New members have been welcomed to the Faculty of Advocates, at a unique calling ceremony in Parliament Hall.
With social distancing paramount, the ceremony was held twice, with a tranche of eight intrants on each occasion. With numbers kept to the bare minimum, the event was streamed live to allow those unable to attend to view it. The intrants stood at proper intervals across the hall where they were addressed by Dean of Faculty Gordon Jackson QC before taking the declaration of allegiance before Lord Arthurson.
Normally the first part of the ceremony would take place in the Faculty's reading room, and the second in one of the Court of Session courtrooms. Today's ceremony recalled the days when courts convened in alcoves of Parliament Hall itself.
Those admitted to Faculty today were: Andrew Crosbie, Christopher Miller, Valentina Mori, Elaine Russell, Charles Ferguson, Adam Black, Laura Anne Radcliffe, Kenneth Cloggie, Antonia Welsh, Melanie Barbour, Carla Fraser, Charles Oliver, Cameron Smith, Dominic Scullion, Jonathan Kiddie and Robert Hovey.
They join fellow 2019-20 devil, David Taylor, who was admitted at an earlier ceremony. Another nine devils are due to call next month.
Welcoming the new members, Mr Jackson said: "These are not normal times and today’s has not been the normal ceremony. However, very much the silver lining of that cloud is the fact we are using the magnificent Parliament Hall. Every calling ceremony is special for those involved, but today’s has considerable historic significance… and you will be able to tell generations to come: ‘I was there.’"
Lord Arthurson said the achievement of the public office of advocate was a hard-earned and laudable one.
"You have all worked hard. Each of you has an exceptional set of skills. Enjoy the moment", he told those admitted.
"We live in strange and testing times… But what these present days have taught us, inside the law and outside, is the desirability of being flexible. In your own role as counsel that will mean being creative in your delivery of a consistently high quality, professional service to the public and the court. So, be prepared to change your mode of presentation, even may I say to the extent perhaps of shortening the length of your submissions, and to review your own presumptions of what court work looks like and indeed how justice, which does not change, is delivered."