Higher rights of audience

25 November 2019

Introduction

Solicitors and registered European lawyers (RELs) are granted rights of audience in all courts when they are admitted or registered. However, they cannot exercise those rights in the higher courts until they have complied with additional assessment requirements. We set the competence standards solicitor and REL higher court advocates must meet and maintain, authorise assessment organisations to test people against those standards, and set the regulations under which this scheme operates.

The SRA Authorisation of Individuals Regulations sets out the education and training requirements for those seeking to exercise higher rights of audience in the higher courts of England and Wales.

How does the scheme work?

  • There are separate awards for rights of audience for criminal and civil advocacy.
  • There is only one route to qualification in either civil or criminal proceedings.
  • The scheme requires all applicants to pass an advocacy assessment based on the SRA's higher rights of audience competence standards.
  • There are separate assessments for criminal and civil procedures.
  • There is no mandatory training or experience requirement.
  • Assessments under the scheme are run by assessment organisations authorised by the SRA.
  • Barristers who transfer to the roll of solicitors take their existing higher rights with them.
  • Solicitors who gained rights of audience qualifications under previous regulations were automatically passported onto the scheme in 2010 and retained their existing rights.

Documents

Frequently asked questions

General questions on eligibility and application procedure

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Bar Council

The General Council of the Bar is the representative body for barristers in England and Wales.

BSB

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) is the regulatory body for barristers in England and Wales.

SAHCA

The Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates (SAHCA) is a national association that represents the interests of solicitors who practise as advocates in the higher courts.