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Duty Solicitors

Stage 1 membership of the Law Society’s Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme (CLAS) is required by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) for inclusion on the duty solicitor scheme for police stations and magistrates courts.

Solicitors must obtain two separate qualifications to satisfy the Law Society of their suitability to become a member of the CLAS. These are the Police Station Qualification (PSQ) and the Magistrates Court Qualification (MCQ).

Solicitors who successfully completed the Police Station Representatives Accreditation Scheme assessments prior to qualification as a solicitor may apply to the Law Society for exemption from the PSQ assessments.

Barristers can become members of CLAS. If you are a barrister wishing to join a Duty Solicitor Scheme, you need to complete the Police Station Representatives Accreditation Scheme (PSRAS) and the Magistrates’ Court Qualification. You should then apply to the Legal Aid Agency for inclusion on the rota.

Magistrates Court Qualification

This scheme deals with the accreditation of solicitors who represent defendants in the Magistrates Court.

The Magistrates Court Qualification (MCQ) is one element of the Law Society’s Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme for duty solicitors.

The scheme tests the solicitor’s knowledge and understanding of criminal law and procedure, relevant immigration law and procedure and the rules of evidence. You can find full details of the standards of competence required on the Law Society website.

There are two assessment elements under the scheme. Both must be successfully completed. These are the Portfolio of Cases and the Interview and Advocacy Assessment (IAA).

The assessment elements can be completed in any order, but the second element must be successfully completed within one year of the first element being passed.

MCQ accreditation scheme schedule

View our timetable of assessment and training.

  • You must register with us at least three weeks prior to your chosen training/assessment date.
  • Cancellations made less than 14 days before the training/assessment date will incur payment of the full fee.
  • Payment of the balance of the fees for each assessment or training session falls three weeks before you are due to undertake the assessment or training session.

How to apply

Please fill in our registration form and send it to

MCQ registration form 2024

MCQ Registration form

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

Electronic submission

We are now accepting portfolios submitted electronically. Please email Diane Davies (, Professional Development Unit Administrator, to discuss your submission.

Time limits

Some time limits have been extended. Please contact us to discuss this if your progress has been affected by COVID 19.

Remote attendance at the police station

These cases can be included in your Portfolio of Cases. Please contact us for details. Please ensure you follow The Law Society protocol.

Contact us

For more information, please contact:

Professional Development Unit