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United Kingdom: Devilling (Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales)

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  • United Kingdom: Devilling (Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales)

    Devilling is the period of training or pupillage undertaken by a person wishing to become an Advocate in Scotland.


    The prospective advocate is placed under the care of a devilmaster who traditionally must not be a Queen's Counsel, and then follows a programme of training as laid down by the Faculty of Advocates.

    The process has an ancient heritage, and it is the legal right of the Faculty of Advocates to admit persons as advocates to the Courts of Scotland. This right was apparently granted by the College of Justice.


    Devilling is a period of training undertaken by barristers in Ireland, during which they work for a senior barrister (one who has been called for seven or more years but who is not a senior counsel), known as the "master". It can take place during the year after which the devil has been awarded the barrister-at-law degree by the King's Inns although it may be done later. In order to have full rights of audience in the Irish Courts a qualified barrister must devil for at least one year. However, a barrister who has not completed his devilling may, nonetheless,be recognised as fully qualified by the bar associations of other EEA member states and practise in those member states in accordance with the relevant EU directives.

    England and Wales

    The term is used in the English legal system to refer to a junior barrister undertaking paid written work on behalf of a more senior barrister. The instructing solicitor is not informed of the arrangement and the junior barrister is paid by the senior barrister out of his own fee as a private arrangement between the two.

    The "Treasury Devil" is the colloquial term for the First Junior Treasury Counsel, a private practitioner barrister who represents Her Majesty's Government in the civil courts. Traditionally the First Junior Treasury Counsel is not appointed Queen's Counsel but it is nonetheless one of the most prestigious of legal appointments and almost inevitably leads to appointment as a High Court Judge.
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