Version 8 of the Handbook, published on 1 October 2013, introduced changes to "Rights, and qualification".
Subject to the provisions of these regulations, and in relation to criminal advocacy the SRA QASA Regulations, you may be authorised by us to exercise rights of audience in the higher courts.
As a solicitor or REL you already have full rights of audience in Tribunals, Coroners Courts, Magistrates Courts, County Courts and European Courts. An application for civil higher rights of audience allows you to also appear in civil, subject to which qualification you obtain, in proceedings in the Crown Court, High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.Solicitors and RELs undertaking criminal advocacy must also comply with the SRA QASA Regulations.
If you meet the requirements of these regulations, we may grant one or both of the following qualifications:, which authorise you to conduct advocacy in the higher courts:
Higher Courts (Civil Advocacy) Qualification which entitles the solicitor or REL to exercise rights of audience in all civil proceedings in the higher courts, including judicial review proceedings in any court arising from any criminal cause;
Higher Courts (Criminal Advocacy) Qualification which, subject to the SRA QASA Regulations in relation to criminal advocacy, entitles the solicitor or REL to exercise rights of audience in all criminal proceedings in the higher courts and judicial review proceedings in any court arising from any criminal cause.
If you have been granted a higher courts qualification by the Law Society or us under the previous regulations, you shall be deemed to have been granted the equivalent qualification or qualifications under regulation 3.1 above.
If you have been granted a higher courts advocacy qualification under previous regulations, you are not required to re-apply under these regulations.
may not undertake
to do so in accordance with the
SRA QASA Regulations
When applying for a higher courts advocacy qualification you must demonstrate to us that you are competent to undertake advocacy in the proceedings in relation to which you have applied by:
successfully completing assessments prescribed by us;
being an REL and having undertaken any further step(s) as may be specified by us under regulation 5.2; or
being a lawyer to whom Directive 2005/36 applies and having undertaken any further step(s) as may be specified by us under regulation 5.2.
We will issue standards against which the competence of those applying for a higher courts advocacy qualification and exercising those rights of audience conferred by the qualification awarded will be assessed. The standards do not form part of these regulations and may be amended from time to time by us.