Higher Rights of Audience (HRA)

Professional Training

Having the skills to conduct civil or criminal advocacy in the higher courts is a real advantage to a solicitor’s career. As well as enabling you to provide a complete advocacy service to clients, it can enhance you professional status and increase your earning potential. 

The University of Law is an acknowledged provider of Higher Rights of Audience Advocacy Assessments and also provides the relevant training for such assessments. Our leading, quality programme is fully accredited by the SRA, allowing us to provide Dispute Resolution solicitors with the knowledge, skills and qualifications required for practice.

Each day of attendance on our Higher Rights equates to six CPD hours and courses are available to both Civil and Criminal practitioners on a public basis at our London Moorgate centre. We also offer Higher Rights on an in-house basis.

In addition, for trainees wishing to pursue a career in litigation, Higher Rights training can be chosen as a replacement for PSC electives. And those who successfully complete the assessment can apply for Higher Rights accreditation on qualification.

Please ensure you read the important information in relation to the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (criminal) QASA update in the below section.

To acquire accreditation to exercise rights of audience under the SRA Regulations, you need to successfully complete an Advocacy Assessment focusing on either the civil or criminal courts. To gain rights of audience for both civil and criminal proceedings you need to undertake two separate Advocacy Assessments.

There is no compulsory training requirement under the SRA Regulations, but we recommend attending written and practical advocacy training ahead of your Advocacy Assessment to maximise your chances of success.

Higher Rights Advocacy Assessments 

The University has been accredited by the SRA to offer Civil and Criminal Higher Rights Advocacy Assessments under the Higher Rights Regulations. The University's Civil and Criminal Advocacy Assessments are run in two parts, which take place over two separate days:

  • Part one – a written examination
  • Part two – a practical assessment

Each part accounts for 50% of the total marks available and you must achieve a minimum of 60% across the two parts to pass the Advocacy Assessment.
The Advocacy Assessment is run in two parts to make it more manageable for candidates and thus to maximise their performance. Please note that ‘interim’ results ie the results of one part of the Advocacy Assessment before the second part has been undertaken are not released. Results are only collated, moderated as necessary, and released after both parts of the Advocacy Assessment have been undertaken. Please also note that, as a matter of policy, the University does not release the details of marks. 

The two parts of the Advocacy Assessment are structured as follows:

This is a written examination which focuses on evidence (20 marks), ethics (15 marks), particular advocacy issues (10 marks), and equality and diversity (5 marks); tailored to either civil or criminal law dependent on your chosen discipline.

From 1 June 2015 Candidates will not be permitted to bring their own materials into the written examination.  All candidates will be provided with a University copy of the relevant Blackstones text and extracts from the SRA Code of Conduct, for their reference, during the examination.  The University’s materials may not be annotated or marked.

Please note that training materials and/or notes are not permitted in the examination.

The examination format includes the following (for both civil and criminal examinations):

  • Question and answer
  • Critical review of documentation

The marks attributed to each part/question of the examination are noted in the paper so that candidates can understand the degree of detail and time to be spent per part/question.

A specimen exam paper (not answers) is provided with the joining information for the written assessment.

This practical assessment examines generic advocacy skills (30 marks) and particular advocacy issues (20 marks) not examined in part one, tailored to either civil or criminal law dependent on your chosen discipline.
You will be supplied with the assessment materials 1 week prior to the assessment (on a Friday prior to an assessment the following Friday).

You will be required to do the following by close of business on the Tuesday prior to the assessment day:

  • submit a skeleton argument for an interim application/submission on the law (5 marks)

And on the assessment day itself, you will be required to:

  • Argue an interim application/make a submission on the law (10 marks)
  • Submit a trial strategy plan [which can be prepared in advance] (5 marks)
  • Present an opening speech (5 marks)
  • Examine in chief a witness (10 marks)
  • Cross examine a witness (15 marks)

The witnesses to be examined and cross-examined may be a lay or expert witness.As much as possible, our practical assessments are conducted in a properly contested scenario, with two candidates being assessed at the same time, each representing one of the parties to the dispute, so as to reflect the realism of court advocacy.

If you wish to gain higher rights for both Civil and Criminal proceedings, you will need to successfully complete both parts of the Civil and Criminal Advocacy Assessments.
Our Advocacy Assessments cover all aspects of written and practical advocacy, giving you and your employer the confidence that you are fully prepared to represent clients and the profession.

Higher Rights training 

The University offers written and practical advocacy training for both civil and criminal advocacy candidates seeking qualification under the SRA Higher Rights Regulations. 

Training is not compulsory but is recommended to ensure you are fully prepared and to maximise your performance on assessment.

