SRA Handbook

Rights, and qualification

Version 21 of the Handbook was published on 6 December 2018. For more information, please click "History" above.

Part 2: Rights, and qualification

Regulation 2: Rights of audience

2.1

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.

2.2

Solicitors and RELs appearing in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) do not need to hold a Higher Courts (Civil Advocacy) Qualification under these regulations.

Guidance note:

(i)

As a solicitor or REL you already have full rights of audience in Tribunals, Coroners Courts, Magistrates Courts, County Courts, the Family Court and European Courts. An application for civil higher rights of audience allows you to also appear in civil 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.

(ii)

The IPEC, a specialist court within the Chancery Division of the High Court, replaced the Patents County Court (PCC) in October 2013. Prior to this, solicitors and RELs appearing did not need a higher rights qualification to appear in the PCC. As the cases, rules and procedures are not materially different, and the costs and damages limits are the same, we do not require solicitors and RELs to posses the civil qualification in order to exercise their rights of audience in the IPEC.

Regulation 3: Qualifications to exercise extended rights of audience

3.1

If you meet the requirements of these regulations, we may grant one or both of the following qualifications:

(a)

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;

(b)

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.

3.2

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.

Guidance note

(i)

If you have been granted a higher courts advocacy qualification under previous regulations, you are not required to re-apply under these regulations.

(ii)

You may not undertake criminal advocacy unless accredited to do so in accordance with the SRA QASA Regulations.

Regulation 4: Qualifying to exercise extended rights of audience

4.1

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:

(a)

successfully completing assessments prescribed by us;

(b)

being an REL and having undertaken any further step(s) as may be specified by us under regulation 5.2; or

(c)

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.

4.2

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.

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