Chair of the Bar Standards Board, Baroness Ruth Deech said: “The BSB notes with interest that the Ministry of Justice does not propose direct competition for contracting for criminal advocacy. I urge barristers, now that it has been confirmed that QASA and price competition are not linked, to engage positively with the Scheme. Failure to do so will disadvantage the Bar at a time when the public spotlight will be on the legal services market.

What remains clear is that quality of advocacy will be a key factor in differentiating the services of barristers in an increasingly competitive market. “The BSB will give full consideration to the extent to which the Ministry of Justice proposals are likely to impact on the regulatory objectives of the Legal Services Act 2007. Our focus, as a regulator, is to ensure that the legal services market and access to justice are able to operate in the public interest.”