Advocacy comes from the Latin word Advocare – meaning to call to; to summon counsel; to consult for legal advice. In ecclesiastical connotation, Advocacy means to avow; to admit a clerk to a benefice. In Roman Law, Patrons, Pleaders, Rhetoricians and Speakers were called and referred to as Advocate.
In the modern bar practice, Advocacy means to speak in favour of; to defend by argument; to render a legal advice and aid the cause of another person before a court or tribunal. Advocacy also implies forensic eloquence of an advocate, a proper grasp of the principles of law, and the ability to apply the principles of law to the facts of the case.
The crux of the Modern Bar Advocacy requires an Advocate to have a real professional knowledge of the law, forensic ability to identify the fact of any dispute, the rules of court, statutes and the modes of procedure applicable in any dispute. An advocate must be outstanding in thinking and perfect in marshaling evidence and argument.
The modern Bar Advocacy demands that an Advocate must have four indispensable gifts of Ability, Imagination, Sincerity and Truth. Every Advocate must have a very high appreciation of the facts of his case because without the knowledge of these facts, the whole adventure becomes an exercise in futility. Without the knowledge of the facts, it would be impossible to know the applicable law.
The function of a good Advocate is to present the Client’s case with accuracy, brevity and clarity. An advocate can only achieve this if he has a clear head, a good memory, strong common sense and the capacity to analyze the fact, ability to identify issues for determination, and the quality to apply the law to the facts of the case.
To be a successful Advocate, a lawyer must have a good personality, neat and decent appearance and a pleasant disposition. An advocate must have a sound knowledge of human nature since he has to deal with the client’s, his adversaries, and the court.
Aside good personality, an advocate must have good command of the language of the court. He must be powerful, decisive and persuasive in argumentation, orderly and logical in presenting his case.
The modern Bar Advocacy requires an Advocate to have a good grasp of the evidential rules applicable in trials. He must be a master of Examination- in chief, Cross examination and Re-examination. The rules of evidence is the minefield of the modern Bar Advocacy.
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