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Higher Rights of Audience (Civil or Criminal)

Who should attend?
  • The Higher Rights of Audience qualification is available to any solicitor involved in advocacy work. On completion it will enable you to conduct advocacy in either the civil or criminal Higher Courts.This course is suitable for you if:
    • You already have sufficient advocacy experience and would like to be accredited as a solicitor advocate
    • Would like to enhance your capabilities as a dispute resolution practitioner you can undertake the training alone without the need to undertake the assessment
    • Trainee solicitors and others qualifying as solicitors who wish to take Higher Rights of Audience as their elective option*.

    *Trainee solicitors can also take the assessment during their training contract (satisfying the elective requirement of the PSC through the associated training if they wish) however a trainee solicitor must wait until they qualify before they can apply to the SRA for Solicitor Advocate status.

Key Details
  • The ability to see a client’s litigation through from start to finish without needing to hire a barrister can be more cost-effective for your client – and more profitable for the firm. Specialist knowledge and expertise in advocacy, will also provide your firm a competitive edgeThe Higher Rights of Audience qualification is designed to equip candidates for work in the Higher Courts, the skills and experience you will obtain will help you conduct more effective advocacy in all courts. Aspects of the programme will also enhance your knowledge of evidence and ethics which will help you develop wider litigation expertise.
    • Designed and delivered by experienced practitioners
    • Practical programme to ensure learning is directly applicable in the workplace
    • On successful completion the course will enable you and your firm to handle all aspects of litigation work on behalf of clients.
    • Those with sufficient advocacy experience can choose to take the assessment only option.
    • Our Higher Rights Assessments have been accredited by the SRA under the 2011 Regulations.

    Is there a need for training?

    Although there is no requirement to undertake training before attempting the new assessment, in our experience, training greatly helps candidates make the transition from lower court advocacy to Higher Court advocacy. In addition, the SRA’s standards are now more far-reaching, and candidates could be assessed against any of them. We therefore strongly recommend that all of our candidates undergo training to give them the best possible chance of passing the assessment at the first attempt.

Structure & Format

Delegates can choose to undertake the higher rights of audience in a number of ways depending on your current level of advocacy experience and whether or not you wish to simply enhance your skills with our training or if you would like to be accredited as a solicitor advocate.

Options include:
• Assessment only
• Written training only
• Practical training only
• Combined written and practical training – no assessment
• Written training plus assessment
• Practical training plus assessment
• Combined written and practical training with assessment

Format:
Written Assessment – 2½ hour open book exam with an additional 30 minutes of reading time.
Practical Assessment – Split into 2 parts – a contested hearing and a mini mock trial.
Written Training – 1 day preparation for the written assessment delivered through Live Online
Practical Training – 3 day opportunity to practise advocacy skills in a safe environment with expert trainers.

How is the assessment structured?
The single assessment comprises of two elements; a written examination and a practical advocacy assessment.

Written Element 
This part consists of a 2½ hour examination with an additional 30 minutes of reading time. The paper contains a section of short answer questions based on case studies and a section of multiple choice questions. You are able to take permitted materials into the examination (please see candidate information guide below for further details).

Practical Element 

This element is split into two parts and lasts for approximately 50 minutes. The first part requires candidates to submit a skeleton argument and conduct a contested interim hearing. The second part revolves around a mini mock trial and requires candidates to submit a trial plan and be assessed in two or more of the following areas:
• Opening Speech
• Examination in Chief
• Cross examination
• Re-examination
• Closing Speech

Candidates will receive the case papers for the assessment approximately 5 working days before the assessment date. This allows you the appropriate time to prepare your skeleton argument (for the interim hearing) and your trial plan (for the mini mock-trial). Both will need to be emailed to us prior to the assessment, and hard copies brought to the assessment day.

Pass Marks
The written and practical parts of the Assessment each account for 50% of the total available marks. Candidates must achieve a minimum of 60% across both parts (an aggregate mark) to pass the Advocacy Assessment. Candidates will also be required to satisfy the Equality and Diversity and Ethics Standards throughout the assessment.
The two parts of the assessment comprise one assessment and candidates will only be notified of their final aggregate pass or fail result.

Topics

Our training programme is split into two parts: written (1 day) and practical (3 days). You may chose to undertake one or both elements.

Written Training (One Day) – 6 CPD hours
The written part of the assessment will centre on the knowledge-based or document-based standards. Our one day written training programme is designed to prepare candidates to be assessed against all of these standards.

Specifically, it covers:
• Evidence – hearsay, bad character, disclosure, experts etc
• Dealing with vulnerable witnesses.
• Ethics and diversity
• Code of Conduct issues
• Preparation and identification of deficiencies in written documentation such as indictments, particulars of claim etc
• Practice specific elements. For example ADR and Pre action Protocols for Civil and PCMHs and sentencing for criminal

Practical Training (Three Days) up to 18 CPD hours
Our practical training is extremely hands-on and allows delegates the opportunity to practise their advocacy skills in a safe environment, and get detailed feedback from the trainer. We keep trainer to delegate ratios low to maximise one-to-one contact. Our trainers are also assessors, and so they are ideally placed to coach delegates on their performance and advise them on any areas for improvement ready for the assessment.

The programme covers:
• Trial analysis and planning, including formulating a trial strategy plan
• Preparing and conducting an interim application
• Preparing and delivering an opening speech
• Planning and carrying out an examination in chief
• Preparing for, and conducting, an effective cross examination
• Preparing and delivering a closing speech

Package Options

Package fees are the same for both the civil and criminal pathway.

  • Written and Practical Training & Assessment £1,475 + vat
  • Assessment only £495 + vat
  • Written + Practical Training £1010 + vat

We can also offer the written or practical training as independent modules. Please call us on 029 2045 1000 to enquire.

For Trainees

PSC Core Modules & Written and Practical Training £1785.00 +vat
PSC Core Modules & Written and Practical Training & Assessment £2185.00 +vat

Go to Professional Skills Course page for more information.

Learning Outcomes

Following this course you will:

  • Enhance your professional standing and reputation.
  • Handle all aspects of litigation work on behalf of clients.
  • Give the firm you work for a competitive edge.

Although the qualification is designed to equip candidates for work in the Higher Courts, the skills and experience you will obtain will help you conduct more effective advocacy in all courts. Aspects of the programme will also enhance your knowledge of evidence and ethics which will help you develop wider litigation expertise.

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