Plans to grow a criminal legal aid firm that has just received its alternative business structure licence – potentially through external investment – are on hold pending the outcome of the government’s current reform plans, according to its head of legal.
The Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates is illogical in its treatment of QCs and does not serve the public interest by allowing solicitors to act as plea-only advocates, the chairman of the Bar Council has argued. The claims come as the bodies representing criminal law solicitors and barristers united in calling for a halt to the scheme.
The Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) is unlawful, unnecessary and unworkable and will be judicially reviewed if it goes ahead, criminal law barristers will warn this week in a response to the final consultation seen by this website.
Our regular news round-up covers the Law Society bowing to pressure over criminal litigation accreditation scheme plans, banks signing up to a new probate protocol, QualitySolicitors’ charitable partnership with Barnardo’s, the College of Law adding a Masters in Law to the LPC, an IP firm diversifying, and sluggish growth at the top firms.
A firm in Plymouth has become the first criminal law practice to become an alternative business structure as the pace of new licences from the Solicitors Regulation Authority continues to step up.
The Law Society’s criminal litigation accreditation scheme is redundant, has no influence on clients and plans for reaccreditation are strongly opposed by the profession, the body representing criminal law solicitors has claimed.
The criminal Bar is ready to strike in protest at the level of fees paid to both prosecution and defence advocates, a survey by the Criminal Bar Association has revealed. Some 89% are prepared to take “direct lawful action”, such as a refusal to attend court.
The Law Society’s criminal litigation accreditation scheme has no value to specialist solicitors and plans for reaccreditation at a time of huge pressure on the sector has “no support”, their representative body has warned.
Six criminal law barristers have set up a chambers structured as a partnership and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Artesian Law is already looking to expand due to the number of instructions it has received.
National criminal law firm Tuckers could look to form consortia with other practices to bid for legal aid contracts, it has revealed. The firm has recently begun offering other criminal law firms access to its back-office services in a bid to generate income, and save costs for smaller practices.