Articles on: MCQ - Magistrates Court Qualification

MCQ Process

The Magistrates Court Qualification applies to anyone who wishes to be a Duty Solicitor providing advocacy services at magistrates' courts on a rota basis, assisting people who do not have their own solicitor. Duty solicitors are also called to police stations to advise and assist people who would otherwise have no legal representation.

It is recommended that candidates have at least 6 months experience of criminal defence practice before attempting the MCQ assessments.

There are two stages to the MCQ:

The Portfolio

Interview & Advocacy Assessment

The assessments can be undertaken in any order.

Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme

Stage 1 of the Law Society's Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme (CLAS) enables solicitors and barristers to apply for inclusion on local duty solicitor rotas under the LAA's Criminal Defence Service Duty Solicitor Arrangements 2001.

Stage 1 consists of two accreditations which assess the necessary police station and court skills to be a duty solicitor:

The Police Station Qualification (PSQ)
The Magistrates' Court Qualification (MCQ)

If you intend to join a duty solicitor panel, you will be expected to pass both the PSQ and the MCQ assessments and apply for membership of the CLAS within three years. You may attempt the PSQ and MCQ in any order, or simultaneously.

Updated on: 01/09/2023

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