16 October 2018

Court of Appeal dismisses legal challenge to quality assurance scheme for advocates (QASA)

7 October 2014

An appeal against the High Court's decision to dismiss a judicial review of the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) has today been rejected, on all grounds, by the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal has found that the scheme is lawful, does not interfere with the independence of the advocate or the judiciary, and that the Legal Services Board's decision to approve it was neither disproportionate nor unreasonable.

Director-General of the Bar Standards Board (BSB), Dr Vanessa Davies, said: "We are pleased that the Court of Appeal has decided to reject all the claimants' challenges to the lawfulness of QASA. Our Board will be reviewing the judgment and will carefully consider our next steps in relation to the Scheme. We will be able to make further announcements about this sometime after our Board have met on October 23 2014.

"QASA has always been about protecting the public from the minority of advocates who are not as good as they should be. In the words of the Master of the Rolls, 'the whole point of an assessment scheme is to weed out incompetent practitioners.' No profession in the public sphere is immune from quality assurance and it is paramount that victims, witnesses and defendants can expect the same standards of competence from all advocates working in the criminal courts.

"We acknowledge the concerns about the scheme that have been put forward during the JR but the Court has made very clear that these concerns are unfounded and that the scheme has appropriate safeguards, not least a comprehensive review after two years of operation. The BSB will of course act quickly to clarify its appeals policy taking full account of what is said in the judgment.

"I invite the leaders of the profession to now work with the BSB and help us implement the scheme, in support of the administration of justice to which we are all committed."

The judgment is available here.

ENDS

Notes to editors

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