Professional Competence Peer Review and Quality Assurance in England and Wales and in Scotland


  • Avrom Sherr Woolf Professor of Legal Education, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, United Kingdom
  • Alan Paterson Director of the Centre for Professional Legal Studies, Strathclyde University Law School, Scotland; Chair of the International Legal Aid Group; Chair of the Legal Aid and Legal Services Group of the International Working Group on Comparative Legal Professions; Chair of the Legal Services Group of Citizens Advice Scotland; Research Adviser to the Scottish Legal Aid Board



Peer review has emerged as a method of assessing the work of legal aid lawyers in the United Kingdom. The authors show how testing different methods led to review of files emerging as the most effective means of peer review. A number of approaches, including double marking of files, are used to ensure accuracy and consistency among the reviewers. Peer review in Scotland may be more relevant than England and Wales to the Canadian context as the legal professions are of similar size. The authors discuss both criminal and civil work and the application of peer review as well as the outcomes of the pilot projects in the U.K.