The launch of the Quality Assurance Scheme for criminal advocates has been postponed until April 2012. The original launch date was December this year.
Earlier this month the Joint Advocacy Group (JAG), made up of the SRA, BSB and ILEX Professional Standards, said the scheme was being reconsidered and the consultation on the plans would be extended by a month until the beginning of November (see solicitorsjournal.com, 7 October 2011).
In a statement the JAG said it had agreed “a programme of further work so that the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates in criminal cases can be implemented in stages” from April 2012.
“The new approach is designed to ensure that the final scheme protects the public interest across the wide variety of criminal advocacy practices, does not have any unintended consequences for those practices, and maintains momentum.”
The JAG added that the scheme would be rolled out by areas, but there would be an opportunity to make changes to it to “prevent any unnecessary exclusion of certain patterns of practice”.
The Law Society and Solicitors Association of Higher Court Advocates are reported to be unhappy about the importance in the scheme of judicial evaluation.
Des Hudson, chief executive of the society, described it as having “significant flaws”.