The Joint Advocacy Group (JAG) has published the analysis of responses to its fourth consultation together with its comments on the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA).
The report follows the recent publication of the revised timetable for the launch of the Scheme in September 2013.
JAG has made a number of changes to the Scheme in response to the key issues raised to the fourth consultation; 348 responses were received in total. Of particular note are:
- It has extended the period for collection of judicial evaluation from 12 months to 24 months.
- The number of pieces of judicial evaluation required to enter, progress and reaccredit has been harmonised across the Scheme.
- There are amended entry requirements for QCs. A level 4QC has been introduced to differentiate QCs from other level 4 advocates.
- Phased implementation will remain the method of introduction of the Scheme as it is a practical necessity given the numbers of advocates involved.
- Further work will be undertaken to ensure consistency of the rules for the single Scheme across the three regulators.
- The scope of appeals for decisions taken under the Scheme has been standardised across the regulators.
- The definition of ‘criminal advocacy’ has been reviewed to ensure it includes the necessary categories of criminal work.
A JAG spokesperson said: “In considering the range of responses we received, our focus remained on ensuring a tripartite scheme in the public interest.
“We remain committed to the introduction of the Scheme in 2013 – the September launch date has allowed us to consider the substantive and constructive suggestions we received to make the necessary revisions to the Scheme.
“The changes we have made address the responses we received about the proportionality and practicability of the Scheme. We will continue to review the Scheme once it is operational and will make any further changes as required at the point of the review of the Scheme in 2015.”