Opening Speeches for the Prosecution in Criminal Proceedings

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  • Released 7th Feb 2022
  • James Edenborough
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An advocate’s opening speech for the prosecution can be a key moment in a trial. If effective an opening will appear clear, seamless, and engaging, set out the allegation and context, and help a tribunal of fact focus on the key issues.

Underneath that there will often have been considerable preparation and consideration. Even when an opening is very brief and has been prepared at relatively short notice, a practised approach can make all the difference.

This webinar will look at some general points for preparation and structure, including tools for case analysis useful in drafting an opening speech.

It will consider what an opening speech should include and what might be a matter of discretion, what to focus on before different tribunals of fact, and, although different advocates will open in different ways, look at one possible approach to opening to a jury.

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Learning objectives:

An understanding of some approaches to preparation and structuring of an opening prosecution speech

An understanding of key points to include and some points of discretion in the content of an opening speech, and how this might be adapted to different tribunals of fact in criminal trials

An understanding of one possible approach to opening to a jury



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James Edenborough

Consultant to LTC (Practising Barrister) • Law Training Centre

James studied history at the University of Cambridge, going on to an MA in Legal and Political Theory at UCL. A practising barrister, James was at the criminal bar for 13 years. In 2015, James moved in-house to work in professional regulation, specialising in fitness to practise. James taught criminal procedure to paralegal students for NALP and was a trainer for the International Debate Education Association, an NGO which promotes democratic culture through debate, teaching seminars to students in Russia, central Europe, and China.

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