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  • Writer's pictureNadia Cook

Diary of a Devil - The Foundation Course at the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

Week 1, Day 1 of Devilling


"Today officially marked the start of devilling at the Faculty of Advocates, nearly 9 years after I started in law. I am fortunate to be joined by 10 other talented and enthusiastic devils this year and to be led by the Director of Training, Hugh Olson.


The Foundation Course started today and will go on for the next 5 weeks. The concept behind the various courses is "tell-show-do". This morning was an introduction to the various activities over the coming weeks with an overview of the feedback and review method to be used.


The afternoon was spent with the wonderful Bridget McCann doing presentational and vocal exercises. The theme and focus of today's workshops were the skills needed to create an event of your choosing in the mind of the decision-maker. A key takeaway was how quickly positive thinking and the power of feeling confident can manifest themselves in your actions and behavior. It was also interesting to learn about advocacy as an art in the abstract.


Devils have been provided with some criminal and civil case studies in advance of the workshops this week. Tomorrow's workshop will be the first time we get on our feet for some legal submissions (an application for interim interdict whilst being recorded!).


One thing which I particularly enjoyed was the camaraderie amongst our cohort. As always, everyone devilling has had a variety of experiences. Some, like me, have spent only a few years post-qualification whilst some have spent 10+ years in practice before coming to the Bar.


I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of this week and the next 9 months have in store!"


Week 1, Day 2 of Devilling


"By yesterday, we were well and truly into the swing of devilling. The morning was spent doing case analysis exercises on a civil scenario where an interim interdict was sought against a golf club. This included identifying "good" facts and "bad" facts and thinking about organising submissions into a logical structure. We analysed examples of famous speeches where the message was put succinctly and powerfully like the Gettysburg Address.


The afternoon was spent prepping and then getting on our feet being video-recorded making submissions on the motion for interim interdict. Groups were split with members of Faculty volunteering time to come and provide feedback to us."


Week 1, Day 3 of Devilling


"This AM was spent doing a review of our video recordings of our submissions with a member of Faculty. The rest of the day was spent learning about examination-in-chief and cross-examination techniques then doing a case analysis of a criminal scenario which devils will be performing tomorrow.


A lunchtime treat was a talk on Faculty etiquette!"


Week 1, Day 4 of Devilling


"Most of today was spent doing examination-in-chief and cross-examination in our criminal case scenario whilst being recorded and provided with feedback from our excellent instructors, including Bruce Langlands, Steve Love KC, Tim Haddow, David Massaro and Paul Nelson.


The afternoon was spent with Helen Robinson explaining the Faculty's very comprehensive Library and research system.


Today's lunchtime treat was a talk on mentoring by Morag Ross KC.


Tonight's task is to prepare submissions on behalf of the defence to present tomorrow AM.


Top tip from today is that cross-examination is like guerilla warfare. Get what you need and then STOP."


The end of Week 1, Devilling


"Friday marked the end of week 1 on the Foundation Course at the Faculty of Advocates – and what a week it’s been! Going into a highly structured day full of workshops, presentations, case analysis exercises and reviews has not been easy but it has been a lot of fun.


Credit goes to our Director, and Deputy Director of Training, Hugh Olson and Gillian Ross as well as the wonderful team who make everything run so smoothly behind the scenes of our training.


Our cohort was encouraged this week by how many members of Faculty, both new and very experienced, have taken time out to provide us with feedback, guidance, or inspiration during our training. I can’t think of another profession where future competitors provide you with their trade secrets openly – it’s a testament to the collegiality of the Bar.


Friday was spent making submissions with our instructors (while being recorded of course!) for the Crown/Defence following our examination-in-chief and cross-examination exercises. We then did a legal research exercise to become familiar with all the various research tools Faculty provides us with.


In the afternoon, we received feedback from other members of Faculty on our video recordings. Thanks to Scott Manson, Drew McKenzie, Patricia Comiskey and David Adams.


We ended the week by being welcomed into Faculty by the Dean of Faculty, Clerk, Treasurer and countless other members of Faculty who came along to the reception on Friday afternoon.


Takeaways from this week:


  • Watching yourself back on video is excruciatingly cringe-worthy but necessary. I’ve noticed many bad habits and tics which I have received feedback on and pointers on how to be better.

  • The Scottish Bar is full of incredible advocates who, despite being in direct competition with each other, will go above and beyond to support and encourage each other.


I’m looking forward to next week when we finally get a chance to do some civil drafting and questioning of witnesses in a mock personal injury case.


