Legal Aid Agency quality standards
Legal aid providers: find out how the LAA sets quality assurance standards and make sure you qualify.
If you hold a legal aid contract with LAA you must have the SQM or MQM standard or the Lexcel Practice Management standard (Lexcel), owned by the Law Society.
The LAA owns the quality assurance standards known as Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) and Mediation Quality Mark (MQM).
Specialist Quality Mark
The Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) is a quality assurance standard if you:
- supply complex legal help
- offer a full range of legal services, including representation in court (where necessary and permitted) by formally trained professionals
The SQM Delivery Partnership is responsible for auditing new SQM applicants. The partnership is also responsible for:
- any audits required for future contracts with LAA
- audits needed to retain an existing LAA contract
The SQM Delivery Partnership will charge to carry out an audit.
PDF, 967KB, 129 pages
PDF, 636KB, 92 pages
Changes to the SQM audit process from 1 April 2017
Recognising Excellence Ltd have been appointed as adminstrator of the SQM from 1 Apil 2017. All SQM audits undertaken from 1 April 2017 must be completed by Recognising Excellence Ltd. To book an audit after 1 April 2017 please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A small number of changes have been made to the audit process for the SQM quality standard and all audits after 1 April 2017 will follow this process.
The headline changes to the content of the Award process are:
- a reduction in stages of the audit award process
- an increase in requirements at the Pre-QM stage
Further details can be found in Changes to the SQM audit process from 1 April 2017 (PDF, 384KB, 2 pages) .
Family Mediation Quality Mark
Organisations providing public mediation services under legal aid must hold the Family Mediation Quality Mark (MQM).
To apply for the MQM you need to complete the:
MQM application form (MS Word Document, 37.6KB)
MQM self assessment checklist (MS Word Document, 67.8KB)
Send these and other required documents to:
MS Word Document, 235KB
MS Word Document, 237KB
Contact and updates
We publish updates about the standards in the LAA bulletin.