IPS Consultation with JAG

IPS looks at new proposals for the regulation of lawyers

ILEX Professional Standards (IPS), the regulator for Legal Executives, has this week launched a joint consultation on proposals for a scheme by a group of advocacy regulators to quality assure advocates in the criminal courts.

The Joint Advocacy Group (JAG) was established by the Bar Standards Board, the Solicitors Regulation Authority and IPS to develop the scheme across the three professions. The consultation paper sets out the framework for delivery and is inviting the profession to give their views by 12 November 2010.

In its summary, the paper states that effective advocacy is fundamental to the justice system; that members of the public reply upon it for the proper presentation of their case and the courts are dependent upon it for the proper administration of justice; and that there is therefore a need for systematic and consistent quality assurance of advocates by the regulators.

The proposed scheme will:

  • build on the existing education framework for entry into advocacy to develop a rigorous assessment process to ensure adequate standards are attained at the start of an advocate’s career;
  • introduce higher-level standards and periodic re-accreditation to ensure that advocates remain fit to practise as their careers progress;
  • have reporting arrangement for judges and others to refer poor performing advocates for remediation or re-training;
  • be managed by an independent body, accountable to, and with oversight from, the three advocacy regulators.

Antony Townsend, SRA chief executive and spokesperson for JAG believes that the scheme proposed represents a proportionate and practicable approach to quality assurance of criminal advocacy.

“It is fundamental to effective regulation that rigorous quality assurance systems are in place to ensure that standards are attained and then maintained. The scheme proposed is a cost effective and straightforward solution which we believe is in the public interest and will carry the confidence of the profession and the judiciary. This consultation paper is an opportunity for stakeholders to tell us whether we are right “

The consultation paper on proposals for a quality assurance scheme for criminal advocates, is available on IPS’s website at www.ilex.org.uk/PDF/IPS%20con%20doc%20JAG%20quality%20assurance.pdf

Posted 13.08.10