Finally, I’ve been delighted to see my inbox has been inundated with messages and requests to connect with people who are interested in coming to the Bar.


I hope you’ve enjoyed the first week of updates!"


Week 2, Day 1 of Devilling


"I finally felt in my element today when we did a case analysis exercise on a civil case (even if it was a personal injury case about a road-traffic incident!). This case is more complex than the criminal one and contains multiple statements, a draft memorial and an expert witness report. We will be running the case to a mock Proof on Wednesday.


Tonight's homework is to prepare the Summons.


The rest of the day was taken up by presentations on preparing Opinions (from James Mure KC), written pleadings (from our Director of Training), criminal trials from the point of view of the Crown (from Alex Prentice KC) and criminal trials from the point of view of the defence (from Murdo Macleod KC)."


Week 2, Day 2 of Devilling


"Today was mostly a day of drafting and prep. I finalised the Summons in the road-traffic case which was to be submitted this AM and at 11am, we were given a task of drafting Defences by 1pm. I then received very helpful feedback from David McNaughtan KC on tips to improve drafting skills.


Today's superb lunchtime talk was from Tim Alter from Alterledger Ltd about the practicalities of registering as self-employed, opening business bank accounts, having accounting software in place and what expenses can and cannot be reclaimed.


The rest of the day and tonight's homework involves prep for the mock-proof tomorrow. I am currently preparing examination-in-chief for the Pursuer's witnesses, cross-examination for the Defender and submissions for the Pursuer which will be presented in front of instructors tomorrow.


In the afternoon, we had another excellent talk from the Vice-Dean of Faculty on cross-examination in the context of criminal trials."


Week 2, Day 2 and Day 3 of Devilling


"Yesterday's update is being delivered today because quite honestly, I felt exhausted after a day in "Court". Yesterday, devils ran a mock-proof and were allocated to the Pursuer or Defender in a road-traffic collision case (I was for the Pursuer). This problem was more complex with the inclusion of an expert report, joint minute, productions and multiple witness statements - but it was still a lot of fun.


Each session was recorded as usual and we were assisted by instructors as usual (Jonathan Brodie KC, Bruce Langlands, Director and Deputy Director of Training).


Yesterday's lunchtime talk was from Antonia Welsh and Fergus Whyte from the Junior Bar Association of the Faculty of Advocates. We were told about upcoming opportunities and the potential for new events to network with more junior members of the Scottish and other UK and international bars.


Today is one of the first days where we have some downtime. We have three video reviews from our recorded performances yesterday and we have been given a number of ethical scenarios to discuss during our workshop tomorrow. I am going to try and use the time today to observe some advocacy in the Court of Session today and work from Parliament House."


The end of Week 2 of Devilling at the Faculty of Advocates.


"I can't believe I am already at the end of the second week of the Foundation Course! Yesterday, I was in the Inner House to watch the case of David Grier v The Chief Constable of Police Scotland and an appeal against conviction.


I then prepped for the ethics workshop which took place this AM. The scenario was full of both ethical and practical problems relating to late instructions, fee quotes, working with senior counsel and opponents which we discussed in break-out groups and then as a cohort.


Devils also received a comprehensive talk this morning from the Treasurer of Faculty, Ruth Crawford KC, on identifying and resolving ethical dilemmas.


We will run a full summary trial on Monday of next week. The papers for the exercise arrived yesterday afternoon and involve a charge of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner whilst brandishing a golf club.


A highlight of next week will also be our vulnerable witness sessions where real actors will be brought in to play the role of witnesses whilst we examine and cross-examine them.


Thank you to the staff at the Mackenzie Building (particularly James!) who have kept us topped up with a constant supply of coffee, tea, biscuits and fruit.


On a side note, I was delighted to see names being posted on the wall outside the Court building of a few ethnic minority lawyers who are matriculating as intrants and will eventually come to the Bar. Over the next couple of years, I have no doubt we will have an influx of more BAME lawyers to increase the diversity amongst the Scottish Bar. Faculty are assisting by way of providing scholarships which most practicing members contribute towards.


Once again, for those who have tuned in for this week's updates, I hope you've enjoyed them.


Have a restful weekend!"


Week 3, Day 1 of Devilling at the Faculty of Advocates


"With Week 3 now starting, I feel well into the rhythm of the Foundation Course. Most days we have workshops and talks with some overnight prep to do for the next day.


I spent the weekend preparing examination in chief, cross examination and submissions on behalf of the defence in a mock trial which was performed today. I spent most of the day on my feet (thankfully without the stress of being recorded this time!).


