The Joint Advocacy Group (JAG) has published the official handbook for the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA).
The handbook has been jointly developed by the three regulators behind the scheme – the Bar Standards Board (BSB), the Solicitors Regulation Authority and ILEX Professional Standards.
It is intended to provide an overview on the process and rules that advocates must follow to successfully meet QASA’s requirements.
A spokesperson for the JAG said: "The Handbook contains comprehensive details on how QASA will work in practice. It will provide advocates with the information they require to understand how the scheme will operate, and what they will need to do in order to successfully meet its requirements.
"We encourage all advocates requiring QASA accreditation to read the Handbook in advance of registration.”
Dr Vanessa Davies, Director of the BSB, said: “The QASA process has been designed to be as straightforward as possible. It takes about ten minutes to register and the two-year evaluation period takes place during a barrister’s normal working routine.
“Judges have been trained to ensure that they only mark advocates against the QASA competencies and so barristers can be confident of a fair evaluation, which will have no bearing on the outcome of the trial.”
Dr Davies added: “QASA exists to protect the public from those advocates who are not as good as they should be. The majority of barristers will complete the process without any difficulty, but it’s right we act to stop those who fall short.”
The QASA Handbook can be downloaded here.
Last month the Legal Services Board gave final approval for QASA. The scheme will be introduced in phases in 2013/14. It will be introduced first in the Midlands and South-West circuits on 30 September running through to 7 March 2014.
A second phase covering the South Eastern circuit will run from 10 March to 13 June 2014. The final phase – for the Northern, North Eastern, and Wales and Chester circuits will take place between 30 June and 3 October 2014.