The Advocacy Podcast

Allison Summers QC

Allison Summers QC discusses how to close boldly and persuasively, without fear of saying something unpopular or controversial, or of saying nothing at all. 

Show notes

  • Introduction and background – Allison describes her early days as an advocate.
  • Allison explains how she has never quite mastered the art of Magistrates Court advocacy. 
  • When Allison realised that she should have a proper method of case preparation. 
  • Allison explains how having done her case preparation, research and knowing what she wants to achieve has helped to develop her confidence in court. 
  • How preparation is the key to becoming a better advocate. 
  • If you don’t need to say anything in court don’t be afraid to say nothing. 
  • What Allison does when she sees someone make a good submission or point. 
  • Don’t be afraid to say things that are sometimes unpopular and controversial. 
  • Allison explains the process she goes through when preparing a case. 
  • The importance of active reading.  
  • How Allison uses schedules in her cases. 
  • Can you turn a case around based on a closing speech? 
  • What makes a good closing speech?
  • Allison explains when she starts thinking about and preparing her closing speech. 
  • Allison describes how nervous she gets every time she’s about to get up and deliver a closing speech and how she addresses those nerves. 
  • Allison’s tips for engaging with the jury.
  • Allison talks about a closing speech that a fellow advocate described as brave. 
  • How to deal with:
    • bad facts in a closing speech;
    • sympathetic and unlikeable witnesses; 
    • technical and dry evidence. 
  • Don’t be afraid to detach yourself from your client and your client’s case.
  • Jury attention span and the use of primacy and recency in closing speeches. 

Called to the Bar in 2000, Allison undertook a common law pupillage before specialising in Criminal Law. Now an exclusively defence-based practitioner, Allison has been a member of Drystone Chambers since 2015 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2019.

Allison is instructed in a range of cases involving serious violence and sexual offences, including and as well as domestic killings, parricide, infanticide, and somnambulism (sleep walking). She is often instructed in cases involving young and vulnerable defendants and witnesses. Her youngest client was 13 years old (charged with murder); her oldest, 92 (charged with historical sexual abuse). Allison also has extensive experience in representing defendants with mental health issues and other behavioural problems.

Allison has further experience as an Assistant Coroner, on which she is able to draw in cases involving complex medical issues, particularly in relation to medical causation. Broadly, Allison is known for her formidable courtroom advocacy, and her robust but fair and appropriate approach in sensitive situations. 

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