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Learned Friends?The ‘inferior profession’ is growing up. Increasingly we draft our own Statements of Case and appear at interim hearings. Now, with the introduction of new routes to higher rights of audience, we might even be conducting High Court trials. But is this in the interests of justice and consistent with the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) or are we likely to see a decline in the quality of the adversarial system?

This short article is a personal view based on my own experience as the partner responsible for developing the advocacy capacity at Rowe & Maw. My conclusions are that solicitor-advocates are a good thing, that they pose no substantial threat to the livelihoods of the established members of the Bar, but that our emergence could, over time, starve the Bar from its roots up. That would not be in anyone’s best interests, but it is becoming increasingly likely. Old prejudices and fear of change will have to be swept aside and both limbs of the profession must work together if we are to secure the future of high quality advocacy.

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