SRA kicks off debate on higher rights

Higher rights of audience for solicitors could be scrapped under new proposals that could open up higher courts to all solicitors.

A consultation paper was issued on Friday (12 January) by the Solicitors Regulation Authority on whether solicitors need a separate qualification before being able to appear in the higher courts.

The deadline for responses to the consultation is 12 April. Alternatives proposed include replacing the existing system with a periodic, non-mandatory accreditation scheme, or abolishing accreditation completely.

Chair of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Peter Williamson, said:
“We are asking whether the current restrictions are justified in the interests of the public or the proper administration of justice.

“Obviously there are many interested parties, including the judiciary, the profession and their clients, so we hope they will all let us know their views.”

More than 3,600 solicitors presently hold a higher courts qualification.