SAHCA welcomes renewed SRA consultation on QASA

A fourth and final consultation document on the QASA Scheme is about to be publishedby the SRA. Although much of the detail of the Scheme is now settled, thepurpose of this consultation is focused on substantive revisions to previousproposals.

Views are specifically sought on: -  revised guidance to setting the levelof the case; proposals for the offences to be included at each of the fourlevels; the competence framework for judicial evaluation, the accreditation ofQCs; The Scheme Handbook, Regulations/Rules and the scope of the review.

The scope of this consultation, though wide-ranging, appears to SAHCA to bewholly valid and reflects a number of concerns on which SAHCA has been lobbyingthe process stakeholders for several years.  Yvonne Spencer, SAHCA Chair,said that the latest consultation contained ?several significant victories onbehalf of solicitor advocates, most notably: parity with our counter-parts atthe Bar; instructing solicitor led decision making on case levels; recognitionof the important and vital role of non-trial advocates; the use of assessmentcentres for non-trial advocacy; and importantly, recognition that Youth Courtwork is most appropriately undertaken by Magistrates Court advocates withspecialist knowledge and particular client skills?.

Nevertheless, she also said that ?SAHCA remains disappointed that judicialevaluation will be the only option for trial advocacy assessment as we firmlybelieve the lack of an alternative accreditation method will exacerbate theinevitable limitations that judicial evaluation will  place on the entireprocess. We expect to see robust scrutiny of the necessity for exclusiveJudicial evaluation when the Scheme is reviewed in 2015.?

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