SRA Handbook

Introduction to the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (Crime) Regulations

Version 21 of the Handbook was published on 6 December 2018. For more information, please click "History" above.

Introduction to the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (Crime) Regulations

Preamble

Authority: Made on 26 July 2013 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority Board under sections 2, 79 and 80 of the Solicitors Act 1974 with the approval of the Legal Services Board under paragraph 19 of Schedule 4 to the Legal Services Act 2007

Date: These regulations came into force on 30 September 2013

Replacing: SRA Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (Crime) Notification Regulations 2012

Regulating: The practice of criminal advocacy in England and Wales

Overview

Outcomes-focused regulation concentrates on providing positive outcomes which when achieved will benefit and protect clients and the public. These regulations aim to ensure that solicitors and RELs who want to conduct criminal advocacy in England and Wales are competent to do so.

Advocacy is part of an effective justice system. Solicitors and RELs are granted rights of audience in all courts upon qualification/registration but must, in those proceedings which fall under the definition of criminal advocacy, exercise those rights of audience only where accredited by the SRA under these regulations.

The QASA, to which these regulations give effect so far as solicitors and RELs are concerned, is designed so that all advocates in the criminal courts have undergone a process of accreditation to ensure they are only dealing with cases within their competence and that they are subject to assessment and independent monitoring of their performance against agreed criteria.

The intention is to give the public confidence that those conducting criminal advocacy have met appropriate standards and adhere to the relevant Principles.

The Principles

These regulations form part of the Handbook, in which the 10 mandatory Principles are all-pervasive. They apply to all those we regulate and underpin all aspects of practice. Outcomes relevant to these regulations are listed beneath the Principles.

You must:

  1. uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice;
  2. act with integrity;
  3. not allow your independence to be compromised;
  4. act in the best interests of each client;
  5. provide a proper standard of service to your clients;
  6. behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services;
  7. comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner;
  8. run your business or carry out your role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial and risk management principles;
  9. run your business or carry out your role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity; and
  10. protect client money and assets.

Outcomes

The outcomes which apply to these regulations are that:

O(QS1)

you have achieved the standard of competence required of advocates conducting criminal advocacy;

O(QS2)

you demonstrate this competence through independent assessment;

O(QS3)

you act so that clients, the judiciary and the wider public, have confidence that this has been demonstrated.

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