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: 
3 April 2014

Title: 
Accreditation schemes – progress report (pdf, 424kb)

Description: 
Review of progress made by accreditation schemes since the Panel’s report in 2011


Date: 
3 April 2014

Title: 
Accreditation schemes – individual assessments of schemes (pdf, 1.83mb)

Description: 
The Panel’s assessment of individual schemes


Date: 
1 April 2014

Title: 
SRA – Training for tomorrow: a new approach to continuing competence (pdf, 129kb)

Description: 
Response to the SRA consultation on proposed changes to the CPD regime


Date: 
11 December 2013

Title: 
LSB – legal education and training (pdf, 125kb)

Description: 
Response to the LSB consultation on increasing flexibility in legal education and training


Date: 
23 October 2012

Title: 
Response to the LETR: Developing the detail (pdf, 100kb)

Description: 
The Panel’s response to the final Legal Education and Training Review discussion paper


Date: 
17 September 2012

Title: 
LSB’s formal response to the Panel’s report on Voluntary Quality Schemes (pdf, 108kb)

Description: 
The LSB has written to the Consumer Panel formally endorsing our recommendations on voluntary accreditation schemes.


Date: 
21 May 2012

Title: 
Submission to the Legal Education and Training Review (pdf, 175kb)

Description: 
The Consumer Panel’s submission to the call for evidence on the joint regulators’ review of legal education and training


Date: 
21 May 2012

Title: 
Panel response to LSB consultation on approaches to quality (pdf, 311kb)

Description: 
The Consumer Panel’s response to the Legal Services Board consultation on approaches to quality


Date: 
15 March 2012

Title: 
Speech on revalidation

Description: 
A speech by Neil Wightman to a seminar on the Legal Education and Training Review at the University of Westminster


Date: 
24 November 2011

Title: 
Voluntary quality schemes in legal services (pdf, 463kb)

Description: 
The Consumer Panel’s report to the Legal Services Board on voluntary quality schemes in legal services


Date: 
24 November 2011

Title: 
Voluntary quality schemes – assessment of selected schemes (pdf, 355kb)

Description: 
The Consumer Panel’s assessment of selected voluntary quality schemes in legal services


Date: 
26 May 2011

Title: 
LSB – Request for advice on quality schemes (pdf, 422kb)

Description: 
Letter from the Legal Services Board seeking advice on the essential characteristics of voluntary quality schemes


Date: 
26 May 2011

Title: 
LSB – Response to Panel advice on quality (pdf, 522kb)

Description: 
Legal Services Board response to the Panel’s advice on consumer perspectives on quality in legal services


Date: 
11 November 2010

Title: 
Quality in legal services report (pdf, 411kb)

Description: 
The Consumer Panel’s report to the Legal Services Board on quality in legal services


Date: 
11 November 2010

Title: 
Quality in legal services – consumer research (pdf, 345kb)

Description: 
Vanilla Research report on the outcomes of research into consumer perspectives on quality in legal services


Date: 
12 July 2010

Title: 
Consumer research – Project Specification (pdf, 440kb)

Description: 
Details of the consumer research on quality that will be undertaken by Vanilla Research


Date: 
12 July 2010

Title: 
LSB – Request for advice on quality (pdf, 425kb)

Description: 
Letter from the Legal Services Board seeking advice on consumer perspectives on quality in legal services.


Date: 
17 March 2010

Title: 
SRA/BSB/ILEX –  Advocacy Standards (pdf, 113kb)

Description: 
Response to a joint Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board and ILEX Professional Standards consultation on quality assurance for advocates