Although it was a busy day, today felt more relaxed, maybe because we're so used to the cut and thrust of things by now! We had a few funny moments during the performances today too since we took turns playing the witness/judge.


Today's lunchtime talk from Lady Carmichael on "thinking like a judge". It gave devils an excellent insight into how to interact with the judiciary and how we can help ease the burden on the decision-maker to get the result we want.


We also received extensive papers for the vulnerable witness exercise which we will be doing on Wednesday with real actors. I will review those tomorrow at which point we will also be getting a tour of the Advocates Library."


Week 3, Day 2 of Devilling at the Faculty of Advocates


"Part of today was spent outside the Mackenzie Building with a tour around the Advocates Library and the Parliament House building from Sara Berry. We also had an excellent talk this morning from the Keeper of the Library, Neil Mackenzie KC which included learning about the history of the library and the resources available to us. Did you know the original Library was supposed to be the National Library but the Faculty ran out of money at the end of what is now the Main Corridor? Me neither!


As I walked around the Library I was reminded about how privileged we are to work from the beautiful hub of the Scottish legal profession. (Photo of the Library is from The Scotsman).


Today's lunchtime talk, in advance of tomorrow, was on vulnerable witnesses. We've been told to expect the unexpected when dealing with the actors tomorrow!


The rest of today will be preparing examination and cross of the complainer in the rape case scenario which we have been given.


We have also got papers for Thursday's drafting and case-analysis workshop for a professional negligence case involving a solicitor."


Photo credit: The Scotsman


Week 3, Day 3 of Devilling at Faculty of Advocates


"What. A. Day.


Probably the most stressful day so far of the Foundation Course! Professional actors played the role of a complainer in a rape commission of evidence and devils were tasked with examining and cross-examining the actors.


The actors took on different personas with us all. Sometimes they appeared rude, sometimes obnoxious, sometimes visibly upset and sometimes angry. It was an eye-opening lesson to reign in and manage vulnerable witnesses. Just when I thought I had the swing of things, the actor would refuse to answer questions, or do something completely off-piste like asking *me* question to throw us off. Sometimes they would play with their jewellery or mess about on their phone.


Today was therefore mostly about reactive advocacy and being able to go off-script depending on the witness.


I have just finished deciding 4 football disciplinary appeals this evening as part of my role on the The Football Association's National Serious Case Panel and will now start on tonight's homework which is reading papers in the professional negligence case which we are analysing tomorrow. We will also be drafting Summons and Defences in the case tomorrow which will be reviewed by the instructors."


Week 3, Days 4 and 5 of Devilling at Faculty of Advocates


"Yesterday was another very intensive day. We had two case analysis sessions to consider the solicitor's negligence case scenario from the Pursuer and Defender's perspectives. My group was assisted by Jonathan Brodie KC and Gavin MacColl KC.


We then had tight turnaround times to draft the Summons and the Defences for submission. I have also been allocated to act on behalf of the Defender for the rest of the scenarios in this case.


We have also been given further papers to prepare for a Procedure Roll and a Proof at the end of next week in this case. The Procedure Roll hearing will consider an argument that omissions of advice by the solicitor were never within the scope of his duty.


Today we have a virtual day. Devils have had a presentation on adjustments and amendments of pleadings. The rest of the day will be taken up with some preparation for next week and video reviews for the drafting exercises we did yesterday.


It's quite strange to be writing this post at the end of Week 3(!). It still only feels like yesterday we started the Foundation Course. Our cohort is now well-acquainted with each other and I feel like I have made some genuinely good friends for life.


Pictured below is the entrance to the Mackenzie Building where we are permanently based for the Foundation Course and the main room within which we gather for exercises and presentations/talks. The layout changes depending on what we are doing. We will be back in the Mackenzie Building for future courses and assessments.


Because there are 11 devils, we normally split into about 2 groups for most exercises and there are other working spaces within the building. Earlier this week, when we did the criminal trial, we got to use the mock courtroom upstairs.


Photo credit: Bilaal Shabbir

With evenings getting earlier and earlier, I find myself leaving and coming home when it's still dark outside. A lot of the time, if I'm working on prep for the next day, I tend to spend the evening in the cosy Advocates Library in Parliament House. Even though I'm only 3 weeks in, I feel like I've started to establish some good routines.


I think I may have mentioned this previously but in the Lower Corridor, Faculty have a "quiet room" which is unused much of the time since most members are still working from home. I have brought in my own prayer mat from home and use the room as a prayer room when needed. I'm very grateful to have these sorts of spaces in a building I'm going to spend the rest of my career in!

