The Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates will regulate the quality of all advocates appearing in the criminal courts in England and Wales, whether they are barristers, solicitors, or legal executives . The Scheme will include all advocates wherever they are based and will therefore cover QCs, CPS in-house barristers and solicitors, self-employed barristers, and other in-house advocates.

All criminal advocates will be accredited at a level mapped against the complexity of work which they undertake - from advocates practising solely in the Magistrates’ Courts at Level 1 up to those undertaking the most complex work at Level 4. Advocates would be able to apply to move up a level when they have the requisite experience and skill.

The scheme is designed to assess the competence of an dvocate and there are two forms of assessment, judicial evaluation and evaluation by an approved assessment organisation. Judicial evaluation is a key form of assessment and advocates who use the assessment centre route will still need to be judicially assessed at various stages.

The Scheme is scheduled to be operational from April 2012. For further information on the Scheme please email: