Here’s a question that’s been bothering me of late – what, exactly, is a quality legal service? You’ll have noticed that this phrase has become so common that it no longer requires an adjective (unless it’s poor quality). Many seem to think that if you say often enough that you provide one, it must be true.
It has come to the fore with the debate over criminal legal aid. First there is the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA). This elides ‘quality’ with competence. ‘The aim of QASA,’ says the application to the Legal Services Board for approval of the scheme, ‘is to assess and assure the competence of all advocates conducting criminal advocacy in courts in England and Wales.’