Photo credit: Bilaal Shabbir

I've also had many more connection requests and general positive vibes from those who are enjoying the regular updates and from those who are thinking of coming to the Bar in Scotland. So far, I can honestly say I have learned more about courtroom advocacy in these last 3 weeks than I had in 8 years of practice.


For those who have tuned in this week for updates, thank you. I think I will take some well-needed rest this weekend and drink many Irn Bru's!"


Photo credit: Bilaal Shabbir

Week 4, Day 1 of Devilling at Faculty of Advocates


"We were eased into this week with two presentations; one from the Director on negotiation tactics and the second from Gerry Moynihan KC on conducting Procedure Roll discussions. The rest of today was free to prepare for the advocacy workshops this week.


Tomorrow and Wednesday, devils will be conducting negotiation exercises.


I also spent this evening recording the first episode in the new Hey Legal series of "Devilling at the Scottish Bar" with Alasdair Thomson and Edith Forrest where I talk about the pre-devilling requirements and what life as a devil is like. Details will follow in due course for those interested in coming to the Scottish Bar!"


Week 4, Day 2 of Devilling at Faculty of Advocates


"This morning we had a fascinating talk from John Sturrock KC on negotiations, particularly challenging our assumptions and taking moments to reflect during discussions. Devils were also educated on common mistakes which lawyers make during negotiations.


The rest of the day was taken up with two negotiation exercises, one which involved a school and an IT contractor negotiating a quote for fees and the second exercise was a personal injury pre-trial meeting (where I was acting for the insurers).


This evening I participated in the October social for Hey Legal which was live-streamed on YouTube where I had the privilege to discuss devilling with Thomas Leonard Ross KC and Edith Forrest.


The rest of this evening will be work on the Procedure Roll discussion which we are due to perform on Thursday."


Week 4, Day 3 of Devilling at Faculty of Advocates


"Today we conducted two difficult negotiations. The first was a road traffic accident involving a third party which made the dynamics of reaching a settlement trickier than just with two parties. I played the role of the insurer client and got to see the different negotiation tactics and techniques of my colleagues.


The second negotiation exercise involved an employment law breach of contract scenario where the focus was on much more than just money.


The rest of today and tomorrow involve preparation for the Procedure Roll discussions which we will be presenting tomorrow with instructors.


This has definitely been the most difficult task to prep for since we are going to be on our feet presenting for about 30 minutes tomorrow.


So far this week has gone by in the blink of an eye. The rest of this week will be spent on the solicitor's professional negligence case doing the Procedure Roll and then the Proof on Friday."


Week 4, Day 4 of Devilling at Faculty of Advocates


"Today was finally the day we presented our cases on the Procedure Roll on the solicitor's negligence case. There were complex arguments of causation and scope of duty.


It's the longest we've been on our feet so far - around 45 mins of being questioned, challenged and pushed by the instructors who acted as judges. I was first up and despite all my worries, I really enjoyed being thrown off script and making my submissions!


Thanks to Alasdair McKenzie KC for putting me through my paces!


The rest of the afternoon and some of this evening was spent preparing for the proof which we are presenting in this case tomorrow.


This week in particular has gone through in a flash. Tomorrow marks the end of Week 4!"


The end of Week 4 of Devilling at Faculty of Advocates


"I know I say this every week but this week has flown by quicker than all the others. I can't believe next week is the final week of the Foundation Course before I am let loose to spend time with my Devilmasters.


This week has also been the toughest one so far. Most of our time was spent working on the professional negligence case. We initially presented a procedure roll discussion which was the longest time on our feet so far (circa 45 mins). Yesterday, we did our examination in chief and cross-examination (also circa 45 mins).


I'm starting to feel much more confident being on my feet for long periods of time and also more comfortable being taken off-script (whether by a judge asking questions or a witness not giving me the answers I want!). I think my key takeaway this week is the importance of knowing the papers inside out which can then let you be reactive in your approach.


I also feel more confident in my ability to negotiate cases to a conclusion without the use of litigation after the workshops we did this week. I got to act on behalf of Pursuers, Defenders and saw the view from a client too.


Next week we will be presenting final submissions in the professional negligence case. Yesterday we were given papers in a new High Court supply of drugs case. We are running a full jury trial on Wednesday in that case. This is the last new case we will get on the Foundation Course. Much to my surprise, I've really taken to enjoying criminal work a whole lot more than I expected!


