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What is a solicitor advocate?  |   What is the difference between a solicitor advocate and an advocate?  |   What is the difference between solicitor advocate and a solicitor?  |   What are the benefits of using a solicitor advocate?  |   How do I become a solicitor advocate?  |   When is the next training course?  |   Where do I find the application forms for becoming a solicitor advocate?  |   How do I become accredited as senior for the purposes of criminal legal aid?  |   How do I apply for appointment as a Queen's Counsel?

What is a solicitor advocate?

A solicitor advocate is a solicitor who has had extra training, so he or she can appear on behalf of their clients in all the courts in Scotland. Most solicitors can only appear in some of the courts in Scotland.

The technical description is that solicitor advocates are solicitors who have been granted extended rights of audience before the superior courts in Scotland: the Court of Session in civil cases; the High Court of Justiciary in criminal cases; and the Supreme Court and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.

This means that they can represent clients in the higher courts in the United Kingdom, alongside barristers and advocates.

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.

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

Solicitor advocates are, in fact, a type of solicitor. They are solicitors who have undergone extra training and sat extra exams in order to become specialist court lawyers.

While solicitors can argue cases on behalf of clients in courts and tribunals such as the Sheriff Court, Employment Tribunals and Justice of the Peace Courts, they are not entitled to appear in the highest courts in the land - the Court of Session and High Court of Justiciary in Scotland, and the Supreme Court and Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the UK.

Solicitor advocates, because of their extra training, are extended rights of audience solicitors, and are entitled to appear in these higher courts.

Both sets of solicitors are regulated and trained by the Law Society of Scotland, but solicitor advocates have a few extra rules and regulations to follow.

What are the benefits of using a solicitor advocate?

Unlike barristers and advocates, solicitor advocates do more than just the court-related aspects of a case.

Solicitor advocates are usually part of a legal firm, with a supportive team behind them. They run the case from start to finish - building a relationship with the client, carrying out all the necessary investigations, getting involved in all the details, preparing all the paperwork and also appearing in court.

See our 'Benefits of instructing a solicitor advocate' page for more details.

How do I become a solicitor advocate?

See our 'Becoming a solicitor advocate' page for the answer.

When is the next training course?

The Society of Solicitor Advocates runs an annual introductory course to provide information and guidance to solicitors who are considering applying to obtain extended rights of audience. The training courses and examinations for becoming a solicitor advocate are run by the Law Society of Scotland. You will find full details on the Law Society website.

Where do I find the application forms for becoming a solicitor advocate?

The process of becoming a solicitor advocate is governed by the Law Society of Scotland. You will find Guidance Notes and the application forms for obtaining civil or criminal extended rights of audience on the Law Society website.

How do I become accredited as senior for the purposes of criminal legal aid?

See our 'Appointment as senior for the purposes of legal aid' page for the answer.

How do I apply for appointment as a Queen's Counsel?

See our 'Applying for appointment as a QC' page  for the answer.