The Faculty of Advocates is an independent body of lawyers
who have been admitted to practise as Advocates before the
Courts of Scotland.
The Faculty has been in existence since 1532 when the College
of Justice was set up by Act of the Scots Parliament, but
its origins are believed to predate that event. It is self-regulating,
and the Court delegates to the Faculty the task of preparing
Intrants for admission as Advocates. This task involves a
process of examination and practical instruction known as
devilling, during which Intrants benefit from intensive structured
training in the special skills of advocacy. No-one can be
presented to the Court as suitable to be a practising Advocate
without satisfying these training requirements. The Faculty
also provides for its Members an ongoing programme of talks,
seminars and conferences covering a wide range of topics.
The Faculty’s training courses are regarded as among
the best in the English speaking world.
The Faculty is led by its Dean, who is elected by the whole
membership, supported by the Vice-Dean, Treasurer, Clerk,
Keeper of the Library and Chairman of Faculty Services Ltd,
all of whom are also elected.
View a list of the current Office
The Faculty includes practising and non-practising members.
The current practising Bar includes an increasing proportion
of women. Women make up approximately one quarter 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.