News Release

More than 10,000 solicitors indicate they will be seeking criminal advocacy accreditation

More than 10,000 solicitors across England and Wales have completed the SRA’s notification process as the first step in becoming registered to be a criminal advocate in the new Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (Criminal).

Over the next month, the SRA will be analysing the data received to help plan and communicate the anticipated roll-out of the Scheme from early January 2013. In the meantime, 40 responses to date have been received to the current fourth and final consultation, which closes on 9 October.

These responses will be considered in full prior to final recommendations being made to the SRA Board. Following this the SRA Board is expected to approve the final Scheme fully at the end of November before it is submitted to the Legal Services Board for final approval in December. Once approved, the Scheme, which has been jointly developed by the SRA, BSB, IPS (ILEX Professional Standards), is scheduled to launch on January 14 2013 in three phases:

  • Phase 1 - the Midland and Western circuits
  • Phase 2 - South Eastern circuit in June 2013
  • Phase 3 - North, North East and Wales/Chester circuits in September 2013 where all solicitor advocates who wish to practise Criminal Advocacy will be required to register with the SRA.

Richard Collins, SRA Executive Director, said: “We are encouraged by the positive response we’ve had to the notification exercise; it will provide some interesting new data on access to legal services as well as giving an indication of the number of solicitor advocates intending to register.

“We will also soon be considering the responses to the consultation and would urge any individuals or organisations who wish to contribute their views to do so before the deadline of 9 October. In addition, meetings have been held with a range of stakeholders to ensure we have taken on board as wide a range of views and comments about the proposals as possible. These will be included in our report to the Board.

“We are now just a few months away from launching a scheme which will ensure a common standard of competence for advocates which we feel must be in the best interests of consumers, as well as the profession as a whole.”

The SRA will be organising a number of events for solicitors interested joining the Scheme in advance of the regionalised launches – further details will be announced nearer the time.

Further information on QASA is available from www.sra.org.uk/qasa.

 

Note to editors

Solicitors and registered European lawyers who wish to undertake criminal advocacy need to complete the SRA’s notification form before the scheme launches in January 2013. Solicitors unable to meet this deadline should email qasa@sra.org.uk.  
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