Supreme Court agrees to hear QASA appeal

The four criminal barristers challenging the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA) have been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

In R (on the application of Lumsdon and others) v Legal Services Board, the appellants sought judicial review of the Legal Services Board (LSB) decision to approve the introduction of QASA.


The panel of three Supreme Court Justices refused permission to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s finding last year that the principle of independence of the advocate was not infringed by QASA, because it did not consider that ground to have a real prospect of success. However, permission to appeal was granted on the ground of whether the Court of Appeal had erred in law by failing to appreciate the effect of Regulation 14 of the Provision of Service Regulations 2009, which states that the authorisation scheme must have an “overriding reason relating to the public interest” and “the objective pursued cannot be attained by means of a less restrictive measure”.

The Court of Appeal had held that the LSB was entitled to a substantial margin of discretion in relation to the question of whether the decision to approve the scheme was proportionate.

A protective costs order has been made and the hearing has been provisionally listed for 16 March.

In the week before the Supreme Court announced its decision to allow the appeal, a Bar Standards Board spokesman said: “The Board decided we should in the meantime explore other ways in which we can properly protect the public from poor standards of advocacy.”

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