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SRA to seek more information about solicitor advocates’ working practices for QASA

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is taking the initiative to ask solicitors with higher rights of audience to complete a questionnaire on the way in which they exercise their higher rights, to feed in to the proposed Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA).

The questionnaire, which has been designed in co-operation with key stakeholder groups - including the Law Society - is being sent out to all higher courts advocates with crime or crime/civil higher rights of audience this week (week commencing 7 November).

The questionnaire can be completed and returned by post to BMG Research using the reply paid envelope provided, or completed on-line at using the unique reference number in the covering letter. The closing date for responses is 21 November.

The responses will feed into further evidence gathering which is being conducted to find out more about the types of work solicitor advocates undertake, its nature and extent, as well as personal profile data which will be used in the analysis.

Yve Schelhaas, the SRA's Director of Education and Training, said: "The recent forum we held on QASA and the consultation on the proposals aired some key issues around the detail of the scheme. We have listened to the views expressed and as the main regulator of the solicitors' profession, we wanted to gather more evidence on solicitor advocates' work so that we can identify any factors that would tend to disadvantage them in relation to the Scheme.

"We hope that solicitors with higher rights will use the opportunity to feed back. The questionnaire should only take a matter of 15 minutes, and will provide some very valuable information for the Bar Standards Board, ILEX Professional Standards and ourselves to consider in formulating the design and structure of the final scheme."  


Note to editors

The proposed scheme is designed on the basis of four levels. The levels are mapped to complexity of work - level one applies to advocacy in the magistrates' courts and level four applies to the most complex cases in the Crown Court. A single set of advocacy standards applies across the four levels. Levels are differentiated by performance indicators designed to define expectations of advocacy performance at each level. 
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