Higher Rights

Thinking of doing this. Any views appreciated especially from those who have done the course, and exercise the rights often.

I know that barristers generally look down on sols who appear against them.

“I know that barristers generally look down on sols who appear against them”

Brilliant reason alone to do it

Judges do too. I once watched seen a higher rights solicitor schooling both the judge and his wig jockey opponent at the same time and ti was very amusing. 


He had to have his shit completely in order though because they both gave him absolutely no wriggle room after that.  

The couple solicitors I've encountered with this were total sh1t in court.

If you are going to do it and then actually do a lot of advocacy because it’s your career interest and you’re going to be good at it, go ahead. I’m sure you can put up with some smug judges and barristers.

If you are going to get this qualification in the hope that you will trot off to the HC once every year or two amongst very periodic appearances in the County Court, don’t bother. Not so much because you’ll be looked down upon; more because you probably won’t be very good at it when you come up against a good barrister in a serious court.

Most of the sols I have dealt with who have HRA have been utter bell-ends.

It's as if the qualification singles you out as such.

Best crack on, m6.

wot nb123 said.

Depending on area remember that counsel may not actually get that much court time.  I was in a 2 day trial opposite a junior a few months ago and her hands shook throughout.  Her written advocacy was ok (not perfect on precision) but orally she was weak.

If your area has tribunal work available make sure to do as much of that as possible.  

In the interests of balance I should point out that many of the most esteemed barristers in the land are totally ballbag.  Couldn't cross-examine satan.

you guys this is IG. 

1) he is not going to do this. 

2) see 1


I remember this being a thing when I was newly qualified - all junior litigators were encouraged to do this at my then firm - people seemed to think the bar and solicitors were about to fuse - very few people who got the qualification at that time have ever used it in anger as far as I am aware.

there are some rumblings of judges "suggesting" they want to hear junior juniors on certain points in an attempt to improve the quality of oral advocacy

Didn't look down on solicitor advocates on the other side unless they were shit. 

Lots of them were very good. But plenty were terrible, and it was such an obvious money grab (legal aid care proceedings) that they deserved every ounce of scorn that came their way from the bench.

Also, what nb123 said. You don't get good at it unless you do it a lot. The first week of my second six was a brutal reality check.

I can only imagine.  I remember my first hearing.  I know if I did it again today I'd walk it, but I was woeful.

I do some stuff in the employment tribunals. Mainly preliminary hearings and straightforward cases like wages claims or hopeless 1-2 day claims.

Anything that needs some proper cross-examination or submissions, I get a barrister to do it. I could do slightly longer or more complex hearings, but as well as being a pain in the arse with juggling other work then I recognise that it isn’t my bag and people who solely do that for a living are better (and cheaper) than I would be.

That is in the ET, which is probably one of the most relaxed and informal courts and where judicial snobbiness is a bit less common on account of most cases having litigants in person on the other side. Personally wouldn’t dream of dabbling at the High Court upwards.

I used to do a lot of ET stuff, its was good fun xx is the best bit of the job. But you do need to it quite a lot to keep in practice. Agreed on high court stuff - wouldn't want to touch that. 

In NZ we have a merged bar, so I worked as a barrister & solicitor for 4 years, appearing in court regularly.  They are two very different skill sets.   Came to the UK and realised how much better it was to specialise in one or the other.  Of course there will be exceptions, but you risk falling between two stools.

That said, early barrister experience I think helped a lot as a sol later on, drafting witness statements etc with an eye always on cross-examination.  

I don't think you can write good statements unless you have done cross-examination.  

Wibble and Warren

Agree that it helps.  I do tribunal stuff (I did more in my particular area than any other person last year - counsel included) and also do HC and CoA.  It definitely helps to have done trials - I am in fact giving a professional lecture on the subject next week to the profession.

XX is a fun skill.  

I was OK in my first hearing which then made me think "I've got this". On day 3 I was rightly roasted by a very cantankerous DJ at Horseferry Road. Back down to earth with a bump.

XX is one of the things I miss. 

hmm first case where I had xx I have 5 witnesses in what looked like a slam dunk for the other side.

We won as their witnesses were baaad.  One of whom was the other side's solly, who had put in a witness statement and was xx'd

wtf would you do that!? I have never seen that go well. 

I had the joy of being xx'ed in the EAT once on a bias appeal. 


them: So Mr Wibble the ET judge interrupted me a lot didn't he. 

me: Yes he did. 

them: He did not interrupted you at all did he?

me: No - he did do so a few times. 

them: but not as much?

me: no, but then I was not as rambling and off topic as much as you was I? 

them: sputter sputter 




I was (mildly) assaulted by the Father in a Family case in my last year in practice. Was looking forward to the XX but he pleaded guilty.

I did it when about 5 years pqe just to prove to myself I could.  You do use "advocacy" in other senses e.g. at mediations or other party/party discussions and I think it fine tunes how you think about advocacy, how trials pan out, how you instruct counsel.  Litigators do a lot more theory than practice when it comes to court time and I think this gives you a bit more insight.  It doesn't make you equal to a barrister obviously because you haven't done the court time, although the odd exceptional solicitor might be up to it even without.

And, as Peter says, I'm an absolutely throbbing bell end as well.

I did it in 2011.  Made me a much better advocate and all round litigator I think,  at that time I was doing a lot of ET and SENDIST advocacy.  I only used my HRA for real once in the UK, at a 1 day hearing in the Administrative Court, no XX but you very rarely get XX in JRs and statutory appeals.    Here we also have a fused profession and I have done a 2 day stat. appeal full hearing and a number of interlocutories.   I've got 2 more full hearings in the next 3 weeks (a 2 day and 1 day). 

Oh and it goes without saying that my membership of Mensa and the Freemasons already made me a gigantic 4 funnel ocean going bell-end, HRA was just the icing on the cake. 

I did it in 2013 as work wanted it. I was living in Germany at the time and they were paying for me to go back to London for a few weekends to do this so I was content with that. Didn't think it was that hard to pass and only one of our cohort failed. Never really used it since and don't really need it for my job or thought much about it since. Certainly don't consider myself great shakes as an advocate.

I too was already an annoying person - this just added to it.

I have no idea why they did it - they had literally no credibility and the thing they said was clearly incorrect.  They admitted they got the number from the client and cut+pasted it in to a witstat and signed it.

The only bit I hate is reading the transcript.  I was told by one of the transcribers that if they like you they edit out your ums and ahhs.  If they don't they leave them in so you can see how disfluent you are.

Still glad I do it.  If only because it gives me a little superpower.  I actually found one other lawyer in my field who does it, but then realised he is only ever the junior to a more senior bazza so doesn't actually get on his feet.