1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Advocates, Faculty of

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ADVOCATES, FACULTY OF, the collective term by which what in England are called barristers are known in Scotland. They professionally attend the supreme courts in Edinburgh; but they are privileged to plead in any cause before the inferior courts, where counsel are not excluded by statute. They may act in cases of appeal before the House of Lords; and in some of the British colonies, where the civil law is in force, it is customary for those who practise as barristers to pass as advocates in Scotland. This body has existed by immemorial custom. Its privileges are constitutional, and are founded on no statute or charter of incorporation. The body formed itself gradually, from time to time, on the model of the French corporations of avocats, appointing like them by a general vote, a dean or doyen, who is their principal officer. It also differs from the English and Irish societies in that there is no governing body similar to the benchers, nor is there any resemblance to the quasi-collegiate discipline and the usages and customs prevailing in an inn of court. No curriculum of study, residence or professional training was, until 1856, required on entering this profession; but the faculty have always had the power, believed to be liable to control by the Court of Session, of rejecting any candidate for admission. The candidate undergoes two private examinations—the one in general scholarship, in lieu of which, however, he may produce evidence of his having graduated as master of arts in a Scottish university, or obtained an equivalent degree in an English or foreign university; and the other, at the interval of a year, in Roman, private international and Scots law, He must, before the latter examination, produce evidence of attendance at classes of Scots law and conveyancing in a Scottish university, and at classes of civil law, public or international law, constitutional law and medical jurisprudence in a Scottish or other approved university. He has then to undergo the old academic form of the public impugnment of a thesis on some title of the pandects; but this ceremony, called the public examination, has degenerated into a mere form. A large proportion of the candidate’s entrance fees (amounting to £339) is devoted to the magnificent library belonging to the faculty, which literary investigators in Edinburgh find so eminently useful.