Making a case for legal argument in Adelaide

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
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Friday, 28 January 2011

The art and craft of how lawyers win their cases in court will be the subject of a major conference in Adelaide next week, featuring a US Supreme Court judge as a keynote speaker.

The 21st Century Advocacy Conference, being held at the University of Adelaide, will bring to Australia US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as well as senior members of Australia's legal profession.

Advocacy - the craft of argument in court - is one of the most critical aspects of a lawyer's work. Advocacy takes on different forms depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances of the trial. Judges also play a key role in shaping the arguments in court and operating as a "quality control".

Appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the US Court of Appeals in 1982, Justice Scalia became a Supreme Court Justice in 1986. He is considered to be the most outspoken Justice of the US Supreme Court. He is co-author of the award-winning book Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges.

The 21st Century Advocacy Conference will be held on Friday 4 February in Elder Hall and will feature topics such as trends in advocacy and the changing nature of the legal profession.

"Justice Scalia is widely known among the world's legal profession, both as a brilliant legal mind and a huge personality," says Professor John Williams from the University of Adelaide's Law School, and member of the conference organising committee.

"With his renowned flair, Justice Scalia will provide a comparative perspective on developments in advocacy in Australia and the United States," he says.

South Australian Supreme Court Justice the Hon. Tom Gray says: "This event is a wonderful opportunity for Adelaide and particularly the legal profession to host such an eminent jurist as Justice Scalia. The high calibre of all the presenters and the participants at the conference is sure to make this event unique and rewarding for those involved.

"The conference is designed to thoroughly explore modern advocacy. The advocate plays a critical role in the administration of justice," Justice Gray says.

Ralph Bönig, President of the Law Society of South Australia - a major sponsor of the conference - says members of Australia's legal profession are excited by the prospect of having Justice Scalia in Adelaide. "He is one of the world's leading jurists and a renowned proponent of the art of advocacy," Mr Bönig says.

Other key speakers at the conference include Chief Justice the Hon. John Doyle AC (Chief Justice of South Australia) and the Hon. Michael Kirby, AC, CMG (former Justice of the High Court of Australia).

Sessions will also be devoted to the gender revolution in the profession - celebrating the centenary of the Female Law Practitioners Act 1911 - and a young lawyers event.

For more information about the conference, go to:


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