SRA Training Regulations 2014 - Qualification and Provider Regulations

Version 10 of the Handbook was published on 1 July 2014. In Version 10, the SRA Training Regulations 2014 - Qualification and Provider Regulations replace the SRA Training Regulations 2011 Part 1 - Qualification Regulations and the SRA Training Regulations 2011 Part 2 - Training Provider Regulations.

SRA Training Regulations 2014 - Qualification and Provider Regulations

Introduction to the Training Regulations 2014 - Qualification and Provider Regulations

Preamble

Authority: Made on the 6 June 2014 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority Board under section 2, 28, 79, and 80 of the Solicitors Act 1974, with the approval of the Legal Services Board under paragraph 19 of Schedule 4 to the Legal Services Act 2007.

Date: The regulations came into force on 1 July 2014.

Replacing: The SRA Training Regulations 2011 Part 1 - Qualification Regulations, the SRA Training Regulations Part 2 - Training Provider Regulations 2011 and the Monitoring of Courses Regulations 1991.

Regulating: Any individual seeking to be admitted as a solicitor and any organisation providing, or intending to provide, recognised training or the QLD, CPE, Exempting Law Degree, LPC or PSC. These regulations do not apply to those seeking admission under the SRA Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme Regulations 2011.

Overview

Outcomes-focused regulation concentrates on providing positive outcomes, which when achieved, will benefit and protect clients and the public. These regulations, together with the SRA Training Regulations 2011 Part 3 - Continuing Professional Development Regulations, form the SRA Training Regulations, which set out the outcomes-focused requirements governing the education and training for people seeking to be admitted as solicitors and those providing training.

Education and training underpins the regulation of solicitors - it ensures the creation of competent and ethical practitioners. We regulate and set requirements for all stages of pre-qualification training in order to ensure that individuals have achieved the required level of competency before admission as a solicitor.

The Principles

The regulations form part of the Handbook, in which the 10 mandatory Principles are all-pervasive. They apply to all those we regulate and to all aspects of practice. Outcomes relevant to education and training are listed beneath the Principles.

You must:

  1. uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice;
  2. act with integrity;
  3. not allow your independence to be compromised;
  4. act in the best interests of each client;
  5. provide a proper standard of service to your clients;
  6. behave in a way that maintains the trust the public places in you and in the provision of legal services;
  7. comply with your legal and regulatory obligations and deal with your regulators and ombudsmen in an open, timely and co-operative manner;
  8. run your business or carry out your role in the business effectively and in accordance with proper governance and sound financial risk management principles;
  9. run your business or carry out your role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity; and
  10. protect client money and assets.
Outcomes

The outcomes which apply to these regulations are that, if you qualify as a solicitor, you:

O(TR1)

will have achieved and demonstrated a standard of competence appropriate to the work you are carrying out;

O(TR2)

will have had such competence objectively assessed where appropriate;

O(TR3)

will have undertaken the appropriate practical training and workplace experience;

O(TR4)

are of proper character and suitability;

O(TR5)

will have achieved an appropriate standard of written and spoken English or Welsh; and

O(TR6)

act so that clients, and the wider public, have confidence that outcomes TR1-TR5 have been met.

You must achieve, and where relevant continue to meet, these outcomes.

These outcomes, and the regulations that flow from them, apply to unadmitted persons - i.e. those who are intending to become solicitors under these regulations - and to approved education providers, authorised education providers and authorised training providers. They do not apply to individuals who are entitled to seek admission through the QLTSR.

Part 1: Interpretation

Regulation 1: Interpretation and definitions
1.1

The SRA Handbook Glossary 2012 shall apply to these regulations and, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a)

all italicised terms shall be defined; and

(b)

all terms shall be interpreted;

in accordance with the Glossary.

Part 2: Education and training requirements

Regulation 2: Admission as a solicitor
2.1

We will admit you as a solicitor if:

(a)

you have completed:

(i)

the academic stage and vocational stage; or

(ii)

an apprenticeship.

(b)

you have complied with the SRA Admission Regulations; and

(c)

we are satisfied as to your character and suitability to be a solicitor in accordance with Part 1 of the SRA Suitability Test.

