Benchmark’s lawyers are proud members of the Faculty of Advocates, Scotland’s Independent Referral Bar. The concept of ‘independence’ is key to the part played by our Advocates in the Scottish Legal System.

‘the nature of the Advocate’s office makes it clear that in the performance of his duty he must be entirely independent, and act, according to his own discretion and judgement, in the conduct of the cause for his client’ (Batchelor v Pattison and Mackersy, Lord President Inglis, 1876)

As such, each of Benchmark’s Advocates is an independent sole practitioner. Our Advocates are NOT partners or directors, or in any equivalent business relationship, but simply come together to improve efficiency and minimize costs, so that these benefits can be shared with our clients. 

‘we need a truly independent profession. One in which pleaders have wide practical experience, who are beholden to no-one and who are fearless and courageous. In my view, the public interest lies in the survival of a vigorous, independent referral bar’ (Lord President Gill – Commonwealth Law Conference – 13th April 2015)

Our pleaders have a depth of experience and have shown themselves to be fearless in defending the interests of their clients. So how do you become a client? 

According to our professional rules, an Advocate may not accept instructions direct from a client, except in the circumstances described below. Instructions must come from another professional person who represents the client. 

If you wish to instruct a Benchmark Advocate in respect of criminal litigation, we would usually recommend that you instruct a solicitor to make the approach in the first instance.  

The reach of the criminal law has however extended to the prosecution of Corporate Bodies and Public Authorities; some bodies of that type CAN instruct an Advocate directly (that is without employing a solicitor). By way of illustration the following bodies have the right of Direct Access; any Public Authority in terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, any Public Limited Company regulated by the London Stock Exchange, the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, all Professional Bodies in the United Kingdom which have been awarded a Royal Charter, the Army Legal Service and the Directorate of Legal Services of the Royal Navy. This short list is very far from exhaustive, the full list can be found at www.advocates.org.uk 

Benchmark Advocates will not deviate from the highest professional standards, but we strive to be approachable. If you stand in need of our experience and expertise, contact us today.

THOMAS LEONARD ROSS QC