Certificate of Advocacy:
A qualification which allows solicitors to act as advocates in the higher courts. All solicitors have the right to act as advocates and represent clients in the Magistrates’ Court and County Court . But until the Court and Legal Services Act 1990, their rights of audience in other courts were limited. This Act allowed solicitors to apply for a certificate of advocacy for higher courts. In order to qualify, a solicitor must have experience of advocacy in the lower courts, take a short course and pass examinations on the rules of evidence. The first certificates of advocacy were granted in 1994 and, by 2009, only about 3,000 out of a total of over 100,000 solicitors had obtained one.
Solicitors with an advocacy certificate are eligible to be appointed as Queen’s Counsel and also to be appointed to the higher judicial posts.