Moorhead: Law Society wrong to say there is no evidence of poor-quality advocacy

Print This Post

By Legal Futures

7 June 2011


Moorhead: unparalleled levels of failure

The Law Society is wrong to suggest there is no evidence of a quality problem in criminal advocacy – according to one of the academics who produced it.

Yesterday, Chancery Lane complained that no evidence had been supplied to support the assertion that advocates are falling below the appropriate standards that justify introduction of the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA).

But Professor Richard Moorhead, deputy head of Cardiff Law School, was part of a team that in 2009 produced a report on the Legal Services Commission’s pilot of a similar quality assurance scheme. He said the findings justified judicial concern about advocacy standards.

Some of the failure rates were at a level “unparalleled in any assessment of lawyer quality in which I have been involved in the last 20 years”, Professor Moorhead recalled.

He added: “These required either a regulatory response or further investigation. The regulators appear to accept the need for a regulatory response.”

Professor Moorhead agreed with the society that “a better quantification of the risk” would have been helpful, but added: “I do not recall any point at which they have seriously argued for that by, for instance, offering to help fund it.

“Proper research on quality is expensive and it is easier to take pot shots from the sidelines, particularly when the ‘representative’ side of the profession’s agenda is, for understandable but I believe misguided reasons, in keeping the cost of regulation as low as possible.”

He suggested that the regulators had instead seen “a reputational hole for the professions opening up and decided to stop digging and start erecting some fences”.

Tags: , , , ,



Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

All comments will be moderated before posting. Please see our Terms and Conditions

Legal Futures Blog

Are you prepared for the ‘must do’ period?

Claire Smith

Are you feeling the effects of being back at work yet? Holidays are over for most and we are instead daydreaming of the summer gone… I can still smell sun tan lotion. But the autumn is now upon us. And with it, the subconscious knowledge that a busy period is around the corner. This is the watershed moment in our working year that occurs in September: when the holidays are over and everyone gears up for the return to work rested, refreshed, with a ‘must do’ attitude.

September 20th, 2017