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Regulators reconsider QASA

7 October 2011

The Joint Advocacy Group has said it will reconsider plans for the new Quality Assurance Scheme for Criminal Advocates (QASA).

The three regulators which make up the group, the SRA, the BSB and ILEX, had already approved the scheme and sent it to the Legal Services Board for approval.

However, a spokesman for the SRA said yesterday that changes to the scheme were being considered and consultation on the plans, due to close today, would be extended by a month.

The spokesman said it was likely that the launch of QASA, scheduled for December, would be postponed.

Des Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, said today that he was delighted that JAG had listened to its arguments.

He said the plans had “significant flaws to the extent that it could cause serious and unnecessary damage to the practices of many competent solicitors and to the administration of justice”.

Hudson went on: “The Law Society has never been against the principle of a proportionate and balanced quality assurance of advocacy scheme.

“We believe that, properly implemented, it could provide an important opportunity for solicitor advocates to demonstrate their skills and for the public to identify the best advocates.”

The LSC’s suggestion that advocates’ fees should be linked to their levels under QASA was dropped last month after a furious reaction from the Bar.

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