A Research Report on Methods of Assessment


Legal Services Board

The Challenge

To write a report into issues concerned with the delivery of the Quality Assurance for Advocates scheme.

The Solution:

The Legal Services Board (LSB) is responsible for overseeing legal regulators in England and Wales. It is independent of Government and of the legal profession. It oversees ten separate bodies, the Approved Regulators, which themselves regulate the lawyers practising throughout the jurisdiction. One of the projects overseen by the LSB is the Quality Assurance for Advocates (QAA) scheme. The project is designed to strengthen regulatory safeguards by ensuring minimum quality standards in some areas of the market – starting with criminal advocacy. The quality assurance framework will act as a common assessment framework for advocacy delivered by practitioners from across the professions. Human Assets’ report has a major focus on the robustness of assessment methods, including how they relate to complex specialisms and how they might be evaluated. The report also looks at how quality assurance might link into the wider framework for the education and training of lawyers.


The LSB commissioned Human Assets to write a report into issues concerned with the delivery of the Quality Assurance for Advocates scheme. The findings contributed to the work of the Joint Advocacy Group (JAG) in shaping the implementation of the Quality Assurance for Advocates (criminal) programme and the LSB’s consideration of any application to change regulatory arrangements.

“Human Assets prepared a major piece of work for the Legal Services Board, looking at the evidential basis for different methods of assessing the effectiveness of criminal advocacy. To the best of our knowledge this was the first attempt to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the literature and, from that, to draw out practical recommendations which could be used in a regulatory context. The very fact of commissioning this work was controversial in what was politically highly contested territory, in which the judiciary, professional bodies and different independent regulators had markedly different views of both the starting point and the ideal outcome. Human Assets produced an academically robust piece of work, showing themselves to be well aware of the sensitivities and very adept in navigating them. Their ability to maintain good working relations with a number of players after the project ended perhaps says it all.”

Chief Executive of the Legal Services Board

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