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Non-residential Litigation Skills Programmes 2021

Non-residential Litigation Skills Programmes 2021
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18 August 2021 -  The Litigation Skills Programme in Auckland has been cancelled this week and will be rescheduled. Participants will be contacted with further details for future arrangements. 

Course application forms & Closing dates   l  Fees   l  Cancellation policy   l   Financial assistance

NZLS CLE Litigation Skills Programmes provide in-depth hands-on training in the skills needed for successful courtroom advocacy.

In 2021, we are delighted to be able to offer two non-residential Litigation Skills Programmes to be held in Auckland and Wellington. (Please note that participants will need to source their own accommodation if required). Aside from the non-residential aspect these courses are essentially the same programme as the well-known residential Christchurch course and will use the same National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) teaching method.

Applications for these programmes must be received by 5pm on their respective closing dates. All applicants must meet with the prerequisite criteria, ie 2+ years of litigation experience.


  • DAY 1 – Introduction, theory of the case and communication skills
  • DAY 2 – Leading evidence, cross-examination and production of exhibits
  • DAY 3 – Cross-examination and impeachment
  • DAY 4 – Examination of expert witnesses
  • DAY 5 – Mini trials and opening addresses
  • DAY 6 – Closing arguments and pre-trial conferences
  • DAY 7 – Mock trials until 5.10pm where you will be counsel in a trial and be critiqued by a judge, followed by presentation of certificates

Learning by doing with critique

You will perform in simulated courtroom exercises a number of times every day. To help you to recognise and learn from your mistakes, you will be critiqued by faculty members as soon as you complete your performance. All faculty are trained in the NITA method of teaching and will build a positive and supportive atmosphere within which critiques will be specific, clear, constructive and candid.

Learning by observing

Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to observe others in your group and hear them being critiqued. Your performance will be recorded every day and then critiqued through video review. You will also have the opportunity to observe experienced faculty conducting a variety of demonstrations and discuss differences in styles and methods.

Teaching approach

  • See faculty demonstrate and discuss a major skill
  • Practise that skill in a small group of eight participants
  • Receive individual advice from faculty on improving your performance
  • Review your performance on video with a third faculty member
  • Observe members of your group perform and listen to faculty comment.

Learning objectives

You will develop your skills as an advocate by taking part in a variety of litigation exercises and activities. You will further develop your advocacy skills through reflecting on your own performance, those of your colleagues, and observing faculty demonstrations.

Who should attend

Designed for practitioners in their first five years of practice. Some litigation experience is required, and participants should have had at least two years’ such experience.

Note: Enrolments are restricted to 32 participants.

Auckland Litigation Skills Programme

  • Dates: Sun 15 – Sat 21 August
  • Director: Michele Wilkinson-Smith
  • Team Leader: His Hon Judge Patel
  • Faculty: 24 senior practitioners
  • Venue: Ellerslie Events Centre
  • Closing date for applications: 5pm on Friday 11 June

Wellington Litigation Skills Programme

  • Dates: Sun 14 – Sat 20 November
  • Director: Len Andersen QC
  • Team Leader: His Hon Judge Harrop
  • Faculty: 24 senior practitioners
  • Venue: Terrace Conference Centre
  • Closing date for applications: 5pm on Monday 13 September

Please note – these courses are NOT interchangeable for attendance purposes and it is not possible to transfer your place between them.


Extensive materials comprising a course folder and casefile will be sent to you in advance.


This is a non-residential programme, participants will need to make their own accommodation arrangements.

Fee (incl GST):

  • $4,540 (NZLS members)
  • $4,790 (non-members)
Download pdf course brochure

Course application forms

You must complete an application form to be considered to attend these courses. Completing an application form does not guarantee you a place. You will be notified shortly after the closing date whether you have a place on the course.

  • Auckland programme: Applications closed on 11 June 2021
  • Wellington programme: Download a course application form for the Wellington programme here.
    Note: Applications MUST reach NZLS CLE Ltd by 5.00pm on Monday 13 September 2021.

Financial assistance

Douglas Wilson Advocacy Scholarship Trust

Limited financial assistance may be available through the Douglas Wilson Advocacy Scholarship Trust.

Note: Applications for assistance must be received by:
  • Auckland 5.00pm, Friday 11 June 2021.
  • Wellington 5.00pm, Monday 13 September 2021.
Late applications cannot be considered.

Please note: You must submit your scholarship application concurrent with the course application to be considered to attend the course.

Download a Douglas Wilson Advocacy Scholarship Trust application form

Shortland Chambers PLA Scholarship

Shortland Chambers offers an annual scholarship enabling a member of the Pacific Lawyers Association to attend the NZLS CLE Litigation Skills Programme. There are two scholarships available in 2021 – one for each course.

The scholarship is aimed at Pacific lawyers looking to support and encourage the legal needs of their respective communities and to promote and support initiatives of relevance to Pacific ethnicities.

Note: Applications for assistance must be received by:
  • Auckland 5.00pm, Wednesday 26 May 2021.
  • Wellington 5.00pm, Wednesday 1 September 2021.
Download more information about the Shortland Chambers PLA Scholarship and application details
Auckland  Sun 15 August - Sat 21 August
Wellington Sun 14 November - Sat 20 November

Cancellation & refund policy

Withdrawal from the programme before the application closing date incurs no cost. After that date if the registrant is able to be replaced an administration fee of $400 is charged. If no replacement is found, no refund is payable.
Note: Applications MUST reach NZLS CLE Ltd by 5.00pm on Fri 11 June 2021 for Auckland and 5.00pm on Mon 13 September 2021 for Wellington.
You will be notified within five working days of the closing date whether you have a place on the course.

freephone (within NZ)
0800 333 111

[email protected]

04 472 7837

04 463 2986
Level 4, 17-21 Whitmore Street
Wellington 6011

DX SP 20202
PO Box 5041
Wellington 6140
New Zealand