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Quality assurance

The specialised nature of legal services can make it difficult for consumers to judge the quality of a lawyer they are considering using, or the quality of advice they have received. A range of quality assurance schemes and protected titles exist to provide some level of consumer confidence in the competence of their legal adviser.

In 2010, the Legal Services Board sought the Consumer Panel's advice on consumer perspectives on quality. The Panel's report Quality in Legal Services was completed in November 2010 and can be found below, along with the independent consumer research report.

In May 2011, the Board published its response to the Panel's report and requested further advice on voluntary quality schemes. As part of this second project the Panel identified 10 characteristics that quality schemes must have to give consumers confidence that they are a robust and reliable indicator of a good quality legal services provider, and assessed a selection of existing schemes against them. The Panel’s second report Voluntary Quality Schemes in Legal Services was provided to the LSB in November 2011 and can be found below with the full assessments of selected voluntary quality schemes. The LSB endorsed our recommendations in September 2012.

In 2013 the Panel revisited the issue of voluntary quality schemes and reviewed progress made since our 2011 report.  We found improvement against each of the 10 assessment areas, but there is still room for further development. Our progress report and second assessment of individual schemes can also be found below.

Separately, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board and ILEX Professional Standards set up a joint review into the future of legal education and training (LETR). An academic research team was appointed to make recommendations to these regulators and reported in 2013. The Panel set out its views on these issues in our response to the research team's call for evidence in May 2012. Since then we have continued to call for progress on issues such as improved continuous professional development and re-accreditation in high-risk areas of law. You can find our responses to consultations on legal education and training below.


Key documents

Date Title Description
3 April 2014 Accreditation schemes - progress report (pdf, 424kb) Review of progress made by accreditation schemes since the Panel's report in 2011
3 April 2014 Accreditation schemes - individual assessments of schemes (pdf, 1.83mb) The Panel's assessment of individual schemes
1 April 2014 SRA - Training for tomorrow: a new approach to continuing competence (pdf, 129kb) Response to the SRA consultation on proposed changes to the CPD regime
11 December 2013 LSB - legal education and training (pdf, 125kb) Response to the LSB consultation on increasing flexibility in legal education and training
23 October 2012 Response to the LETR: Developing the detail (pdf, 100kb) The Panel's response to the final Legal Education and Training Review discussion paper
17 September 2012 LSB's formal response to the Panel's report on Voluntary Quality Schemes (pdf, 108kb) The LSB has written to the Consumer Panel formally endorsing our recommendations on voluntary accreditation schemes.
21 May 2012 Submission to the Legal Education and Training Review (pdf, 175kb) The Consumer Panel's submission to the call for evidence on the joint regulators' review of legal education and training
21 May 2012 Panel response to LSB consultation on approaches to quality (pdf, 311kb) The Consumer Panel's response to the Legal Services Board consultation on approaches to quality
15 March 2012 Speech on revalidation A speech by Neil Wightman to a seminar on the Legal Education and Training Review at the University of Westminster
24 November 2011 Voluntary quality schemes in legal services (pdf, 463kb) The Consumer Panel's report to the Legal Services Board on voluntary quality schemes in legal services
24 November 2011 Voluntary quality schemes - assessment of selected schemes (pdf, 355kb) The Consumer Panel's assessment of selected voluntary quality schemes in legal services
26 May 2011 LSB - Request for advice on quality schemes (pdf, 422kb) Letter from the Legal Services Board seeking advice on the essential characteristics of voluntary quality schemes
26 May 2011 LSB - Response to Panel advice on quality (pdf, 522kb) Legal Services Board response to the Panel's advice on consumer perspectives on quality in legal services
11 November 2010 Quality in legal services report (pdf, 411kb) The Consumer Panel's report to the Legal Services Board on quality in legal services
11 November 2010 Quality in legal services - consumer research (pdf, 345kb) Vanilla Research report on the outcomes of research into consumer perspectives on quality in legal services
12 July 2010 Consumer research - Project Specification (pdf, 440kb) Details of the consumer research on quality that will be undertaken by Vanilla Research
12 July 2010 LSB - Request for advice on quality (pdf, 425kb) Letter from the Legal Services Board seeking advice on consumer perspectives on quality in legal services.
17 March 2010 SRA/BSB/ILEX -  Advocacy Standards (pdf, 113kb) Response to a joint Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board and ILEX Professional Standards consultation on quality assurance for advocates

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