Our cost-effective courses are offered on a face-to-face basis at our London Moorgate centre and cover both theory and practice:

  • Written Advocacy Training – Civil (2 days)
  • Practical Advocacy Training – Civil (2 days)
  • Written Advocacy Training – Criminal (2 days)
  • Practical Advocacy Training – Criminal (2 days)
Please note

All Higher Rights Assessments are undertaken in accordance with the University's Higher Rights Assessment Regulations.

Delegates may book to undertake the training but then sit an Advocacy Assessment at a later date (ie not immediately after undertaking the training). However, delegates should be aware that the procedural and legal requirements on which they will be examined may have changed in the interim; further that the SRA requirements for assessment may change over time.

Important information

We go to great lengths to ensure that the information provided is correct at the time of publication. However, we reserve the right to withdraw or change, for any reason and without notice, any of the programmes and/or to alter tuition fees, locations, entry requirements and/or the facilities and/or services available from or provided by or on behalf of the University. Please note that the choice of subjects may be limited by considerations of timetable, staffing and/or available places on a course.

Find out more

Call +44 (0)1483 216 216 or e-mail pdpublic@law.ac.uk

Who can benefit from taking our Higher Rights of Audience?

The Higher Rights of Audience qualification enables solicitors to exercise rights of audience in the Higher Courts of England and Wales. Solicitors who are involved with advocacy in the Higher Courts but do not conduct it themselves can still benefit from the training, maximising their ability as litigators and as instructors of counsel due to their increased knowledge and understanding of the process.

In addition:

  • those who feel they already have sufficient advocacy experience can undertake the Assessments alone
  • those seeking to enhance their capabilities as a dispute resolution practitioner can undertake the training alone
  • trainee solicitors can undertake the training as an alternative to, and in satisfaction of, their PSC electives requirement. Those who choose to undertake the Assessment(s) as well, and do so successfully, can apply for Higher Rights accreditation once they qualify as a solicitor
Benefits of our Higher Rights of Audience training and assessments
  • Enhance your professional status and increase your fee-earning potential
  • Gain specialist knowledge and expertise
  • Develop your advocacy, communication and case management skills
  • Designed and delivered by experienced practitioners
  • Practical programme to ensure learning is directly applicable in the workplace

Our Higher Rights Assessments have been accredited by the SRA.

Our Higher Rights Assessments/training can be booked individually or in convenient packages, as follows:

 Assessment/training options  2018 fees
Higher Rights Advocacy Assessment (Civil or Criminal)  £535 + VAT
Written Advocacy Training (Civil or Criminal)  £535 + VAT 
Practical Advocacy Training (Civil or Criminal)  £535 + VAT
Written and Practical Advocacy Training package
(Civil or Criminal) 
£1070 + VAT
Written and Practical Advocacy Training plus Higher
Rights Advocacy Assessment package (Civil or Criminal) 
£1,495 + VAT
PSC Core Modules + Higher Rights Written and Practical
Advocacy Training but without assessment (Civil or Criminal)
£1,895 + VAT 
PSC Core Modules + Higher Rights Advocacy Assessment
+ Written and Practical Advocacy Training (Civil or Criminal) 
£2,295 + VAT

Book online or choose your preferred course dates and download the Higher Rights booking form.  

Simply complete the booking form and send it to the address indicated on the form.

Please refer to our PD booking terms and conditions prior to confirming your course.

Please note that Assessment booking closes two weeks before the assessment date. Once confirmed, we’ll send joining instructions to you around two weeks before the course is due to begin.

Please note that all assessments are undertaken in accordance with the University's assessments regulations.

We have extensive experience and expertise in delivering Higher Rights training on an in-house basis for organisations with a number of delegates – either at one of our centres or your chosen venue. We work closely with organisations to ensure our cost-effective training solutions meet their individual needs and requirements. Our high standard of service and training receives consistently excellent feedback from both training managers and delegates.

To discuss how we can meet your organisation's requirements or for more information, please call our Client Contact Centre on +44 (0)1483 216 216 or e-mail inhousetraining@law.ac.uk

The BSB have announced that they do not intend to proceed with QASA (the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates). This scheme would have impacted on the assessment regime for Criminal Higher Rights of Audience. Although the SRA have not made a final decision about proceeding with QASA, implementation will be delayed indefinitely. The SRA is conducting a review of the assessment regime for criminal advocacy generally.

The University of Law will continue to run Criminal Higher Rights assessments  until further notice. Dates for this can be found on the online timetable

If you need further information on the SRA's position on QASA please contact the SRA directly.

Civil Higher Rights remains unaffected by the decision relating to QASA.

Update 5 December 2017