23 September 2019

BSB to take a new approach towards assuring quality at the Bar

We have decided to take a new approach towards the quality assurance of barristers following a review. We will not therefore implement the earlier scheme, the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA).

Over the past few years we have been reviewing our approach to assuring the quality of all aspects of barristers' services, including advocacy. We are committed to being risk and evidence based in our approach and have introduced a number of regulatory initiatives that are designed to support standards of practice at the Bar. These initiatives also encourage barristers to take greater responsibility for their own learning and development by removing prescriptive regulation and creating flexibility as to how competence should be maintained. In doing so, we have created a supportive regulatory framework that is designed to help the profession to manage its own professionalism and standards in the quality of practice but with clear arrangements in place to address instances of poor practice or non-compliance.

Our Board has therefore decided that the QASA scheme would not be consistent with this new approach. We remain committed to assuring the quality of advocacy, but will now do so by building upon the strong foundation of regulation that has been implemented over the last three years. We will also pursue a programme of research, evaluation and engagement so that we can continue to plan and develop regulation to provide quality assurance.