The Royal Court of Guernsey admits lawyers, known as Advocates of the Royal Court, to practice the laws of Guernsey, Alderney and Sark in the Bailiwick. The qualifications for admission are that an Advocate must have been admitted to be a member of the Bar in England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland or have been admitted as a Solicitor in one of those jurisdictions. In addition an aspirant must also have obtained the Certificat d'Etudes Juridiques Francaises et Normandes at the University of Caen-Basse-Normandie in France and have passed the Guernsey Bar Exams set by the Royal Court.
Find out about Qualifying as a Guernsey Advocate
Once called to the Bar the Advocate must take the oath of an Advocate (in French). The Advocate is an officer of the Royal Court and his or her primary duty is to the Court and not to the client. A Guernsey Advocate is a member of a fused profession which means that he or she will perform, in effect, the roles which would, in England, be performed both by solicitors and barristers.
Whilst it is not necessary to become an Advocate to practise Guernsey law whilst under the employment of a firm of Advocates, one must be an Advocate to have rights of audience in the Royal Court and the Guernsey Court of Appeal and also one must be an Advocate in order to become a partner at a firm of Advocates in Guernsey. Non-advocate lawyers must not hold themselves out to be Advocates and must state in their communications (such as emails and letters) in which jurisdiction they are qualified. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.
In formal court hearings, Advocates wear bands and a robe and also a toque which is a black hat in the style worn by French Advocates. Guernsey Advocates do not wear wigs. However, the dress for most interlocutory court hearings is simply business attire.