One final tip for this week. Despite not being a massive fan of Apple products, I was encouraged and persuaded to buy an iPad Pro (the 12.9 inch one) and an Apple Pencil to make things easier to present whilst on my feet. Again, despite my reservations, I have been surprised at how effective and intuitive I have found it. I already have a touch-screen Lenovo laptop and I was hesitant to spend more on an iPad than I had on my laptop. I can honestly say it has been one of my best investments.


On the advice of one of my Devilmasters, I purchased iAnnotate and I am able to have multiple PDF opens with the ability to mark them up quickly. In the Proof that I ran, this meant I was able to have my questions in front of me whilst also being able to switch between productions and take a quick note of answers with my Apple Pencil. I am still getting used to the Apple workflow and operating system but I am very glad to have invested in this piece of tech. In addition, it now lets me have a third wireless screen while working in the Library (I also have a touchscreen Asus portable monitor which I connect by USB-C).


I'm signing out now for the rest of this week to prepare for Monday's submissions and to read the new case papers. Thank you for all your continued encouragement and kind words - the overwhelming support and motivation I receive from connections new and old is amazing to see!"


Week 5, Day 1 of Devilling at Faculty of Advocates


"This week is the last week of the Foundation Course where we deal with mock scenarios and try out different advocacy techniques. From next week, I will be let loose into the real world with my Devilmaster to work on real cases with real people!


We kicked off this week with a 30-minute slot to present our concluding submissions on the professional negligence case we have been working on for the last week or so. Weirdly, I've grown quite fond of the case given how long we've been committed to it! It was not easy. We were probed and thrown off-script and challenged like in all previous appearances.


The afternoon was spent doing three video reviews with Steve Love KC and Mark Lindsay KC on my examination in chief, cross-examination and submissions.


This evening is going to be spent preparing for the case analysis exercise in the supply of drugs case we are looking at tomorrow morning.


We have been told on Friday, to mark the end of the Foundation Course, we are celebrating with pizza! There is light at the end of the tunnel!"


Week 5, Day 2 and 3 of Devilling at Faculty of Advocates


"It's been an intense couple of days! Yesterday was a morning spent doing a case analysis exercise with the Director of Training on the new High Court criminal case we had papers for. We had been allocated sides and I acted for the defence. I spent the rest of the day preparing cross-examination of the police officer and another witness as well as examination in chief of my client.


I spent yesterday evening participating in the Faculty Halloween Quiz which took place in the beautiful Reading Room within the Advocates Library (pictured below courtesy of Arnot Manderson Advocates).


The Reading Room holds a special place in the history and tradition of Faculty but it's a particularly special place for devils for two reasons because (1) it is the room in which devils are formally admitted as members of the Faculty of Advocates which is part 1 of the admission ceremony and (2) devils are not normally permitted in the Reading Room until they have called as Advocates. There are not many events that take place within the Reading Room so it was a privilege to be there.


Today we conducted our performances in the presence of instructors (but thankfully without being video recorded!). We then finished up our final performance by conducting a jury speech in front of our peers. It felt very strange but I felt incredibly lucky to be a part of an extremely talented group of people whom I am lucky to call my colleagues!


The Foundation Course ends on Friday. Tomorrow and Friday will consist of more presentations (including from a retired Inner House judge) and reviews to finish up this part of the classroom learning process.


From Monday, we will be shadowing our Devilmasters for several months until the next substantive set of classroom exercises in January."


Photo credit: Arnot Manderson Advocates

Week 5, Day 4 of Devilling at Faculty of Advocates


"Today was a very mellow day as we near the end of the Foundation Course. We started this morning with a discussion with the IT department on tips to improve our working from home setups and advice on IT equipment to buy.


We were then very lucky to have Lord Eassie speak to the devils about effective legal writing. We went through various examples of good and bad written pleadings and written arguments.


We finished off the day with the Director of Training giving us hints and tips on how to improve our virtual advocacy. It was a session full of ideas like how to position webcams, control lighting, engage the judge and organise witnesses.


Tomorrow is the final day of the Foundation Course and I look forward to celebrating with the other devils with some pizza!"


End of Week 5 of Devilling at Faculty of Advocates


"That's a wrap! After years of preparing myself for the start of Devilling, I am finally at the end of the 5-week Foundation Course.


The last 5 weeks have been some of the most intensive weeks of my career. Most days we were on our feet doing mock trials/proofs, examination of witnesses, submissions or speeches whilst fitting in presentations and case analysis exercises. Most nights we had homework to do to prepare for the next day.


