Last modified on 7 May 2011, at 18:26

Canadian Criminal Trial Advocacy/Closing Arguments

The Closing Argument is portion of the trial where counsel can present and explain the reason why the trier-of-fact should decide in their favour.

Effective ArgumentationEdit

Justice Antonin Scalia of the US Supreme Court lists 16 rules of argumentation before a judge in his book "Making your case: The art of persuading judges": [1]

  1. Be sure the court has jurisdiction
  2. know your audience
  3. Know your case
  4. Know your adversary's case
  5. Pay attentions to the standard of decision
  6. Never overstate your case. Be scrupulously accurate
  7. Occupy the most defensible terrain
  8. Yield indefensible terrain
  9. Take Pains to select the best arguments
  10. Communicate clearly and concisely
  11. Appeal not just to rules but also common sense
  12. When you must rely on fairness to modify the strict application of the law, identify some jurisprudential maxim that supports you
  13. Reason is paramount and that overt appeal to emotions is resented
  14. Assume a posture of respective intellectual equality with the bench
  15. Maintain your emotions and do not accuse
  16. Close in a powerful way and say explicitly what you want the court to do