About the Police Station Representative Accreditation Scheme
This scheme deals with the accreditation of representatives who advise suspects at the police station. Most firms of solicitors who undertake criminal legal aid work use accredited representatives to advise and assist clients at police stations.
Who it's for
Anyone who wishes to become an accredited police station representative and give advice in the police station, for which payment is claimed from the Legal Aid Agency (LAA).
The Police Station Representative Accreditation Scheme is open to qualified practitioners, trainee solicitors, and those with little or no legal background.
Specific requirements are different, depending on whether you are exempt from the written examination. Please see the PSRAS packages page for details of the correct route to choose.
What you'll learn
The scheme tests your knowledge and understanding of criminal law and procedure, common crimes and the rules of evidence. The scheme also tests your understanding of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) and the Codes of Practice under PACE.
You must also exhibit knowledge of the role of defending the client in the police station. You will also be tested to ensure you have the required skills to be an effective advisor - for example:
- Interview technique
- Ability to advise successfully.
About the accreditation scheme
There are three assessment elements to the scheme. All three must be successfully completed before accreditation.
This exam is a two and a half hour online 'proctored' assessment, which assesses your understanding of the role of the police station adviser, together with the skills necessary to fulfil this role and knowledge of criminal law and procedure.
You are exempt from the written examination if you hold any of the following:
- LPC (Legal Practice Course)
- BTC (Bar Training Course) or its predecessor
Or if you are a:
- Fellow or Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and have passed CILEX level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice criminal pathway (previously called CILEX level 6 professional Higher Diploma in Law including criminal law and criminal litigation).
You must show proof of the above qualifications in order to benefit from the exemption.
All candidates must complete and submit a portfolio of cases where you have observed or advised a client being interviewed at a police station.
Prior to registration with the Legal Aid Agency (LAA), you must pass the written examination. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you complete (and pass) the written examination before submitting Part A of the portfolio. The reason for this is that cases in Part A cannot be older than three months at the time of submission.
The portfolio of cases is submitted in two parts.
Part A consists of four cases provided in two separate submissions, in the following order:
- Detailed reports of two cases where you have observed your supervising solicitor advising a client
- Detailed reports of two cases where you have given advice to a client and have been observed by your supervising solicitor.
These cases must be in chronological order and must be less than three months old. Part A of a portfolio may be submitted at any time.
Part B consists of a submission of:
- Detailed reports of a further five cases where you have advised a client alone.
Submitting your portfolio
If you are exempt from the written examination or have already passed:
When you have submitted Part A of the portfolio to us and it has passed the technical compliance check, you are able to apply to the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) for a PIN, which allows you to undertake unsupervised probationary work.
You will submit Part B with a further copy of Part A. At this stage, the complete portfolio (Part A and Part B) is then assessed as a single submission.
Further information about regulations and guidance will be provided as part of your welcome pack when you have completed your booking with us.
Probationary representatives must pass the portfolio or CIT element within six months of the PIN being issued, and must pass both elements within twelve months of its issue.
All other candidates:
You must pass the written examination before registering with the LAA. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you complete the written examination before submitting Part A of your Portfolio. Cases must not be older than 3 months at submission, so it is sensible to complete and pass the written examination first.
Once you have passed the written examination, assessment of your portfolio will proceed as above.
Critical Incidents Test (CIT)
All candidates must undertake the Critical Incidents Test (CIT). This test can only be taken by probationary representatives holding a PIN issued by the LAA.
How you will be assessed
This assessment is a live role-play test. The test aims to recreate a police station interview and uses audio recordings to provide information. You can intervene during set pauses to respond to information, request further information or to advise the client. The whole of the test is recorded for assessment purposes. The test is conducted on an individual basis and lasts a maximum of 45 minutes.
This test assesses whether your responses are appropriate, with reference to police station practice and procedure. It also allows for key skills to be assessed (for example communication, negotiation and assertiveness).
Probationary representatives must pass either the portfolio element or CIT element within six months of the PIN being issued and must pass both elements within twelve months.
You can choose whether to attend a face-to-face or an online CIT.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) standards of competence set out all areas of knowledge and skills that you will be expected to demonstrate.
In order to claim remuneration from the Legal Aid Fund, you must be accredited or be registered with the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) as a probationary representative. The LAA is responsible for administering the Legal Aid Fund.
You can remain registered with the LAA for up to one year as a probationary representative. You must pass one assessment element within six months of registration with the LAA. You must pass all assessment elements within one year of registration with the LAA. Failure to achieve this will mean you would be suspended by the LAA from undertaking legally aided work at the police station.
Professional Development Unit
We offer various packages to study the PSRAS.