It is important that government plans to enhance the quality of criminal defence advocacy in publicly funded cases “should not be designed around one particular professional group”, the Legal Services Board has warned. The comments can be read as coded concern that some of the proposals seem weighted in favour of barristers.
The first registration deadline for the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) has been extended again, the Joint Advocacy Group announced today. However, it will not be delaying the scheme to await the outcome of the Jeffrey review of criminal advocacy.
David Wolfe QC of Matrix Chambers argues: We will never get close to having an “independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession” (which section 1 of the Legal Services Act 2007 sets as a regulatory objective for the regulators) if advocates providing a high-quality service to their clients remain undermined by others who are not even competent. Let’s not fool ourselves: we all know lawyers – including barristers, and including criminal advocates – who are just not up to it (perhaps they never were, perhaps they have lost their touch) at all levels, from magistrates’ court practitioners to QCs.
Criminal barristers are preparing to boycott the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA), but only if there is a pledge from counsel outside those circuits affected first not to step in and take the work.
The Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) will start in September, nine months later than planned, it was announced yesterday. The revised timetable was released just hours before heads of chambers met to discuss their response to QASA.
More time to obtain judicial assessments and greater recognition for QCs have emerged as key amendments to the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates, leaving some of the most contentious aspects – such as plea-only advocates – unchanged.
A final consultation on the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates has been amended at the last minute to take into account objections raised by the board of the Bar Standards Board.
Barristers and solicitors are at loggerheads over whether plea-only advocates need to undergo judicial evaluation as part of the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates. If a resolution cannot be found, then the whole scheme could fall apart.
The controversial Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) will now go live in April 2012, it emerged last week. We can also reveal that contingency plans have been drawn up for the judiciary not playing its expected role in QASA.
The launch of the controversial quality assurance scheme for criminal advocates is likely to be delayed, the Joint Advocacy Group has announced. “Some adjustments” to the scheme are likely “to ensure that there are not unintended consequences”.