The criminal training course and assessments takes place over three weekends:

  • Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 August
  • Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 September
  • Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 October

The course will be held remotely on Zoom due to the on-going Covid-19 restrictions. 

During the course of training, the topics covered include preliminary hearings, prior statements, presenting criminal appeals, advocacy-using witnesses, taking evidence on commission, vulnerable witnesses and High Court etiquette.

Ahead of the oral assessment, there practical exercises including a mock oral assessments with feedback. The mock oral assessment is filmed and candidates are given copies to help with their preparation. Candidates are issues materials in advance and expected to prepare for some of the sessions ahead of the training weekends.

Candidates will be assessed on their ability to act for both the Crown and Defence.

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

Each candidate is required to complete six days of sitting-in. The breakdown of these six days should consist of:

Four days criminal appeals (three days in Conviction Appeal Court and one day in Sentence Appeal Court) and two days preliminary hearing.

For sitting-in you need to attend the court hearing (remotely if required). You will need to complete sitting in cards as required to evidence your sitting in. The business of the court is available on their website.

Sitting-In must be completed before the final oral assessment on the course of training.

Training weekend one

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

  • Mock Sentence Appeal exercise (candidates expected to prepare in advance and will be filmed)
  • High Court etiquette
  • Preliminary Hearings
  • Management of complex and lengthy cases
  • Prior Statements
  • Criminal Appeals
  • Advocacy using witnesses
  • Taking evidence on Commission
  • Advocacy skills
  • Vulnerable witnesses

Training weekend two

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

  • Appeal against sentence
  • Conviction appeals and written submissions
  • Discussion of how it can go wrong
  • Section 275 exercises
  • Pleas in mitigation

The final assessment takes place on a weekend day a few weeks after completion of the training course.

Candidates are asked to prepare and present a First instance exercise and Appeal against conviction exercise. Candidates will typically act for the Crown in one exercise and the Defence in the other.

The candidates will present to three judges. This is comprised of two experienced Advocates and an experienced member of the bench.

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 both the criminal and civil course of training are £3,000+VAT.  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 Rachel Steer

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