24 March 2018

Barristers’ regulator asks QCA to consider QC re-accreditation

23 March 2015

The barristers' regulator, the Bar Standards Board (BSB), has today formally asked that Queen's Counsel Appointments (QCA) considers developing a system of re-accrediting criminal silks.

The move follows a previous announcement after the regulator's January board meeting in which the BSB said it would explore other ways to protect the public from poor standards of advocacy.

The potential for QCA to play a role in the continuous quality assurance of QCs was previously proposed by the BSB back in March 2013 - in the regulator's response to a number of comments raised during the final consultation for the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA).

Explaining the rationale behind the decision, Director of Supervision for the Bar Standards Board, Oliver Hanmer, said: "As the barristers' regulator it is our job to set up systems that safeguard clients from those advocates who are simply not as good as they should be, no matter their level of experience. We are resolutely committed to achieving this aim.

"QASA is devised to assess minimum standards of competence that advocates should be able to demonstrate so as to practise safely and competently in criminal trials, which, by their nature, can have serious consequences for often very vulnerable people. Criminal barristers are appointed QC because they consistently operate at the highest standards of advocacy. And, while we firmly believe it is not in the public interest to exempt QCs from quality assurance, we think QCA - should they accept our request - may be better placed than we are to deliver this process."

Should QCA accept the request, the design of the QC re-accreditation scheme would be at their discretion. The BSB would then consider what impact the QCA re-accreditation scheme had on QASA.


Notes to editors

About the Bar Standards Board
Our mission is to regulate the Bar so as to promote high standards of practice and safeguard clients and the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t

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