The Specialist Quality Mark (SQM) was introduced in 2002 as a quality management system for legal aid providers. It is part of a family of standards that underpin the LAA's Community Legal Service (CLS) and Criminal Defence Service (CDS), and aims to enable Legal Services Providers/organisations to demonstrate that they are well managed, provide good levels of client care and have systems in place to ensure delivery of good quality advice.

Useful Documents

Compliance with a recognised quality standard (currently either the SQM or Lexcel, The Law Society's practice management standard) is a requirement for organisations that have, or are seeking to obtain, an LAA contract to deliver legal advice services.

Legal providers are now required to meet the up-front cost of quality assurance - see details of Audit Pricing.

You can read more about the Benefits of achieving SQM.

Further background regarding the SQM is available on the Ministry of Justice website.