Higher Rights of Audience for Solicitors in England and Wales

Higher Rights of Audience for Solicitors in England and Wales

In England and Wales, solicitors traditionally had limited rights of audience in higher courts, meaning they could not represent clients directly in certain court proceedings. However, the introduction of the Higher Rights of Audience qualification has expanded the advocacy capabilities of solicitors, allowing them to represent clients in higher courts without the need for a barrister. Higher Rights of Audience for solicitors can be obtained through two separate qualifications:

Civil Higher Rights: This qualification enables solicitors to represent clients in civil proceedings, including higher courts such as the High Court, Court of Appeal, and certain tribunals. With Civil Higher Rights, solicitors can conduct advocacy work in civil cases, including presenting arguments, examining witnesses, and making submissions.

Criminal Higher Rights: This qualification empowers solicitors to represent clients in criminal proceedings, including Magistrates' Courts and the Crown Court. Solicitors with Criminal Higher Rights have the authority to undertake the full range of advocacy tasks in criminal cases, such as conducting trials, making legal submissions, and cross-examining witnesses.

To acquire Higher Rights of Audience, solicitors must meet specific criteria set by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The requirements typically involve completing an accredited advocacy training program and demonstrating a certain level of advocacy experience. Solicitors seeking Higher Rights must also pass assessments or examinations that assess their advocacy skills and knowledge.

Solicitors with Higher Rights of Audience can provide a more comprehensive range of legal services to their clients. They can represent clients directly in higher courts, enhancing efficiency, and cost-effectiveness in legal proceedings. This qualification promotes the development of solicitors' advocacy skills and expands their professional capabilities within the legal profession in England and Wales.
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