News release

Technical change good news for ensuring standards in advocacy

A technical change agreed today by our Board helps pave the way for the introduction of a system that will ensure solicitors acting as advocates in criminal cases deliver consistently high standards.

Amends to the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) were proposed after legal clearance was given by the High Court. The decision included suggestions for operational changes to aid the smooth-running of the scheme.

The Joint Advocacy Group, of which we are a partner, consulted on the proposals at the end of last year. Our Board agreed to all but one of the amends at its January meeting, and has now approved the final change to the appeals process.

QASA will introduce a common set of advocacy standards against which the competence of all advocates can be measured and judged. All advocates will need to demonstrate their competence against all of the standards to gain their QASA accreditation.

Enid Rowlands, SRA Chair, said: "Criminal cases are often traumatic and stressful, with significant consequences for all those involved. It is important that proper assurance is in place so that the public, the profession and the judiciary can be confident that solicitors acting as advocates continue to provide high levels of service.

"This operational change will support QASA to provide that assurance. We are looking forward to working closely with JAG and others to bring in the scheme later this year.”

The change brought our appeal process in line with that of our Joint Advocacy Group partner the, Bar Standards Board, something that was suggested by a number of respondents to the consultation. JAG will now submit this to the Legal Services Board.

Further information on QASA is available here:

Go to the QASA page

Details on its implementation will be made available in due course.