THE INSTITUTE of Legal Executives (Ilex) has unveiled a new distance learning course to provide accreditation for solicitor's representatives.
The scheme was launched after the Legal Aid Board's decision to cut funding for the provision of legal advice in police stations.
From February, only representatives accredited by the Law Society or registered as probationary representatives with the board will be funded.
Ilex president, Marron Dodds lawyer Philip Partridge, says the course - the Police Station Representatives' Accreditation Scheme - will be offered both by distance learning or through one of the institute's 29 testing centres throughout the UK.
The scheme, which comprises three elements including a portfolio of reports on police station visits, a written test and a "critical incidents" test, will be available to all members and fellows of Ilex, along with other solicitors' representatives.
Home study courses can be started immediately, and Partridge says representatives starting now should expect to be accredited before the February cut-off date.
"The institute believes that the outcome of the testing is so important because people really only have one opportunity to become accredited before 1 February. We feel that more extensive training facilities should be made available for this reason."