If you are a qualified solicitor and wish to exercise rights of audience as an advocate in the higher courts of England and Wales, you are required by the Solicitors' Higher Rights of Audience Regulations 2010 to obtain a qualification to do so from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
There are two qualifications available:
- The Higher Courts (Civil Advocacy) Qualification, which entitles you to exercise rights of audience in civil proceedings in the higher courts
- The Higher Courts (Criminal Advocacy) Qualification, which entitles you to exercise rights of audience in criminal proceedings in the higher courts.
In order to obtain either of these qualifications you are required to pass a compulsory advocacy assessment, for civil or criminal proceedings as the case may be. If you wish to obtain both qualifications, you must pass both assessments.
City Law School is authorised by the SRA to provide these assessments. We also offer training in preparation for the assessments.
The assessment will be in three parts, which will be taken on separate days:
Part 1: Written Examination
Part 2: Interim Advocacy
Part 3: Trial Advocacy
Under normal circumstances you must take all three parts within a three-week period.
Preparation for Assessments
There is no compulsory requirement to undertake any training for the assessments, and you may proceed straight to taking them if you wish.
However you are strongly advised not to attempt the assessments without undertaking some training by way of preparation. Training can only improve your chance of passing the assessments and offers the following advantages:
- It enables you to practise using the type of case study that will be used for assessments.
- You will learn specifically what the assessors are looking for in the assessments.
- You will be able to gauge how well prepared you are to take the assessments, and whether you are likely to pass.
- You will be able to familiarise yourself with the syllabus.
- You can improve your confidence as an advocate.
City Law School offers the following by way of preparation:
- A mock written paper for you to take so that you can evaluate your level of knowledge and identify any gaps that need to be filled.
- Bespoke advocacy training, appropriate to your needs and budget.
There is no fixed training course: we will tailor our training to your requirements.
The Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (Crime), known as QASA, is due to launch in 2013 and will mean that all advocates (solicitors, barristers and chartered legal executives) will need accreditation in order to conduct advocacy in the criminal courts. Before deciding to proceed with the Higher Rights assessment, you may find it helpful to look at the information on the QASA website on www.qasa.org.uk . If you do wish to proceed, please make sure you understand the requirements for obtaining your QASA accreditation and the options available to you. For further information you can also contact the SRA on QASA@sra.org.uk
If you would like to have training before the assessments, please contact Claire Stevens on 0207 400 3618 and she will be happy to discuss your needs, quote a price and make arrangements.