Interdisciplinary training

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Slides for the presentation by Aine Maxwell (Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Queen's University Belfast) at LILAC 2009.

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Interdisciplinary training

  1. 1. Interdisciplinary Training Aine Maxwell © Solicitor and Senior Teaching Fellow Institute of Professional Legal Studies
  2. 2. Interdisciplinary Training • Institute of Professional Legal Studies Queens University Belfast. • School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work Queens University Belfast. • Academic years 2007 -2008 • 2008 – 2009.
  3. 3. Institute of Professional Legal Studies • Vocational Legal Training for barristers and solicitors. • Practice and procedure. • Extensive skills training including advocacy and case analysis.
  4. 4. School of Social Work. • Degree in Social Work; module in court system and court skills. • Develop • Understanding of the social work role in legal proceedings • Knowledge about structure and operation of court system • Knowledge of roles of different professionals involved in legal proceedings • Skills in presenting written evidence in form of report • Skills in presenting oral evidence and dealing with corss examination in court.
  5. 5. Interdisciplinary Training • Fifth Annual Report: The Children Order Advisory Panel of Northern Ireland highlighted importance of interdisciplinary training: • “It is only by an exchange of views, a sharing of mutual experiences and a realisation of the problems facing the disparate branches of the family justice system that we can all benefit from our shared experiences.”
  6. 6. Multi –disciplinary Structure in Family Justice System. • Lord Justice Thorpe: • “ The delivery of a high quality service to all those who enter the family justice system, whether as applicants or as respondents, must depend on informed collaboration.”
  7. 7. Issues at Outset. • 1. Areas of common interest ? • 2. Opportunities for skills training? • 3. Timetabling • 4. Resources.
  8. 8. Issues • 1. Where will they interact in practice? Family Law and Criminal Law • 2. Skills: • Barristers- advocacy, drafting, case analysis, role of expert witness. • Social workers- drafting, court presentational skills, role of barrister.
  9. 9. Template • 1. Preparation of court reports by trainee social workers based on analysis of real life case study. • 2. Analysis of these reports by trainee barristers to elicit relevant information and prepare examination and cross examination.
  10. 10. Template • 3. Briefing sessions for all trainees. • 4. Training sessions for all trainees. • 5. Preparation for court appearance by all. • 6. Court appearance by all.
  11. 11. Training • 1. Briefing sessions for both groups. • 2. Training session at Institute of Professional Legal Studies for Bar trainees. • 3. 118 Social Work trainees prepare professional reports based on case study. • 4. Completed by 14 December 2007 ( 19 December 2008).
  12. 12. Training • 5. Delivered to the Institute of Professional Legal Studies on 18 December 2007 ( 22 December 2008). Posted to Bar trainees on same day. (2007 – 2008 24 Bar trainees: 2008 – 2009 30 Bar trainees. Approximately 4 -5 reports each Bar trainee.) • 6. Bar Trainees analyse reports and prepare questions. • 7. Staff available by e mail for assistance.
  13. 13. Training • 8. Bar trainees e mail completed questions to School of Social Work by 4th January 2008 ( 5th January 2009). • 9. Scheme part of assessment for Social Work trainees. • 10. Final preparatory session for Bar trainees on 9th January 2008 ( 7th January 2009).
  14. 14. Training • 11. On 10th and 11th January 2008 ( 8th and 9th January 2009) Bar trainees undertake examination in chief and cross examination of Social Work trainees.
  15. 15. Benefits of Joint Training for Bar Trainees • Questionnaires distributed to Bar Trainees 2008 – 2009. • 30 distributed: 24 returned. • 24 trainees agree with concept of interdisciplinary training. • 24 trainees found the interdisciplinary training scheme useful.
  16. 16. Benefits of Interdisciplinary Training • 24 trainees found the analysis of the social work reports beneficial. • “Reading the reports was highly beneficial – there was a lot of information to digest and scope for cross examination.” • “Excellent practice.” • Some trainees stated that they knew more about the role of the social worker in court and the significance of the report.
  17. 17. Benefits of Interdisciplinary Training • 24 trainees found drafting questions for examination in chief and cross examination in this context beneficial.
  18. 18. Benefits of Interdisciplinary Training • 24 trainees found the advocacy sessions with other professionals beneficial. • Trainees found the sessions more realistic than mock trials. Social Work expert witnesses would not help in the way colleagues role playing as witnesses might help. • “Advocacy exercise beneficial because we got to experience how strong a professional witness can be.” • “More like a real cross examination… beneficial as witnesses are strangers”.
  19. 19. Benefits of Interdisciplinary Training • 18 trainees found networking with fellow professional beneficial. • “Extremely useful and informative to work with people from other professions.” • Some trainees stated that they found it useful to network with students and staff from other professions.
  20. 20. Benefits of Interdisciplinary Training for Social Work Trainees. • 1. Better understanding of importance of producing high quality report for court. • 2. Practise skills in giving oral evidence in chief and dealing with cross examination. • 3. Develop skills in working with legal professionals. • 4. More realistic oral examination.
  21. 21. Benefits of Interdisciplinary Training for Social Work Trainees. • 5. Variation in experiences with different bar trainees was preparation for different styles of advocacy. • 6. Networking helped to reduce perception that cross examination was a personal attack.
  22. 22. Interdisciplinary Training • Institute of Professional Legal Studies QUB. • School of Medicine QUB • Academic year 2007- 2008.
  23. 23. Interdisciplinary Training: Bar Trainees and GP Trainees. • Ten GPs • Twenty Trainee barristers. • Two Bar trainees assigned to each GP trainee: one responsible for examination in chief and one responsible for cross examination.
  24. 24. Issues at Outset • 1. Areas of common interest ? • 2. Opportunities for skills training? • 3. Timetabling • 4. Resources.
  25. 25. Issues • 1. Where will they interact in practice? Family Law GPs particularly interested in Child Protection issues. • 2. Skills: • Barristers- advocacy, drafting, case analysis, role of expert witness. • GPs - drafting, court presentational skills, role of barrister.
  26. 26. Interdisciplinary Training: Bar Trainees and GP Trainees. • 1. 15th May 2008 IPLS provided GP trainees with case study focussing on child protection. • 2. GP trainees prepared report based on case study. • 3. 30th May 2008 Bar trainees received reports. Reports analysed and examination and cross examination prepared.
  27. 27. Interdisciplinary Training: Bar Trainees and GP Trainees. • 4. 3rd June 2008 Preparatory session for bar trainees. • 5. 4th June 2008 GP trainees undertook training session at Royal courts of Justice including introduction to court process, reporting to the court and appearing as witness.
  28. 28. Interdisciplinary Training: Bar Trainees and GP Trainees. • 6. 5th June 2008 Bar trainees undertook examination in chief and cross examination of trainees at Royal courts of Justice. Experienced barristers gave feedback both written and oral.
  29. 29. Benefits for Bar Trainees. • 1. Analysis of reports. • 2. Drafting questions for examination in chief and cross examination. • 3. Advocacy: greater scope as not linked to assessment. • 4. Networking.
  30. 30. Benefits for GPs • 1. Better understanding of court system • 2. Drafting experience and understanding of importance of producing high quality report for court. • 3. Practise skills in giving oral evidence in chief and dealing with cross examination. • 4. Develop skills in working with legal professionals. • 5. More realistic oral examination
  31. 31. Issues Moving Forward. • Questionnaires: • 1. Assessment of Bar trainees as well as Social Work Trainees. • 2. Further teaching on report analysis. • 3. Development of criminal session. • 4. Trainees want more!

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