We conducted a variety of cases including summary trials, jury trials, a road traffic personal injury case and a solicitor’s professional negligence case. A few things have stood out about the last 5 weeks:

  1. The quality of the training and the materials has been unparalleled. I’ve said it before but I have learnt more about advocacy in the last 5 weeks than I learnt over 8 years in practice.

  2. I am still astounded by the number of colleagues at the Bar (both junior and senior), who take the time to act as instructors or to help provide feedback at video reviews. I had heard about collegiality at the Bar but over the last 5 weeks, I experienced it for myself.

  3. Whenever I bumped into a member of Faculty in the Library or outside Parliament House, they were genuinely enthusiastic for us, helpful and unfailingly kind. Members make much time for the new generation of advocates coming to the Scottish Bar;

  4. I realised how much of a support network the rest of the devils are. The ability to sit and chat things over, to present before your peers, to discuss ideas and what things worked/didn’t work was incredibly useful.

As a solicitor, I felt like I was spinning a million plates. During Devilling, I’ve had the ability to try new techniques out, think about things from a different perspective, break bad habits and form good ones instead.


The next few months of this process will be an opportunity to shadow my Principal Devilmaster; whether they are in Court, in consultations, drafting pleadings or writing Opinions. I have one principal Devilmaster, two civil subsidiary Devilmasters and one criminal Devilmaster. We will be back in the classroom in January 2023 before the assessments in February. We have a final 2 weeks in the classroom in May 2023 before the calling ceremony takes place at the end of June 2023. Throughout the rest of the time, I will be spending time with my Devilmasters.


From now on, I will still be writing updates but they won’t be as frequent as they have been. For confidentiality, I also won’t be able to write about the specific details of cases I am assisting my Devilmasters with.


However, I know many of you follow these updates because you’re interested in learning about this process from start to finish and I will let you know generally about the type of cases I am involved in.


Thank you all for your support!"


Credit: Diary extracts re-posted with permission originally written by Bilaal Shabbir on Linkedin and edited by Nadia Cook


Bilaal's Linkedin profile can be found here.


Bilaal did his LLB part-time at Edinburgh Napier University (2014 – 2018) and his Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Edinburgh (2018 – 2019). From 2014 - 2021, Bilaal practised at a boutique litigation law firm in Edinburgh working his way up from a paralegal to Head of Court of Session Litigation. He had a significant judicial review and general dispute resolution practise encompassing, immigration, professional negligence, commercial disputes, oil and gas, and adoption. He then spent a period with a Band 1 rated team at a leading international law firm defending professional negligence claims on behalf of accountants, brokers, engineers, surveyors and construction professionals on behalf of some of the UK’s biggest insurers. His litigation practice included contractual disputes, property litigation, shipping, insolvency and debt recovery. He was also involved in advising and representing a core participant in the Scottish Hospitals Inquiry. In the summer of 2022, Bilaal was the Lead Solicitor on the EUSS Advice Project for the Legal Services Agency where he provided second-line advice to volunteer organisations on complex EUSS applications.

In 2022, Bilaal commenced his journey to the Scottish Bar and became a Devil at the Faculty of Advocates (the equivalent of a pupil barrister in England). Bilaal is also currently a Consultant with Dickinson Gleeson, a boutique Jersey litigation firm where he specialises in trust litigation, asset recovery and commercial dispute resolution. He acts for ultra HNWIs, law firms, settlors, trustees and international insolvency practitioners.

He is currently a tutor on the LLB and Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Edinburgh and has delivered guest lectures at Edinburgh Napier University. He is an author for Free Movement, one of the UK’s leading immigration law blogs.

Bilaal is also an experienced decision-maker and currently sits on the FA’s National Serious Case Panel where he judges all types of serious disciplinary cases within grassroots football.

In 2022, he was also appointed as a Commissioner of the Jersey Appointments Commission where he helps oversee the recruitment of Jersey States’ employees and appointees to States supported or related bodies. His role is to ensure that selection is fair, efficient and conducted in accordance with best practice according to the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013.

He has organised and chaired some of the largest legal conferences in Scotland. He regularly trains and presents on various topics to the legal profession including on litigation procedure and practice. He has presented training in affiliation with the Legal Services Agency (LSA), Hey Legal, Central Law Training (CLT Scotland) and HJT Training.

He is an Affiliate Member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and a member of the Contentious Trusts Association (ConTrA). He recently completed a Diploma in Islamic Finance with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).


Views expressed in guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of The Scottish Lawyer.



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