Scottish courts and the law
Scottish courts and the law

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Scottish courts and the law

Week 6: The legal profession in Scotland


This week you consider the legal profession in Scotland and the changes they are facing to their traditional roles. The legal profession in Scotland consists of solicitors, advocates, judges and the Procurator Fiscal.

By the end of this week you will be able to:

  • explain the roles of solicitors and advocates
  • describe the role of a judge
  • explain the personal qualities expected of those working in the legal profession.

You should now watch this video which provides an introduction to the legal profession before you begin your studies of this week.

Download this video clip.Video player: Introduction to the legal profession
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Transcript: Introduction to the legal profession

There are two types of lawyers generally practising day to day in Scotland. Those are solicitors and advocates. There are many more solicitors than there are advocates, and they have slightly different functions. Advocates, however, are charged with representing clients in the Supreme Court of Scotland and have a right of audience at every level in the Scottish court system, whereas solicitors-- unless they've sat additional exams, which a few of them do-- have only rights of audience in the lower courts.
Advocates, when they're appearing in court, dress differently from solicitors. Advocates, when we appear in court, have to wear a wig. This is my wig here, which I keep in this tin with my name on it. And we have to wear a white bow tie when we're in court and a white stuff collar. We have to wear black tailcoat and a black gown. And if we don't wear those things, we're not dressed appropriately. And they are called our badges of office, and that is how people are able to distinguish between an advocate and a solicitor.
End transcript: Introduction to the legal profession
Introduction to the legal profession
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