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portrait of Marcus Soanes

Marcus Soanes

Principal Lecturer

The City Law School, Professional Programmes

Contact Information


Visit Marcus Soanes

GIP212, The City Law School

Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
United Kingdom



Marcus joined The City Law School (formerly the Inns of Court School of Law) in 1994. He teaches civil and criminal advocacy skills, conference skills and commercial law. He has a special interest in the critical study of courtroom advocacy and co-ordinates the Advocacy module on the LLM in Criminal Litigation.

He has experience in practice of the magistrates' and Crown courts and is approved as a BPTC advocacy tutor by the Advocacy Training Council.

Marcus has delivered witness familiarisation to a wide range of expert witnesses including psychiatrists, accountants, surgeons and occupational therapists as well as witnesses of fact, and offered courtroom skills training to the Serious Fraud Office and several police forces.

Marcus has achieved a Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 2003 (Open University). This programme accredits him to the Staff and Education Development Association (SEDA) and is accredited by the Institute for Learning and Teaching (ILT). He has a particular interest in distance and online teaching and learning and is a Teaching Fellow at City University London.

Marcus is the author of Conference Skills Manual (OUP) and has published several articles and conference papers on advocacy and legal vocational education.Marcus joined The City Law School (formerly the Inns of Court School of Law) in 1994. He teaches civil and criminal advocacy skills, conference skills and commercial law. He has a special interest in the critical study of courtroom advocacy and co-ordinates the Advocacy module on the LLM in Criminal Litigation.



  1. Samwell-Smith, R. and Soanes, M. (2014). Conference Skills. Soanes, M. (Ed.), Oxford: OUP. ISBN 978-0-19-965732-2.

Journal articles (3)

  1. Soanes, M. (2014). The well-educated witness: Witness familiarisation training in England and Wales. Law Teacher, 48(2), pp. 196–208. doi:10.1080/03069400.2014.914733.
  2. Soanes, M.R. (2010). The Legal Questing Beast: Vocational Students’ Research Strategies, Motivations and Emotions. The Law Teacher, 44(2), pp. 149–168.
  3. Soanes, M.R. (1998). Flexible Paradigms and Slim Course Design. Clinical Law Review, 5(1), pp. 179–210.

Other Activities

Events/conferences (8)

  1. Does Labelling Complainants “Victims” Pervert the Course of Justice? (with Robert McPeake). Socio-Legal Studies Association Conference (SLSA), Aberdeen, UK (2014).
    Description: Presentation considered whether labels of victimhood in pre-verdict criminal litigation could endanger the course of justice. They looked at language, power and inequalities across legal processes and suggested that, at its worst, an indiscriminate use of “victim” may predetermine fact-finders’ verdicts. They argued that an indiscriminate application of victim by CJS stakeholders who ought to be neutral and disinterested within that system creates unacceptable risks that are inconsistent with an adversarial trial system.
  2. “Perfuming the violet [...] is wasteful and ridiculous excess”: Story composition, witness preparation, and imperilled truth. 4th Applied Legal Storytelling Conference, London, UK (2013).
    Description: The conference presentation promoted respect for witnesses’ ownership of their narratives and explained how effective witness training can successfully avoid unethical coaching whilst remaining client-centred. Witnesses’ roles within the Common Law adversarial trial tradition were analysed, and the English and Welsh Court of Appeal’s guidance to lawyers on acceptable and unacceptable forms of trial preparation for witnesses was outlined and critiqued in its historical context and compared with other common law jurisdictions’ practices. It was argued that witnesses can be educated ethically to enhance their effectiveness in the witness box whilst respecting them as pristine evidence sources.
  3. Applying Web 3.0 Semantic Principles to VLE courses: To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before (with James Toner). ALT-C (Learning Technology Conference), Leeds, UK (2011).
    Description: Use of semantic Web principles to complex programme design on vocational legal programmes of study
  4. Scaffolding Unstable & Complex Structures: the Semantic Web and Complex Programme and Content Design (with James Toner). Learning Development Conference, London, UK (2011).
    Description: Report on design and analysis of the programme overview browser (POB), a tool to assist students to orientate a complex programme of study and to make greater sense of relationships amongst modules of study.
  5. The Personalisation of the Curriculum: the Programme Overview Browser (POB) on the City Law School Bar Professional Training Course (CLS BPTC). Learning in Law Annual Conference, Warwick, UK (2011).
    Description: Application of semantic Web design principles to a vocational legal programme
  6. Guiding Students across the Academic-Vocational Legal Resources Divide. Learning in Law Annual Conference, Warwick, UK (2010).
    Description: Report on empirical study into students' research habits - online and paper-based - on a vocational legal programme
  7. Why Isn’t the English Legal Profession Interested in Storytelling? (with Robert McPeake). 2nd Applied Legal Storytelling Conference, Portland (Oregan), USA (2009).
    Description: The presentation paper considered the current status of/interest in storytelling amongst the legal profession in England and Wales and introduced the Criminal Litigation LLM programme in criminal advocacy at the City Law School London.

    Despite the long history of the School as the training arm of the Bar– reflected in its previous identity as the Inns of Court School of Law – there has been little success engaging criminal justice professionals with deep levels of understanding of what is involved in advocacy skills. The School hosted the first conference on applied legal storytelling – ‘Once upon a Legal Time’, July 2007 – and attracted a reasonable amount of interest from the legal media in the UK, but concepts of persuasive narration models seem to have barely registered on the consciousness of the practising professions.

    The LLM advocacy module devotes several seminars to persuasion and one of the central themes in them is storytelling. This work is carried through into a formal assessment – the Advocacy Trialbook. This work is an opportunity for the student to observe a trial and to use their deep knowledge of advocacy to analyse and critique what they see in court. Students are expected to reflect on case theories and themes, and to use their storytelling knowhow to evaluate the work of the advocates. We will refer to several trial books in the presentation and paper to illustrate the applicability of storytelling to the English criminal trial and to evidence professional change amongst some of our student.
  8. Whose Version of the Facts? (with Robert McPeake). Learning in Law Annual Conference, Warwick, UK (2009).
    Description: The presentation introduced concepts of legal story telling and applied them to the so-called unsympathetic defendant scenario.


  1. Expert Advisor to FACT (Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers and other Professionals).