The Divisional Court has handed down judgment in R (on the application of Lumsdon and others) v Legal Services Board [2013] EWHC 28 (Admin).

In the joint judgment of the court given by the President of the Queen’s Bench Division (Sir Brian Leveson), the Court accepted the arguments advanced by the Legal Services Board and the Bar Standards Board, the latter represented by Tim Dutton QC leading Tetyana Nesterchuk, and adopted by the Solicitors Regulation Authority represented by Chloe Carpenter, that the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA), a compulsory accreditation scheme for all criminal advocates, does not compromise the constitutional principles of judicial or advocates’ independence, that QASA rules do provide for an effective right of appeal in compliance with Article 6 ECHR, that QASA is not an “authorisation scheme” to which the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 apply and in any event is proportionate and lawful. The Court also accepted Chloe Carpenter’s arguments, on behalf of the SRA (which were adopted by the LSB and the BSB) that QASA does not interfere with possessions under Article 1 Protocol 1 ECHR.

The case also confirms that the appropriate standard of review of the regulatory decisions by the LSB and the BSB is to be found in the application of the normal Wednesbury principle rather than the enhanced standard of proportionality.