Advocates, also known as “Counsel”, are independent lawyers who have rights of audience allowing them to represent parties in all courts and tribunals in Scotland as well as in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. A QC or Queen’s Counsel, is a senior advocate, who has been awarded the title in recognition of his or her experience and ability.
When instructed to conduct a case, an advocate will appear in court for his or her client, draft written documents for lodging in court, recommend necessary investigations and give advice on strategy and prospects of success. Advocates may be instructed alone, but in more complex cases a QC and a Junior Counsel will often be instructed to appear together.
Advocates also appear in tribunals, at planning or licensing hearings, arbitrations, adjudications and mediations.
Advocates also provide advice, in person or in writing, on questions of law, as well as on broader strategic considerations. Good quality advice can help to resolve a dispute in its early stages without the need for litigation or formal dispute resolution.
Advocates are usually instructed through solicitors and work alongside them. However, the members of many other organizations may also instruct counsel directly (see “Direct Access”). For more information on how to engage an advocate contact a member of our clerking team.