Clients must have a free choice of advocate, says CILEx
27 November 2015
The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) has urged the Ministry of Justice to give client choice priority when taking forward proposals on the quality of criminal advocacy.
CILEx, which represents specialist lawyers including criminal advocates, responded to the consultation ‘Preserving and Enhancing the Quality of Criminal Advocacy’, emphasising the importance of fair competition and a level playing field across the profession. It also highlighted that Government policy should not favour one part of the profession over another.
CILEx chief executive, Mandie Lavin, said: “In choosing their advocate, the important thing is for clients to have the information they need to make the right choice for themselves. Restricting choice is no guarantee of quality, and should only happen where there is evidence of client detriment. Clients should be free to choose the advocate that’s right for them, whether in-house or external.”
The response also asks for the swift implementation of the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) which will resolve many of the concerns already raised. The scheme, developed by frontline regulators including CILEx Regulation and overseen by the Legal Services Board (LSB), will provide much needed evidence of the quality issues at play in the criminal advocacy field.