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BSB EMAIL Re QASA

Here is the introductory paragraph of an email from Baroness Deech, explaining how beneficial QASA is to us all. 

your comments will be of great value to us, and to her.

Dear Colleague,

As you practise at the Criminal Bar, I wanted to email you directly to ensure you know that the Joint Advocacy Group (JAG) has published the revised timetable for the implementation of QASA.

The Bar Standards Board has endorsed the scheme and has every confidence that barristers will demonstrate their excellence within it. Nevertheless, there are some people, as in all professions, who are not as good as they should be. For this scheme to be effective we have to include all advocates so that we can identify, target and deal with those individuals who are underperforming.

We cannot ensure access to justice if we fail to protect the public from that underperforming minority. The scheme will operate in the public interest to ensure that all who practise in the criminal and magistrates courts reach the required standard of professional performance. The Scheme will also be reviewed in two years’ time.  

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11 thoughts on “BSB EMAIL Re QASA

  1. A practicing Criminal Barrister is assessed in public every time he/she appears in Court. If a Judge finds them lacking then there are several options
    A public dressing down
    A complaint to the Head of Chambers
    Reporting of misconduct

    Why do we need to have the expensive procedure of QASA or is this simply a job creation scheme for the BSB or something more sinister?

  2. Thanks again Dan. The more concrete evidence f support we have, the better. We’ll work out the best way to do this. Petitions may well be an answer. Will need to be co-ordinated.
    Immediate priority is to keep people responding to the blog and maintaining the momentum we have already built.
    Your suggested agenda items are very much what we have in mind. What do others think?

  3. I, for one, will help in any way I can. Would you want signatures in favour of the EGM? We can start gathering signatures tomorrow …

    In terms of topics for debate :

    1. QASA
    2. Fees,
    3. What the Bar’s attitude should be in relation to ‘negotiations’ with the government
    4. OCOF

    If you want specific motions, I’m happy to draft something to start the debate!

  4. This email reveals an all too familiar tale. It would appear that the consultation was a token gesture and no notice will be taken of the responses. If we dissent we are accused of standing in the way of progress. It sounds like they have been convinced by their own rhetoric on the benefits of QASA and repeat the mantra to us in the hope we will relent.

    Strong leadership is needed to ensure that the result of the consultation are published and opposition to his farcical scheme continues.

    I hope this will not be another example of the bar just backing down and taking what it is given because we were all too busy to do something about it. If there are only a few who raise objection it is easy to dismiss them as being unrepresentative of the bar as a whole.

    An EGM is needed before it’s too late. It’s time to stand up and be counted.

    • You have strong leadership in the CBA as MTQC’s Friday emails admirably demonstrate.
      We/you, are not prepared to be fobbed off by rhetoric any longer.
      It is VITALLY important that ALL sections of the Bar speak up and speak out, on here, on Twitter, and anywhere else that you can be heard.
      The message is getting out at last.
      An EGM is a real,option if everyone demonstrates that they will support it.
      CBA prepared to put in the hard work, but individual members MUST speak up

    • Timing of an EGM very much dependent on the ever growing support from practitioners, particularly the junior bar.
      Motions are up to you all. Let us know what YOU want to debate.
      The greater and louder the support, the sooner a meeting can be arranged

  5. The email doesn’t acknowledge
    a) The responses to the last QASA consultation
    b) That the Criminal Bar Association, The Law Society, the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association and the leaders of the Circuits oppose QASA in its current form.

    The BSB is now appealing to Barristers directly. There is nothing wrong with that, but they should provide the whole picture.

    The scheme is flawed. Its real purpose uncertain. I support the CBA in their continued, constructive, opposition to QASA and look forward to the EGM.

  6. The reason why no responses to the consultation were published was because they were largely adverse to the scheme. It is plainly in the public interest to have competent advocates. Is that not why they are trained for over 5 years, comply with requirements to undergo continuing education and are subject to professional disciplinary sanctions ?.
    The Barrister or Solicitor is tested each day in Court before their colleagues and their clients. The public interest is already protected. The Bar should never have agreed to participate in a scheme which involved being assessed by a Judge who is trying the case in which the advocate appears. Can you imagine Rumpole agreeing to be quality assessed by The Bull down the Bailey ?

  7. A few quick thoughts :

    It’s not clear if the rest of the email carries on in the same vein … but, this is pretty meaningless.

    Some questions that the BSB/JAG need to answer:
    • What is the evidence that QASA meets the regulatory objectives?
    • What is the evidence that QASA, as currently planned, is better than any other scheme?
    • What is the evidence that QASA ‘will operate in the public interest’? Merely to state that it will is meaningless.
    • What is the evidence that QASA will protect the public?

    It is also very disappointing that the responses from the last consultation have not yet been published. The suspicion is that this is because they were overwhelmingly negative and no-one now supports QASA. If that is incorrect, then the answer is to publish them to scotch this view.

    There is no point in having a review of a scheme in two years. By then, if it is flawed, it will be too late – the damage will have been done. Why is the scheme not being piloted or tested in any way before being rolled out?

  8. A sanitised, pollyanna type version of the QASA proposals, that fails to mention the myriad of injustices the proposed system will create.

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