SRA gets go ahead for Solicitors' Higher Rights of Audience Regulations 2010

The Ministry of Justice has approved the Solicitors Regulation Authority's new system for solicitors to gain the higher courts qualification with effect from 1 April 2010.

The decision marks the closure of the current accreditation and exemption routes under Higher Courts Qualification Regulations (HCQR) 2000. Solicitors who have already gained rights of audience qualifications will be automatically passported onto the new scheme and will retain their existing rights of audience

The new Solicitors Higher Rights of Audience Regulations 2010 (SHRAR) will see separate awards for rights of audience for criminal and civil advocacy. There will be only one route to qualification through an advocacy assessment based on the higher rights of audience competence standards.

Clare Gilligan, the SRA's head of Education and Training said: "We have consulted extensively with stakeholders on the new scheme and feel that this is a fairer way of assessing competency. The new regulations remove the need for mandatory training or experience in the assessment process which will be run by external organisations who have been authorised by the SRA.

"We feel confident that the SHRAR will provide a robust system for qualification in the higher courts."

Transitional arrangements have been made to cover people who are taking assessments under the 2000 regulations.

Initial applications for assessment organisations closed in January this year but there are still opportunities for organisations seeking authorisation to offer the new assessments after April 2010. For more information, please contact us.

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