Criminal Rights of Audience FAQs

Criminal Rights of Audience FAQs

Candidates who have not had relevant experience of Court work as an admitted solicitor for five years prior to submitting an application may be unable to satisfy the Council with regard to experience.

Relevant experience means experience of solemn trials in the Sheriff Court for those seeking the Right of Audience in the High Court and proofs, debates or appeals in the Sheriff Court for those seeking the Right of Audience in the Court of Session etc.

Candidates who have been practising members of the Faculty of Advocates may count experience in that capacity towards the five years. The Council will consider waiving the need for five years’ experience in exceptional cases such as solicitors who have been practising members of the Bar in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or another Member State of the European Union; or who have had relevant experience of Court work as a solicitor in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or another jurisdiction.

The Application Form – Helpful Hints
Once you have decided you would like to apply for the Criminal Rights of Audience course, you should complete the course application. Application forms should be completed as fully and legibly as possible. If the information given is not sufficient, this may lead to a delay while further information is sought.

The form may either be typed or handwritten – please note, the form is required to be signed by the candidate upon completion. Once completed, email your application to or post to:

David Macdougall
The Law Society of Scotland
Atria One
144 Morrison Street

Application Deadline
Please get in touch if you wish to enquire about the 2017 course.

Candidates should state the names, full postal addresses and email addresses of two individuals from whom the Society can obtain a reference. One of the referees should be a Sheriff or other member of the Judiciary before whom the candidate has appeared before. The other referee can be a solicitor but should not be a business partner, employer or client.  All candidates should advise their referees that they are giving their names for this purpose.

Maximum number of candidates for the course
The convenor regards 12 as the absolute maximum number of candidates. Places on the course are allocated based on dates applications are received. 

Relevant Experience
The information to be given in Part 3 of the Application Form about relevant experience should be restricted to cases in which a trial, proof, debate or appeal to the Sheriff Principal has taken place. Experience in other Courts (including the Court for which any candidates are seeking Rights of Audience) should be included in the section "Other Experience". Candidates should restrict themselves to cases which have been set down for trial, proof, debate or appeal as the case may be. Cases which have not yet reached that stage should not be included. Candidates should indicate the role in which they were involved including whether they have appeared personally in the Court of Session either in Chambers or at the Vacation Court.

Information to be given about any case should include the name, the Court in which it took place, the year in which it was heard, and whether the hearing was a trial, proof, debate or appeal. It is not necessary to advise of the outcome nor to forward background papers in connection with the case. If the hearing lasted more than one day, the duration would also be helpful.

Once your application form has been received, you will be asked to register for the course via our online registration form.  It is here that we will ask you for payment of the course fees.

The course fees are £2,950 inc VAT (£2,458.34 Exc VAT). Fees as per the 2016 course. 

This covers all the course and exam costs. Payment is required in one lump sum via credit or debit card or, if your firm holds credit with us, through invoice. Alternatively you can post a cheque for the full amount made payable to the Law Society of Scotland with a brief covering letter, and we will complete the registration for you.

Each candidate is required to complete 6 days of sitting in prior to the start of the training course in May.  The breakdown of these 6 days should consist of:

4 days Criminal Appeals (3 days in Conviction Appeal Court and 1 day in Sentence appeal court), 2 days Preliminary Hearing. 

For sitting in all you need to do is turn up at court and get any relevant papers from the clerk.  You will need to get the attendance card signed by the clerk. The business of the court seems to be available on their website -

 Sitting in must be completed before the final oral assessment.

The exam is held each year at the Law Society of Scotland office. Each diet will consist of two papers (1) Professional Conduct, which will last for two hours, usually from 10.00 a.m. until 12 noon and (2) Practice and Procedure which will last for two and a half hours from 1.30 p.m. until 4.00 p.m. Examination books are provided at the venue.

For the Professional Conduct examination, candidates are not allowed to take any books in.  This is a closed book exam. Candidates are expected to have extensive knowledge of Rule C4.3 Order of Precedence, Instructions and Representation and Rule C4.4 Conduct of Solicitor Advocates.  Copies of these Rules are NOT allowed to be used in the exam.  Candidates are not expected to remember the numbers of the various Rules. Candidates are also expected to also have knowledge of general principles of professional ethics and the standards set out in Rule B1 Standards of Conduct. All of these Rules can be accessed on the Law Society of Scotland’s website.

The Practice and Procedure examination is an 'open book' exam. This means that candidates are allowed to bring and use any published and un-annotated books and case reports printed from the Scottish Courts website.

The completed examination scripts will be passed to the relevant examiner and all candidates will be advised in writing of the result as soon as possible. In both examinations the pass mark will be 50% and it is not intended to hold oral examinations. Individual marks will not be given out.

If you have any queries regarding Rights of Audience applications please contact the Education & Training team:

If you have any queries regarding the training course please contact the CPD and events team: or 0131 476 8201.

New dates for the next Criminal Rights of Audience course will be announced soon – please email if you’d like us to inform you when the new dates are announced.