From Spring 2015 the Solicitors Regulation Authority will be phasing in a new approach to monitoring whether your solicitor is competent to represent you.
Previously all solicitors were required to undertake 16 hours of Continuing Professional Development training per year. The system that will replace this is one effectively of self-regulation where a solicitor could potentially get away with just confirming they are competent. This is no guarantee for an injured person that they are up to date, knowledgeable, and committed to getting the best result for their client by ensuring they have the best knowledge available.
The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers has from some time prior to these changes had a very real commitment to ensuring that injured persons have access to the best representation possible not just a basic level of competence.
Personal injury lawyers can apply to be accredited by APIL at various levels to reflect their abilities, their knowledge, and their commitment to continued development of themselves and other personal injury lawyers. This scheme is robustly monitored and subject to re-accreditation and checks. It continues to have a requirement that accredited professionals have at least 16 hours training a year, and that the training is predominantly focussed on the skills and knowledge needed to get the best results for the injured person.
APIL will individually accredit lawyers at four different levels:
- Senior Litigator
- Senior Fellow
Smith Jones are an APIL accredited firm and have a number of staff accredited at these levels including two at fellow level. As at June 2014 only 4.4% of members of APIL were accredited at the level of Fellow.
APIL is committed to not just promoting and supporting basic competence in acting for injured people but in promoting and supporting excellence in the field. Smith Jones Solicitors support this approach and is committed to the pursuit of the best results for their clients.