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News from City, University of London

City Law School expert warns against improper cross-examination in inaugural lecture

by Ben Mitchell

The City Law School's Professor Penny Cooper used her inaugural lecture to urge barristers to ensure all witnesses are properly prepared for cross-examination and to warn against "brow-beating" techniques designed to intimidate them.

Speaking to a high-profile audience that included Attorney General Dominic Grieve, Professor Cooper also encouraged judges to proactively manage cases and to be on their guard against unfair cross-examination designed to confuse or blur the central issues of a case.

Professor Cooper, a barrister, Associate Dean and Director of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and Knowledge Transfer at The City Law School, City University London, urged: "Suggest intermediaries and other special measures where appropriate.  For inappropriate questions, step in and say 'no' or 'no more'."

In the lecture, Professor Cooper also underlined the importance of proper preparation for witnesses before they give evidence, which might include visiting the courtroom prior to an appearance.

Other notable attendees at the event held at City University London included litigation partners from law firms such as Clyde & Co and RadcliffesLeBrasseur and a strong contingent of barristers' chambers including 4 Brick Court, 1 King's Bench Walk, Hardwicke and 2 Pump Court.

The event also attracted many guests from the private sector including KPMG and BT as well as senior representatives from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.