The Bar Standards (BSB) has promised to research “the need for other quality assurance schemes and/or accreditation schemes” so the public can have confidence in barristers.
Regulators of the legal profession will have to gather and publish evidence of where lawyers are falling down on quality – including information on disciplinary action – following a wide-ranging review by the Legal Services Board.
There is evidence that the quality of legal advice is “too often sub-standard”, meaning the safety net for consumers needs to be enhanced, the Legal Services Consumer Panel said today as it launched its work programme for the next year.
Divisions over quality assurance for advocates have deepened after solicitors were advised not to take part in a Bar Standards Board survey on the issue, while specialist Bar associations have been urged to oppose QASA as well.
Moves are afoot to examine whether will-writing, probate and estate administration should be re-classified as a reserved activity and brought within the sole preserve of the legal profession. The review is conducted amidst a background of concerns about the quality of advice being received by consumers, particularly by those outside of the ‘legal’ framework.
QCs should lose their title if they fall below an acceptable standard, the Legal Services Consumer Panel suggested today in a report that calls on legal bodies that run voluntary quality schemes to improve checks on lawyers’ continuing competence so as to boost consumer confidence.
The role of price comparison and customer review websites are set to come under scrutiny from the Legal Services Board as part of efforts to help consumers judge the technical quality of the legal advice they receive. It will also consider whether a “badge” would distinguish regulated and non-regulated providers.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board and ILEX Professional Standards have been forced to change the name of their advocacy quality scheme after they were threatened with legal action.
Advocates seeking accreditation under the quality assurance for advocates (QAA) scheme will be allowed to opt for an assessment centre route rather than judges’ evaluations alone, under new proposals being debated today.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority could “mystery shop” conveyancing firms to check whether their costs information and publicity about charges are misleading, it has revealed. At the same time, the Legal Services Board announced that it is to consider a major review of conveyancing.