National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Paralegals

21st Nov 2011

what does this mean for the Registered Paralegal scheme?

Skills for Justice have set up a Steering Group to provide advice and guidance on the development of NOS for paralegals across the whole of the UK.

There are 2 documents attached for your consideration. The first is the Skills for Justice Terms of Reference for the Steering Group tasked with this project. The SPA is included in the Steering Group and we will represent the interests of paralegals in Scotland. The second document is a consultation by The National Association of Licensed Paralegals (NALP). NALP, whilst providing paralegal qualifications, is similar to the SPA in that it represents the interests of paralegals in England and Wales.

NALP have highlighted various concerns, in particular the apparent lack of consultation of relevant bodies prior to embarking on this project and most fundamentally, whether the role of the paralegal has been defined correctly, if at all. Another very obvious issue which springs to the forefront is how a UK approach will tackle a country which encompasses more than one legal jurisdiction.

Will this impact upon the Law Society of Scotland Registered Paralegal scheme? There is no equivalent scheme in England and Wales which has the full support of their Law Society at present. Many of the larger firms have offices throughout the UK. How do they see our strictly voluntary and Scottish scheme? Might it be possible that they elect to follow the NOS for paralegals only or will this complement our scheme here?

The purpose of a Steering Group is to ensure that the outcome is fit for purpose. With representatives from across the whole sector given full opportunity to assess the standards required we are sure the Steering Group will deliver a NOS for paralegals that will meet the needs of employers, paralegals and the public throughout the UK.

The first steering group meetings have been set for 12th December in England and 13th December in Scotland, after which we hope to be in a more informed position. If you have any interest or concerns regarding this project please contact a committee member.

back to top