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 designed for organisations who:
- 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
Delivering the audit Services of the SQM Standard
As of the 1 April 2017, Recognising Excellence Ltd took over the administration of the audit delivery services of the SQM Standard from its predecessor the SQM Delivery Partnership.
All SQM audits undertaken from 1 April 2017 must be completed by Recognising Excellence Ltd.
To book an SQM audit after 1 April 2017 or for general queries relating to the SQM Standard, please contact email@example.com.
Please note that Recognising Excellence Ltd will charge to carry out an audit.
Amendments to the SQM audit process
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) .
PDF, 1.27MB, 128 pages
PDF, 984KB, 93 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.