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 under the 2011 Regulations, 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.
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:
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):
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:
And on the assessment day itself, you will be required to:
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. Click the link to see our FAQs on the Higher Rights course and assessment.
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:
By the end of this programme, delegates will be able to
There is no pre-reading for this course. Delegates wishing to read into the relevant areas beforehand should have regard to any practitioners’ text and to the SRA Code of Conduct. Blackstone’s and the SRA Code of Conduct are made available for the course itself.
By the end of this programme, delegates will be able to:
14 days prior to the course, delegates are supplied with pre-reading case study materials and instructions on pre-preparation work. This will involve around 2 hours of pre-course work.The course itself focuses on the practical conduct of advocacy. As part of the feedback, one performance of each delegate will be recorded and the recording provided to the delegate for self-review after the course.
By the end of the programme, delegates will be able to:
14 days prior to the course, delegates are supplied with pre-reading case study materials and instructions on pre-preparation work. This will involve around 2 hours of pre-course work.In addition, delegates wishing to read into the relevant areas beforehand should have regard to any practitioners’ text and to the SRA Code of Conduct. Blackstone’s and the SRA Code of Conduct are made available for the course itself.
14 days prior to the course, delegates are supplied with pre-reading case study materials and instructions on pre-preparation work. This will involve around 2 hours of pre-course work.The course itself focuses on the practical conduct of advocacy. As part of the feedback, one performance of each delegate will be videoed and the dvd provided to the delegate for self-review after the course.Please note that there are also online FAQs on Higher Rights training accessible via the ‘Contact us’ button at the top of this page.
All Higher Rights Assessments are undertaken in accordance with the University's Higher Rights Assessment Regulations.
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:
Our Higher Rights Assessments have been accredited by the SRA under the 2011 Regulations.
Our Higher Rights Assessments/training can be booked individually or in convenient packages, as follows:
Book online or choose your preferred course dates and download the Higher Rights booking form.
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.
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
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Each day of attendance on our Higher Rights equates to six CPD hours