Bar Council responds to Bar Standards Board's decision today to drop QASA
Chair of the Bar, Andrew Langdon QC, has responded to the Bar Standards Board's decision today to drop QASA.
The birth of the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) was not celebrated by many and its death will be mourned by fewer. I welcome the Bar Standards Board’s (BSB) decision, which is plainly sensible.
It is well known that many barristers were unhappy with the proposed scheme, not least because it risked placing both advocates and judges in a problematic position, given their respective roles during a trial. Similarly, the Bar does not recognise that the concept of a ‘plea only advocate’ was compatible with the role of defence counsel.
It is evident that the BSB are now adopting a strategy which avoids those problems. They have rightly moved on, and the approach has become more sophisticated. The demise of QASA allows space for the Bar itself, including through the work of each of the Bar Council, the Inns, the College of Advocacy, the Circuits and the Specialist Bar Associations, to reinforce standards in a more flexible and proportionate way, as it is already doing through the development and delivery of training and support to barristers which is not aimed merely at maintaining standards, but promotes excellence in advocacy within the profession.