The civil training course takes place over three weekends and consists of presentations and tutorials from both the bench and experienced solicitor advocates. The course convener is Solicitor Advocate Craig Connal QC.

The 2021 course dates are:

  • Friday 5, Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 March
  • Sunday 21 March
  • Saturday 24 April

The Civil rights of Audience process is now open for applications closing on 1 December 2020. Please see further detail on the application process please see here

The course assesses both written and oral elements and includes a ‘ takeaway’ assessment to be completed independently and a written assessment and takes place on a weekday.

Throughout the course of training, the topics covered include workshops on written pleadings and lectures on appearing in the Inner House, the Commercial Court, appeals to the Supreme Court, judicial reviews, appearing as a Solicitor Advocate and using witnesses.

The oral assessment asks candidates to present an oral argument in a Reclaiming Motion from paper. This will be presented to two real judges.

It is possible that both the written and oral assessment exercises will involve an area of law with which the candidate is unfamiliar in their own practice.

Candidates are required to attend all training days in order to pass the course.

Once your application form has been received you will receive further information about the course, including your Sitting-In Card.

Each candidate is required to do six days sitting in in the Court of Session (of which four days must be Inner House). Candidates with experience of these courts are entitled to seek exemption but will normally require to undertake Sitting-In for four court days including at least two days in the Inner House/Appeal Court.

Sitting-In means attendance at the Court in Edinburgh at the hearing of a case or cases in which the candidate or his firm or his employer does not act for any of the parties, save in exceptional circumstances, such as members of the Procurator Fiscal Service.

Sitting-In is arranged through our Administration Officer - currently Mrs. Christine Wilcox at the SSC Library in Parliament House (Tel: 0131 225 6268 – Email: christine@ssclibrary.co.uk).

The SSC Library is open from 9.30am until 4.00pm and calls to make arrangements for Sitting-In should be made within those hours.

Due to the volume of copying involved in providing papers, and the notification to be given to court staff, it is essential that the Administration Officer is given 48 hours’ notice of intention to undertake Sitting-In on a particular day. Those giving shorter notice can only be accommodated in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Administration Officer.

Sitting-in must be completed before the final oral assessment.

Training weekend one: Friday 5, Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 March 2021

The following topics will be covered during the first weekend: 

  • Written pleadings workshops on Summons, Defence, Petition for Judicial Review and Grounds of Appeal
  • Appearing in the Inner House
  • The Commercial Court
  • Appeals to the Supreme Court
  • Using witnesses 
  • Advocacy skills 
  • Appearing as a Solicitor Advocate

Training weekend two: Sunday 21 March 2021

The following topics will be covered over the course of the second weekend:

  • Mock oral exercise - Reclaiming Motion

Summons, Defence and Petition for Judicial Review exercises:

Candidates will be asked to produce a draft summons, defences and a petition for judicial from materials provided, in a remote open book examination setting.  The standard is of a reasonably competent pleader in the Court of Session.

This is held approximately one week after the first course weekend (usually on a Monday). Candidates will use a laptop and must ensure that Wi-Fi is disabled. The open book setting extends to documents saved on their laptop.

The assessment date for the 2021 course is TBC. 

Grounds of Appeal exercise: 

Candidates will be asked to produce a set of Grounds of Appeal for the Inner House in a Reclaiming Motion from a reported Outer House case.  This is to be done by a given deadline but outwith the formal course environment, ie. in the office or in the candidate's own time. 

It is quite possible that in the written assessment, the oral assessment, or both, the exercises will involve an area of law with which the candidate is unfamiliar in their own practice.

The oral assessment will take place on Saturday 24 April 2021

Candidates are asked to present oral argument in a Reclaiming Motion from papers, usually comprising a reported decision at first instance and three or four of the authorities cited before the Lord Ordinary which are thought to be potentially relevant.  That is to be prepared as if a full Reclaiming Motion was required, albeit in practice candidates will be allowed around 40 minutes or so to present parts of that to two "real" judges.  

 It is quite possible that in the written assessment, the oral assessment, or both, the exercises will involve an area of law with which the candidate is unfamiliar in their own practice.

Contact us

If you have any questions relating to the civil and criminal Rights of Audience training course please contact Emma Grant, Events & Training Officer, CPD & Training Team.
Additional information
Following successful processing of your application, you will be asked to register for the course via our online registration form. 

The course fees for the training course are £3,060.  Payment is required in one lump sum prior to the course commencing via credit or debit card, or through invoice. Alternatively you can post a cheque for the full amount made payable to the Law Society of Scotland.

For queries about the training course please contact Emma Grant

For specific queries in relation to seeking extended rights of audience please contact David McDougall.