Approval of counsel at the Petition stage in High Court proceedings

The Crown Office will notify us of cases that have been identified as High Court proceedings. When we receive such notification, we will advise you that automatic approval for the employment of junior counsel has been put in place.

Where the Crown do not notify us but the client receives a High Court indictment, there is no need to make an application for approval to employ junior counsel.  Any request will be given a status of “not considered” as it is not required.

The automatic grant of approval only covers work that we consider necessary and reasonable for junior counsel to carry out.

This may include:

  • Providing an Opinion
  • Attending consultations
  • Assisting in defence preparations
  • Establishing lines of enquiry
  • Negotiating a plea

It does not include counsel carrying out work that we would consider it more appropriate for you to carry out.

You must get our approval if you need senior counsel at any stage.

Where there is any pre indictment hearing, calling in the sheriff court, in a case that has been identified as a High Court prosecution, you will require separate approval for counsel’s attendance at such a diet. This is on the basis that the matter is calling in the Sheriff Court and you could attend to conduct the hearing.

Where a case that has been identified as a High Court prosecution is subsequently indicted in the sheriff court, you require separate approval for counsel’s continued instruction.


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