SRA consults on proposed changes to solicitor advocate assessments and qualifying requirements

The SRA has launched a consultation on proposals designed to make sure that high standards of advocacy are provided by solicitors.

Proposals include:

  • the introduction of revised standards for the Higher Rights of Audience qualification
  • the creation of a single, centralised Higher Rights of Audience assessment
  • the development of more online resources to help solicitors maintain and develop their advocacy skills
  • only solicitors with Higher Rights of Audience qualification should be able to undertake advocacy in more serious cases in the youth court.

Reports such as the Ministry of Justice’s Jeffrey Review and SRA’s own judicial perceptions research have suggested judges have concerns about the competence of some of the solicitor advocates appearing before them.

New SRA research suggests that one in three solicitor firms (32%) offer criminal advocacy, mostly focusing on guilty plea and sentencing hearings. Nearly 60% of firms provide advocacy services for civil cases, 47% in areas of family law and 32% at tribunals.

Read the consultation: Assuring advocacy standards

Brought to you by ICLR.