Pioneering Quality Assurance scheme introduced by Faculty

07 Nov


A new, ground-breaking appraisal scheme has been introduced by the Faculty, to give the public confidence that they can expect “top notch” representation from advocates.

The Quality Assurance Programme requires all 450 practising advocates to undergo assessments to show they have maintained the skills which were needed to gain entry to the Faculty.

Anyone failing to meet set standards will have to undertake training and pass another assessment before being allowed to continue in practice.

“The Faculty is leading the way in this, and advocates are the only lawyers in Scotland who are required to meet these exacting standards in order to continue in practice,” said Gordon Jackson, QC, Dean of Faculty.

“We want the public, and indeed the whole legal profession, to know that excellent and continuing advocacy skills are of fundamental importance to the Faculty. This should give reassurance to the public that when they instruct an advocate they will receive top notch representation and will be getting a lawyer with excellent experience and training.

“The public has high expectations of advocates and we intend to match them or exceed them wherever possible.”

Mr Jackson and Angela Grahame, QC, Vice-Dean of Faculty, are leading the way by being the first and second advocates to be assessed.

Under the programme, counsel will be assessed every five years. A team of assessors has been appointed, and put through a rigorous training regime to equip them for the task. An external assessor, Mark Mulholland, QC, former Chairman of the Bar of Northern Ireland,  will review the programme.

“The Faculty has always required a significant commitment from its members, particularly in regard to training. We make no apology for that. It provides devils – those training to become advocates – with a training course that is well recognised as world class,” said Mr Jackson.

“Equality of arms is an important aspect of access to justice and advocates want to ensure that the advocacy skills they deliver are the best they can provide.”