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What is the difference between a solicitor advocate and an advocate?

Solicitor advocates and advocates are both types of court lawyers.

Solicitor advocates are solicitors first and foremost, which means they have a general initial training in all areas of law and in dealing with clients, before deciding to specialise in court work. After gaining experience in court, solicitors can then take extra advocacy training and sit more exams. If successful the solicitors' rights of audience are extended, allowing them to represent clients in the highest courts in Scotland and the UK.

Solicitor advocates are regulated and trained by the Law Society of Scotland.

Advocates are lawyers who have focused purely on court work and are trained and regulated by a body called the Faculty of Advocates. They are self-employed specialists who are not usually approached by clients directly, but are contacted by solicitors whose clients need to be represented in court by a higher court advocate.

Historically only advocates could appear in the higher courts in Scotland and the UK but, since 1993, solicitor advocates have been entitled to appear there too.

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