07 August 2013

BSB responds to Lord Chief Justice’s plans for specialist judges

Chair of the Bar Standards Board Baroness Deech said:

"We welcome the Lord Chief Justice's plan to assign specialist judges to all serious sex cases and those cases involving vulnerable witnesses. However, it is also important to have a formal system in place to ensure that judges can also report their concerns in the knowledge that action will be taken. Next month, the Bar Standards Board is introducing the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates ( QASA), which will introduce a systematic means of assessing, among other things, an advocate's ability to deal with cases involving vulnerable witnesses in an appropriate and competent manner. If an advocate is assessed in judicial evaluations as being unable to cross-examine vulnerable witnesses appropriately, they will not be assessed as competent under the new Scheme and will be required to undertake remedial action. 

"The Scheme has been developed by the Joint Advocacy Group (JAG), which comprises the three main regulators of advocacy: the Bar Standards Board, Solicitors Regulation Authority and ILEX Professional Standards."



Notes to editors

QASA will systematically assess and assure the quality of criminal advocacy in the courts in England and Wales and will ensure that the performance of all advocates is measured against the same set of standards, regardless of an advocate's previous education and training. For more information, see: http://bit.ly/16tKGNN