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Faculty of Advocates

advocate, theses, bar and law

ADVOCATES, FACULTY OF. The Faculty of Advocates in Edinburgh con stitute the bar of Scotland. It consists of about 400 members. Only a small proportion, however, of these profess to be practising lawyers, and it has become a habit for country gentlemen to acquire the title of Advocate, in prefer ence to taking a degree at the Scottish Universities. The Faculty has no char ter, but the privileges of its members have been acknowledged in Acts of Parliament and other public documents. They may plead before any court in Scotland where the intervention of counsel is not pro hibited by statute ; in the House of Lords, and in parliamentary committees Their claim to act as counsel is generally ad mitted in the colonial courts ; and in those colonies where the civil law is predomi nant, such as the Cape of Good Hope and the Mauritius, it is usual for those colonists who wish to hold rank as barristers to become members of the Faculty of Advo cates. The only credential which it is necessary for a candidate for admission to the Faculty to produce is evidence of his having passed his twentieth year. On making his application, he is remitted to the committee of examinators on the civil law, who examine him on Justinian's Institutes, and require him to translate ad aperturam a passage in the Pandects.

After the lapse of a year he is examined in Scottish law. He then passes the ordeal of printing and defending Theses on a title of the Pandects after the method formerly followed in the Universities, and still preserved in some of them. The Faculty have a collection of these Theses, commencing with the year 1693. The impugnment is now a mere form. Being admitted by ballot by those members of Faculty who attend the impugnment, the candidate, on taking the oaths, receives an act of admission from the Court of Ses sion. The expense of becoming a mem ber of the Faculty, including stamp duty, subscription to the widows' fund, the cost of printing the Theses, and the subscrip tion to the library, amounts to about 3501. The Faculty choose a dean or chairman by an annual vote. The Dean of Faculty and the two crown lawyers, the Lord Advocate and Solicitor-General, are the only persons who take precedence at the Scottish bar, independent of seniority. The Lord Advocate and the Solicitor-General are the only members of the Faculty who wear silk gowns and sit within the bar.