Dr. Richard Twycross-Lewis, a BA (Hons) Sports Business & Sports Law lecturer at UCFB, spoke online to Ukrainian Law students last month to encourage the continuation of academic study through the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Richard, who gives up his time to volunteer at a Ukrainian donation centre in London, shares how these inspiring individuals managed to persevere and attend the lecture even when faced with imminent threats of war…

I was invited by Professor Adam Łazowski of Westminster Law School, University of Westminster to deliver a 90 minute lecture to third and fourth year undergraduate Law students as part of the Legal Skills School organised by the Western Ukrainian Research Centre for European Studies.  I delivered my lecture, titled “Advocacy – A Skill (and an art form!)” online via Teams and talked about what it’s like to learn advocacy skills during Bar training in England & Wales.

I covered the essentials of oral advocacy in terms of Examination in Chief and Cross Examination, including question choice and techniques for elucidating facts. I also briefly covered written advocacy, principally skeleton arguments in the Civil Courts.

Students logged in to attend from all over Ukraine, including: Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv and Odessa.  What really brought home how impressive the resilience of staff and students at the participating institutions was this: the session went ahead successfully as planned and without disruption, however one of the session conveners said air-raid sirens went off in some cities approximately 15-20 minutes before the start of the session.  In spite of this, and in spite of the fact that staff and students had had to move to the relative safety of bunkers, students still logged on to listen and ask questions at the end of the lecture.

I was a member of the British Bench Press Team and competed in Lviv, Ukriane at the European Bench Press Championships way back in 2003. It's an incredible country with incredible people, so giving the lecture is a small way in which I can help them. That they are determined to continue with their degrees and legal training in the face of war speaks volumes as to their strength and character - and I'm in awe of them for it.