'Trial advocacy' success story: Victor Wilkens

Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 9:28
Victor Wilkens

Victor Wilkens attended the LPC-accredited Fundamental principles of effective trial advocacy course.

Candidates who demonstrate their competence during this course receive a certificate enabling them to apply to the Legal Practice Council for the -

  • right of appearance in the High Court (s 25(3)); or
  • conversion from attorney to advocate (s 32(1)(a)).


About Victor

"I am currently a Candidate Attorney at JH Olivier Inc Attorneys with right of appearance in the Regional Division.  I started my practical vocational training in January 2023 and have been enjoying it ever since."



"I completed my LLB degree at North-West University in 2022 where I was fortunate enough to be included as a Member of the Golden Key Honours Society."


Motivation for enrolling for Fundamental principles of effective trial advocacy - for attorneys

"I've always had a passion for litigation and want to stand at the forefront of effective trial advocacy.  My initial motivation was to become a skilled litigator, however, during the course, I realised that this was only the first step in becoming a respected figure in the idolised field of litigation.  To be able to effectively advocate for your client's rights is a skill that everyone should obtain."


On the practical nature of the course

"Not only was I bombarded with practical experience from a renowned litigator and academic, but I was delighted with further practical exercises in a highly conducive environment between colleagues.  This course enabled me to confidently stand up in court and advocate my client's facts.  Confidence that had not only knowledge but experience, as its foundation."


"During the course, the ethical principles of our profession serve as a guideline as to how we conduct ourselves.  From preparing (not coaching) witnesses to substantiated closing arguments, this course always reminded us that we are firstly officers of the court and should act in a way to assist the process.  Never hinder it."


Key takeaways

"Firstly, I would say that we as legal practitioners need to always advocate our client's cases with the same vigour as if it were our own.  A key takeaway would always be that if you don't believe in your client's case, neither will the presiding officer.
Secondly, presiding officers are also human, just like the rest of us.  They do not live in a bubble of pure logical reasoning and persuasiveness will always play a role in their decision-making.  Something as minute as your choice of words could possibly tip the scales in your client's favour.
Lastly, it would be that you always have to expect the absolute best from your opponent.   Always expect that they have prepared extensively before standing up in court.  And with that in mind, you need to be able to prepare yourself better.  It is much easier to think on your feet when you've considered every possibility.  And better yet, prepared for it."

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