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.
MODERN ADVOCACY AND CLASSICAL RHETORIC (LAWSG136) Credit value: 15 credits (6 ECTS)
Assessment method for LLM students: two-hour unseen written examination
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 heavily 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.
• Summary of the syllabus
• Brief history of classical rhetoric
2. Meaning of 'rhetoric'
• Ancient and modern definitions of 'rhetoric'
• Three elements of a speech
• Three 'types' of rhetoric
3. Means of persuasion
• 'Non-artistic' and 'artistic' means of persuasion
• 'Artistic' means of persuasion in modern advertising
4. 'Canons' of classical rhetoric I
• Analysis of Cicero's speech Pro Ligario
5. 'Canons' of classical rhetoric II
6. Legal arguments
• Introduction to modern advocacy
• Form of arguments, particularly legal arguments
• Outline of Stephen Toulmin's theory of argumentation
7. Written advocacy
• Key skills of written advocacy in modern legal practice
• Analysis of a leading QC's skeleton argument
8. Oral advocacy
• Key skills of oral advocacy in modern legal practice
• Analysis of a leading QC's speech in the UK Supreme Court
9. Witness advocacy
• Types of 'live' evidence
• Key skills of examining witnesses
10. Analysing advocacy
• Analysis of a leading QC's opening speech in a criminal trial
• Review of the module
The main learning objectives of the module are as follows:
• Know the basic principles of classical rhetoric.
• Understand why those principles are relevant to modern legal practice.
• Know how to analyse written and oral advocacy for persuasive effect.
• Know techniques for constructing and delivering persuasive legal arguments.
No single text covers the entire module. However, the reading for most seminars includes an extract from one of the following texts:
Iain Morley Q.C., The Devil's Advocate, 2nd ed., 2009
Kristen Konrad Robbins-Tiscione, Rhetoric for Legal Writers: The Theory and Practice of Analysis and Persuasion, 2009
Additional materials, including extracts from modern and classical texts, journal articles, case reports and documents used in real legal disputes, are provided electronically through Moodle (UCL's virtual learning environment).
Robbins-Tiscione (above), pp.1-4 and 9-24.
A reading list for each seminar is posted in advance on the module Moodle page. Each list includes items of "essential reading", which students are expected to read before the seminar so that they can participate in class discussions. Reading lists also include "further reading", some of which may be mentioned in the seminar, but on the assumption that not everyone has read it.
Prizes for this module: There are currently no prizes available for this module.
The application process for the 2014-15 academic session, for entry in September 2014, is now open.
Please refer to the How to apply section for information on the application process.