A solicitor advocate is a fully qualified solicitor that has obtained an extra qualification that allows them to represent their clients in UK Courts, in the same way that a barrister can. The benefit of a solicitor advocate is that they can advise and represent their clients throughout an entire case in the lower and higher Courts, including:
A solicitor without a Higher Rights of Audience qualification has to instruct a barrister to advocate on behalf of a client. The role of solicitor advocate combines the role of solicitor and barrister to give clients a continuous, consistent experience. Solicitor advocates tend to specialise in civil or criminal litigation.
To become a solicitor advocate, you must be a fully qualified solicitor and complete a Higher Rights of Audience training course. A Higher Rights of Audience course helps to prepare you for the assessments that lead to Higher Rights Advocacy Qualifications (HRAQ) awarded by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Courses can last several days depending on the provider. Courses are split into two main parts:
To pass the course, you will need to successfully complete three assessments:
As part of the evidence and litigation assessment, the SRA expects you to be able to:
Under the advocacy assessment, the SRA will be looking for:
The course will help to build your knowledge of the law, procedure and rules of evidence in a practical setting, while enhancing your case analysis and case theory skills. You will develop your advocacy and presentation skills and receive guidance and feedback from specialist tutors. You will also gain an understanding of ethics and professional standards.
To secure a Higher Rights of Audience qualification, you will need to complete an assessment with an SRA approved course provider. Here is a list of approved course providers:
|Course Details||Provider||Start Date (2020)||Fees|
|Higher Rights of Audience|
(HRA) Civil and Criminal Higher Rights of Audience
Location: Face-to-face in London and Manchester
|Check course provider website||£1,515 + VAT|
|Higher Rights of Audience (HRA)|
Civil and Criminal
|Provider: University of Law|
Location: London Moorgate campus
|Check course provider website||£535 + VAT per assessment (three assessments in total)
|Higher Rights of Audience (Civil or Criminal)||Provider: BARBRI Altior|
Location: London, Manchester and online
|Check course provider website||£495 + VAT|
|Higher Rights of Audience|
|Provider: CPD training|
Location: Mostly Online
|Check course provider website||£1,499 + VAT for online course|
|Higher Rights of AudienceCivil and Criminal Available||Provider: The City Law School|
Location: Check provider website
|Check course provider website||Check course provider website|
|SRA Higher Rights of Audience CourseNon-NTU Award||Provider: Nottingham Law School – NLS Centre for Advocacy|
Location: Nottingham City Campus
|Check course provider website||£1,350 +VAT|
The role of a solicitor advocate can depend on the area of law. For example, a solicitor advocate in family law cases can use Rights of Audience to see a case through to its conclusion, helping to prepare the case and cross-examine witnesses.
Criminal solicitor advocates can sometimes do the same. However, being a full-time solicitor advocate in crime can mean that you are instructed by a law firm in the same way as a barrister. If you work in the legal department of an organisation, you are likely to be kept busy with advocacy, but unlikely to see every case through to the end.
Barristers are often instructed for a case at late notice, giving them very little time to prepare for a case. If you are both a solicitor and advocate, you will have greater knowledge of the case on which you are working.
The salary a solicitor advocate can earn is dependent on the area of law in which they practice. A solicitor advocate specialising in criminal law will earn a different salary to a solicitor who has Rights of Audience in the civil courts.
Working arrangements are also a factor. Many solicitor advocates work for a law firm, while others work on a freelance basis, which presents a higher earning potential.
Generally, the starting salary for a solicitor advocate can range between £20,000 and £45,000 per year. As a solicitor advocate builds their reputation, they have the potential to earn anywhere between £100,000 and £1 million.
The working hours of a solicitor advocate can vary. Much of their time is spent in trials at Court, office working and occasional work from home. The hours of work can be irregular depending on caseloads. Evening and weekend work is not uncommon.
However, most advocates tend to focus on the advocacy side of the role rather than litigation, meaning that the majority of the working day will see a solicitor in Court.
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