifth century B.C. Classical rhetoric was simultaneously a theory of persuasion and a practical step-by-step guide to making persuasive speeches.

Like classical rhetoric, this module combines theory and practice. The theoretical element comprises classical and modern ideas about persuasion, particularly in the context of legal disputes. Students then put those ideas into practice by analysing examples of real-life advocacy in modern court proceedings.


The course is divided into two parts. The first part (seminars I-V) covers the basic principles of classical rhetoric. The second part (seminars VI-X) covers some of the key areas of modern advocacy. Seminar by seminar, the course content is broadly as follows:

PART 1: Classical rhetoric

I. Introduction
• Summary of the syllabus
• Brief history of classical rhetoric

II. Meaning of "rhetoric”
• Ancient and modern definitions of “rhetoric”
• Three elements of a speech
• Three “types” of rhetoric

III. Means of persuasion
• “Non-artistic” and “artistic” means of persuasion
• “Artistic” means of persuasion in modern advertising

IV. “Canons” of classical rhetoric - part 1
• Analysis of Cicero's speech Pro Ligario
• Invention

V. “Canons” of classical rhetoric – part 2
• Arrangement
• Style
• Memory
• Delivery

PART 2: Modern advocacy

VI. Legal arguments
• Introduction to modern advocacy
• Form of arguments, particularly legal arguments
• Outline of Stephen Toulmin's theory of argumentation

VII. Written advocacy
• Key skills of written advocacy in modern legal practice
• Analysis of a leading QC's skeleton argument

VIII. Oral advocacy
• Key skills of oral advocacy in modern legal practice
• Analysis of a leading QC's speech in the UK Supreme Court

IX. Witness advocacy
• Types of “live” evidence and functions witnesses perform
• Key skills of examining witnesses

X. Analysing advocacy
• Analysis of a leading QC's opening speech in a criminal trial
• Review of the module

Background Reading (optional):

For a light-hearted introduction to the subject, see Sandler, Epps and Waicukauski, Classical Rhetoric and the Modern Trial Lawyer, 36 Litigation 2 (Winter 2010), available online at http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/litigation/materials/sac_2012/44-1_classical_rhetoric_and_the_modern_trial_lawyer.authcheckdam.pdf

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment in September.

Delivery and enrolment
Lectures/Seminars: 10 x two-hour seminars
Tutorials: None
Previous module enrolments: Medium – 16-50 students
Who may enrol: LLM students
Prerequisities: None
Barred module combinations: None
Core Module for LLM specialism: Litigation and Dispute Resolution
Final Assessment: 2-hour unseen written examination
Practice Assessment: Students may submit a written answer to a past exam question selected by the convenor. The convenor will provide individual comments on each answer submitted and give general feedback in class.

This page was last updated on 22 July, 2014


The application process for the 2015-16 academic session is now open.

Please note, for the 2015-16 intake, we are not accepting the TOEFL test. If you have an English condition to meet, you must take one of the alternative tests listed here instead.