The SRA Handbook is no longer in effect. It was replaced by the SRA Standards and Regulations on 25 November 2019.

SRA Handbook

Rights of audience

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Version 19 of the Handbook was published on 01/10/2017. For more information, please click 'History' Above

Regulation 2: Rights of audience


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.


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:


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.


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.