News releases

Changes to QASA proposals being considered

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Arrangements for the launch of the new quality assurance scheme for criminal advocates, QASA, are being reconsidered in the light of issues being raised in the consultation period, the Joint Advocacy Group (JAG) announced today.

This is likely to involve some adjustments to the scheme to ensure that there are not unintended consequences, and a postponement of the full launch. The current consultation on the scheme, which was to have closed on 7 October, will now be extended to 7 November.

The consultation is expected to attract a number of responses from a range of organisations, representing criminal advocates.

Initial proposals for the scheme were agreed by the three leading regulators of legal advocacy: the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and ILEX Professional Standards (IPS). The consultation was launched on 12 August 2011, with plans to implement the proposals from December 2011.

A Joint Advocacy Group spokesperson said: "We remain very committed to the introduction of a single set of standards for criminal advocates as soon as possible, but our priority is to develop a scheme which protects the public interest, while being both proportionate and consistent. A number of valid issues on how the scheme can operate most effectively have been raised during the consultation period.

"As responsible, public interest regulators, we must take the time needed to look at these in more detail, to ensure that the scheme meets our public interest objectives."


Note to editors

For further information contact:

SRA: Lee Shrimpton, Media Relations Officer, 01926 487154

BSB: Rachel Podolak, Press Officer, 0207 611 1409

IPS: Paul Hutchinson, Head Public Relations and Press Officer, 01234 845710

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