The Court of Appeal dismisses the challenge to QASA

Timothy Dutton QC and Tetyana Nesterchuk appeared for the BSB in its successful defence of the QASA Scheme in the Court of Appeal and Chloe Carpenter appeared for the SRA in its successful defence in the Divisional Court.

The Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in R (on the application of Lumsdon and others) v Legal Services Board [2014] EWCA Civ 1276. In the joint judgment of the court given by Master of the Rolls (Lord Dyson), the court rejected each of the grounds of appeal and upheld the Divisional Court’s conclusions.  The Court of Appeal accepted the arguments advanced by the Legal Services Board and the Bar Standards Board, the latter represented by Tim Dutton QC leading Tetyana Nesterchuk, that the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA), a compulsory accreditation scheme for all criminal advocates, does not compromise the constitutional principles of advocates’ or judicial independence and that the BSB and the LSB acted lawfully in proposing and approving the Scheme respectively. The Court of Appeal also held that the Divisional Court did not misconstrue the BSB’s appeal policy, that irrationality rather than proportionality standard of review applied in the domestic context, that QASA was not unlawful in domestic terms and, in any event, proportionate even if the proportionality standard of review applied under the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 (a question which the court thought was not acte clair but did not need to determine). Chloe Carpenter appeared for the SRA before the Divisional Court.   The Divisional Court’s accepted Chloe Carpenter’s submission that QASA does not interfere with possessions under Article 1 Protocol 1; this point was not subject to the appeal.