Thursday 25 July 2013 by Catherine Baksi
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has approved the fees that solicitors will be required to pay for accreditation under the controversial Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA).
Fees are set for the four accreditation levels and solicitors will have to make payment on registration, on progression and when seeking reaccreditation.
To register, they will pay between £50 at level 1 and £100 at level 4. To progress through levels all will pay a further £125 and a fee of between £75-125 for reaccreditation. The scheme will be administered internally through an IT system.
The Bar Standards Board and ILEX Professional Standards will set the fees that barristers and legal executives will be required to pay.
In a report to the SRA board at its monthly meeting yesterday, policy executive Richard Williams said the regulator had analysed 'a range of cost options' to assess the impact of the proposed fee structure on practitioners.
It said the work indicated that the fees are 'unlikely to result in a disproportionate impact' on solicitors or categories of solicitors.
The fees' impact on solicitors will be monitored as part of the overall two-year review of QASA's implementation.
The scheme, which many solicitors and the majority of barristers have indicated they will boycott, is due to be introduced in phases starting on 30 September.
Solicitor-advocates have already had to notify the regulator of their intention to undertake criminal advocacy and enter the scheme.
Based on the notification exercise, the SRA expects 10,739 advocates to enter the scheme; 7,341 at level 1, 1,739 at level 2, 1,151 at level 3 and 508 at level 4.