Scottish advocates

An “advocate” is the Scottish equivalent of a barrister in England and Wales. All advocates are members of the Faculty of Advocates based in Parliament House in Edinburgh, where the supreme courts are located. The Faculty is responsible for the admission of advocates and their professional conduct. It also provides library facilities, including the renowned Advocates’ Library.

Clerking and administration is generally dealt with by Faculty Services Limited, a company set up for that purpose. For administrative purposes advocates are grouped in “stables” or “chambers”. Each group has a clerk or practice manager who can act as a point of contact for instructing agents or others with direct access to our services. All of these stables or chambers operate from the same room within Parliament House, with the exception of one stable which operates from Glasgow.

In recent years more control has been devolved by Faculty Services to the individual stables or chambers. This allows them to control their own membership, operate their own budget and carry out marketing or other activities as they see fit. For this reason most groups now have their own website.

As in England and Wales, an advocate can “take silk” and become a QC.

Provided by Laurence Kennedy, an advocate with Amperstand Stable.

The Faculty of Advocates

The Faculty of Advocates is a body of independent lawyers who have been admitted to practise as Advocates before the Courts of Scotland. Faculty records date as far back as 1532 when the College of Justice was established by an Act of the Scottish Parliament, though its origins are believed to predate that event.

The Faculty includes practising and non-practising members. The current practising Bar includes an increasing proportion of women. Women make up approximately one quarter of practising membership. Total numbers now stand at just over 460, of whom approximately one fifth are Queen’s Counsel. The taking of Silk, as assumption of the title of Queen’s Counsel is commonly known, depends upon the prerogative of Her Majesty. This is exercised through the First Minister upon the recommendation of the Lord Justice-General. The Dean of Faculty is consulted in the course of this process. As a general rule, Silk is awarded to experienced Counsel, who are considered to have achieved distinction in full-time practice. There is a particularly fine library – the Advocates Library – which contains materials built up over the last three hundred years.

The site provides access to a range of information in relation to the Faculty of Advocates, its members and the services they provide, including up-to-date stable listings and contact details for Advocates Clerks and deputies, an on-line version of the Faculty Directory and information to assist practitioners involved in, or considering, Direct Professional Access.

Stables and chambers in Scotland

Amperstand Stable has evolved from the former Ferguson Stable. They enjoy a reputation stretching back to 1981. That reputation is based on integrity, professionalism and approachability. Today, they bring the best elements from their past and use them to build their future. They have 44 members, including 15 QCs.

Axiom Advocates is a new group comprising many of Scotland’s leading advocates who have acted in the majority of significant commercial and public law cases over the past 30 years. They embrace a commercial approach to best practice and were the first in Scotland to define themselves and their operation along lines of specialist expertise in commercial and public law.

Compass Chambers offers advocates with expertise across a broad spectrum of litigation, with core strengths in reparation and regulation. Members of Chambers specialise in personal injury, professional negligence, property damage, insurance law, contract and commercial litigation, judicial review, defamation, fatal accident inquiries, professional disciplinary proceedings, and regulatory crime: in particular corporate financial, environmental and health and safety prosecutions.

The Murray Stable is one of the largest and the most innovative of the eleven stables of advocates forming Faculty Services Limited, the service company of the Scottish bar. It was formed in 1991 and now has 11 QCs and 40 junior counsel. Work areas include Commercial Law, Public Administrative Law, Employment Law, Planning & Construction Law, Reparation and professional negligence and Family Law. There are interesting sections on the site on how to instruct Scottish counsel for different people: a Scottish solicitor, a lawyer outside Scotland, a member of a Direct Access Group and a non-solicitor. The Murray stable is also the first stable in Scotland to put its head above the parapet and publish a Client Care Statement. They have also added a substantial “News & Articles” page. The articles are covered by a Creative Commons Licence, meaning broadly that the material can be quoted for non commercial purposes without permission or fee.

Terra Firma Chambers specialises in property, planning, commercial and administrative law. There are 31 counsel, including 9 Queen’s Counsel, with 11 of the members receiving one or more recommendations in the current editions of The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners UK directories. Advice is given in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Counsel have represented clients before all levels of courts, tribunals, inquiries, arbitrations, mediations, local authority committees and other types of hearing.

Westwater Advocates is a multi disciplinary group of Advocates offering top class representation and advice in a wide range of areas of law. They offer the services of some of the most experienced and talented Advocates at the Scottish Bar.

The Society of Advocates in Aberdeen exists to promote professional expertise and standards amongst members of the legal profession in and around Aberdeen, solicitors and members of the bar. The Society offers its members a private law library, conveniently close to the courts, and a quiet place to work away from the distractions of the office; as well as having an extensive collection of books and law reports, the library has wi-fi broadband internet access and a computer for those who do not carry their own technology.

Individual advocates and groups of advocates in Scotland

David Bartos has practised as an advocate since 1993. He works in property law, commercial law and wills, property and succession. He is also an arbitrator. There are a number of papers on his site relating to property, roaming, trespass and parking rights.

Benchmark Advocates is a collaboration launched in January 2018 which takes a contemporary approach to the marketing and delivery of advocacy services in Scotland. Founded by Thomas Leonard Ross QC (Former President of both the Scottish Criminal Bar Association and the Glasgow Bar Association, having conducted approximately 300 trials in the highest trial court in Scotland) and Edith Forrest (an Advocate who regularly appears in the High Court and Sheriff Court on matters of preliminary hearings, trials and Inquiries).

Laurence Kennedy is an Advocate practicing in the Sheriff Courts and Court of Session and also travelling throughout Scotland for court appearances and consultations. He practiced as a court solicitor for five years before being called to the bar in 2000. He has a general civil practice acting for both pursuers and defenders with a caseload divided between Sheriff Court and Court of Session litigation. He has particular experience in areas of law affecting the media such as defamation, contempt of court and copyright.

Jonathan Mitchell QC provides information on the Faculty of Advocates and the Scottish Bar so that non-Scottish Lawyers can understand more what is on offer. There is a major section on jursidiction issues within the expanded European Union and information on the Scottish legal System, the way the Scottish Parliament operates, housing law and public law. Other pages give substantive information on Scottish law with guides to judicial review, eviction, data protection, immigration appeals, freedom of information, and legal aid and a synopsis of new Court of Session decisions updated weekly. His full profile is here.