Annual update on the Criminal Quality Assurance Scheme for Criminal Legal Assistance

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

This update gives details on the statistics, issues and findings of the Criminal Quality Assurance scheme for the two year period between 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019.

This is longer than previous reports as it covers the end of the first six year cycle of reviews which ran to the end of March 2019. 

Overall, 93% of solicitors passed their first routine review in this cycle, with 81% of solicitors who failed passing at the next stage.

Outline of Criminal Quality Assurance scheme

All criminal solicitors who have registered o provide criminal legal assistance are subject to peer review.  The reviews are carried out over an initial six year cycle.  The process is overseen by our Criminal Quality Assurance Committee, which comprises three members appointed by us, three members appointed by the Law Society of Scotland, and three independent or non legal members appointed in consultation with the Society.

Criminal Quality Assurance Committee

During 2017 and 2018, the following people served on the Committee: 



Colin Lancaster (Chair)

SLAB Chief Executive

Matthew Auchincloss

PDSO Director

Paul Reid

SLAB Board Member

Peter Lockhart

Law Society Member (to February 2018)

Roddy Boag

Law Society Member

Gordon Martin

Law Society Member

Douglas Thomson

Law Society Member (Feb to Dec 2018)

Duncan MacDonald

Non Legal Member (to February 2018)

Catherine Goldie

Non Legal Member (to January 2018)

Beryl Seaman CBE

Non Legal Member

Nazim Hamid

Non Legal Member (from February 2018)

David Crossan

Non Legal Member (from March 2018)

The Committee receives professional advice and support from Professor Alan Paterson OBE, Director of the Centre for Professional Legal Studies at the University of Strathclyde.  Professor Paterson, who is one of Europe’s leading experts on quality assurance systems in the legal profession, also provides training and oversees the work of the peer reviewers.

Further details of how the scheme operates can be found in Part 1, Chapter 3 of the Criminal Legal Aid Handbook.

The full report and findings are available to download.

Further information

If you would like further information please contact:

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