Civil Advocacy – Making Applications

Making applications to the civil courts has been the staple of advocacy training within my civil skills units. I have also managed an application or two in criminal law but nowhere near the level of civil. Welcome to my journey into law page and thanks for stopping to read this post.

Today was a civil skills session involving the application for something known as a Norwich Pharmacal order, the name of which is derived from the case of Norwich Pharmacal Co v Customs and Excise Commissioners (1974) AC 133. To those unfamiliar with how to read such a case title, you have the year of judgment in brackets, AC means the case was heard in the Court of Appeal and is number 133.

The Norwich Pharmacal Order, herein referred to as “the order”, is used by an applicant when they want a party to disclose the name or details of another party or of a document. Such relief could be needed where the applicant is seeking the correct party to sue where they do not know their details. Mitsui & Co Ltd v Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd (2005) EWHC 625 (Ch); (2005) 3 All E.R 511 ChD at (21) summarised the three pre-requisites of the order. I won’t go into that test here, but might refer to it.

Other applications made in civil advocacy sessions include, *application to set aside default judgment, application for interim application, today application for the Norwich Pharmacal. I may have missed out one or two but they are the ones completed which I can recall. All of them seemed daunting but in reality I performed better than anticipated. In fact the civil advocacy unit has been a strong point for me. Today the students I was with (online still, remember?) and I were told that we were all very competent. This is quite the achievement. Grading is from competent to outstanding so to be in the middle, knowing what I am doing is really rewarding and I know that my work is correct.

Civil advocacy takes place in civil courts, like the County Court, the High Court and Court of Appeal. Such applications are the bread and butter of newer barristers and I suspect most students will be well versed in them by now. Next week is the civil advocacy mock assessment. In fact next week is rather busy with mock assessments. My aim is to just take it slow and prepare as much as I have been doing, if not more.

The Civil Procedure Rules (“The White Book”) is what is used by civil barristers and students. It allows them to follow the legal rules for making applications to the court, such as whether they can bring such an application, the surrounding tests and the required case law, if required. There is also the need to research case law using other sources, but the information is readily available from one, which is a bonus. Given that we were all very competent today, I am sure that there is nothing to worry about and that I will pass my mock assessment. The only issue is that we cannot possibly know what the assessment will be on, only that we have some time to prepare for it in advance!

I can see why people get confused about the legal system, and I am studying it in considerable depth and some of it is still quite muddling to myself. Granted, there are some lovely online students and the civil advocacy tutor (online) has been great. I will have to go back to campus soon though because otherwise I will feel like I am letting myself down and there really is no better practice than face to face.

I hope you understand more about a civil application to the court. To summarise, a barrister / advocate can make an application to the court on behalf of the Applicant, not always the claimant but can be, which requires the court to consider it in line with the appropriate CPR rules.

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