Practice and Procedure

Silk quits Bar Standards Board in quality assurance protest

PUBLISHED April 19, 2013

Friday 19 April 2013 by Catherine Baksi

A senior silk has resigned from his position on the Bar Standards Board over the regulator's support for the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA).

Jonathan Kinnear QC, who been a senior member of the BSB's professional conduct committee for the past five years, wrote to tender his resignation this week.

He told the BSB's chair Lady Deech: 'I no longer feel that I am properly able to serve an organisation whose policies will have such a devastating effect on the barristers it seeks to regulate.' Stating that his position on the committee is 'incompatible with my intention to refuse to register for QASA' he said he 'must resign'.

He said the introduction of QASA - a scheme under which all publicly funded criminal advocates must be accredited to carry out certain levels of work - will be 'disastrous' for the profession and the public.

'Far from promoting standards it will have quite the opposite effect and will significantly reduce them,' said Kinnear (pictured).

He said that the BSB seems 'incapable or unwilling' to take into account the views of the Bar Council, the circuits and specialist organisations such as the Criminal Bar Association.

'I urge you to listen to them and to back away from the precipice to which you have led the profession. It would be better for the BSB to lose a little face now and still have a profession to regulate, than to look back in three years and survey the destruction that it has caused,' he said.