Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Advocate Definition:

The Scottish law term for a barrister; one who argues cases for clients before the Court.

Related Terms: Solicitor, Barrister, Lawyer, Attorney, Lord Advocate

flag of ScotlandIn Scotland, advocates are organized into a Faculty of Advocates, comprised of seniors (those who have been made Queen's Counsel) and juniors (all other advocates).

Advocates, like the English barrister, were not to be instructed directly by a client but only through a solicitor. Conversely, in Scotland, the solicitor could not appear in court for their clients (this has now changed as in some limited circumstances, a solicitor can argue his clients' cases); only advocates could. In the result, there is no retainer between client and advocate; advocates have no contractual relationship with clients. The client has to go through a solicitor to instruct an advocate.

The communications division of the Faculty of Advocates, circa 2011, issued this statement:

"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."

As of April 2011, advocates in the courts of Scotland still wear wigs.


  • Faculty of Advocates website as of April 3, 2011 is at www.advocates.org.uk
  • Marshall, Enid, General Principles of Scots Law, 6th Edition (Edinburgh: Sweet & Maxwell, 1995), page 56-57.

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