News story

Civil/crime news: minor amendments made to the Specialist Quality Mark standard

An amended version of the Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) standard has been published to reflect the current and future legal aid contractual position.


A revised version of the Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) standard was published in November 2014 to reflect all current legal aid contracts and future contracts that are currently being tendered for.

A further amendment has been made to the content of the table at Annex B, paragraph 4.2 of the SQM standard to ensure that it accurately reflects a list of all of the current requirements of the SQM Standard. The amendments to the SQM Standard are set out in the table below:

Section Page number Amendment
Annex B - Quality concerns and observations 121 Removal of references to requirements B2.1, G4.3 and G4.4 in the table at paragraph 4.2
Glossary 126 “Contract”: This refers to the following: Standard Civil Contract; 2010 Standard Crime Contract; 2013 CLA (telephone) Contracts; 2013 Standard Civil Contract, 2013 Standard Civil Contract (Welfare Benefits), 2014 Standard Civil Contract (Welfare Benefits), 2014 Standard Civil Contract, 2015 Standard Civil Contract, and the 2015 Own and Duty Crime Contracts.
    “Designated Fee- Earner”: Applies only to the organisations undertaking criminal legal aid. Requirements covering designation of fee earners are contained within the Specification of the 2015 Duty Contract. In summary all those who regularly undertake fee-earning criminal defence work for your organisation must be designated.

An updated version of the SQM standard (v2.1 December 2014) is now available to download on the SQM Delivery Partnership’s website and also on the quality assurance page on this website.

Published 23 December 2014