On Thursday 2 December, LSE Law School students studying first-year undergraduate criminal law and LLM students taking the corporate crime course were invited to attend a masterclass on criminal law advocacy with John Cooper QC, hosted by Professor Jeremy Horder.
John Cooper QC, of 25 Bedford Row, is a Senior Advocacy and Case Strategy Tutor at the Middle Temple, Bencher of the Middle Temple, and former prosecutor at the Iran Tribunal in the Hague. He was named by the Times as one of the top 100 most influential lawyers in 2012, and is the author of the leading practitioner work on Inquests. During the on-line session, John Cooper mentioned a number of key skills at the heart of successful advocacy: persuasiveness in written (as well as oral) work, imagination, being pro-active, lateral thinking, making good use of the ‘pre-emptive strike’ in argument, and making oneself likeable to judge and jury. Memorably, he described many cases as being at their strongest, ‘before the client opens their mouth’.
Students were given an indictment and a set of disputed facts to consider, and student volunteers will return on January 2022 to the follow-up session, to act as the advocates for prosecution and defence, with John Cooper and Professor Horder playing the role of the witnesses being examined.