2.2

We may admit you as a solicitor if you have completed all or any part of 2.1(a)(i) by equivalent means.

2.3

Where 2.2 applies you must apply to us in writing in the prescribed form and support your application with such evidence as we consider necessary.

2.4

If you are subject to the QLTSR those regulations apply to your admission as a solicitor and you are not subject to these regulations.

2.5

You will have completed an apprenticeship for the purposes of 2.1(a)(ii) if you have met the requirements set out in the assessment plan for the Apprenticeship Standard for a Solicitor (England) or set out in the Apprenticeship Framework specified in the Level 7 Higher Apprenticeship in Legal Practice (Wales), including successfully passing an assessment which is either conducted by the SRA or approved by the SRA as suitable for the purpose.

Regulation 3: Eligibility to undertake the academic stage and vocational stage
3.1

Your eligibility to commence the academic stage will be determined according to the requirements, approved by us, of the approved education provider.

3.2

Your eligibility to commence the LPC will be determined according to the requirements, approved by us, of the authorised education provider.

Regulation 4: Vocational stage
4.1

To complete the vocational stage you must:

(a)

complete the LPC with an authorised education provider;

(b)

complete a period of recognised training with an authorised training provider; and

(c)

complete the Professional Skills Course with an authorised education provider;

unless we are satisfied that you have completed all or any part of the academic stage or the vocational stage by equivalent means.

Regulation 5: Recognised training
5.1

Subject to regulation 2.2, and unless you fall within 2.1(a)(ii), you must complete a period of recognised training before we admit you as a solicitor.

5.2

The recognised training is required to enable you to meet the Practice Skills Standards and comply with the Principles and shall normally be not less than two years if undertaken full time or pro-rata if part time.

5.3

You must maintain a record of training in accordance with regulation 14.

5.4

If at any time we are not satisfied that you have received or are receiving adequate training, we may:

(a)

refuse to recognise all or any part of the training undertaken;

(b)

require you to undertake further training; or

(c)

impose any condition or take any other action that we consider necessary.

5.5

Your  training principal must certify to us in the prescribed form that you have completed the recognised training required by regulation 5.

5.6

We may recognise a period or periods of training which meet our published requirements for recognised training where appropriate to do so, including where a training principal for any reason has not certified completion of recognised training under regulation 5.5.

Regulation 6: Character and suitability
6.1

You must disclose any issue to us which may cause you not to meet the outcomes of the SRA Suitability Test:

(a)

before you commence any period of recognised training, or;

(b)

if the issue occurs after commencement, during any period of recognised training.

6.2

You may ask us to assess any issue which may cause you not to meet the outcomes of the SRA Suitability Test before commencement of the LPC.

6.3

If you have either disclosed an issue as required by regulation 6.1, or asked us to assess an issue under regulation 6.2, which may cause you not to meet the outcomes of the SRA Suitability Test, you are not eligible to commence recognised training until we have determined that you satisfy the outcomes of the SRA Suitability Test.

6.4

If you fail to meet the requirements of regulation 6.1 we may refuse to recognise training undertaken during this period and treat your failure to notify us as prima facie evidence of dishonest behaviour.

6.5

We may determine on the grounds of your character and suitability to be a solicitor that you are not eligible to commence or continue recognised training. You may make up to three further applications for eligibility to commence recognised training where there has been a material change in circumstances after intervals of not less than 12 months from the final determination of your previous application.

6.6

By making a request for assessment of a character and suitability issue under regulation 6.1 or 6.2 you become subject to these regulations.

6.7

You must disclose any new character and suitability issue to us at any time:

(a)

following a request for assessment of a character and suitability issue under regulation 6.1 or 6.2 but before we have reached a decision; or

(b)

after commencing a period of recognised training.

6.8

If during a period of recognised training you disclose a character and suitability issue under regulation 6.1 and/or 6.6 to us, or we discover a character and suitability issue, which may require assessment under the SRA Suitability Test, we may:

(a)

permit you to continue recognised training;

(b)

require you to suspend your recognised training pending our assessment of the issue;

(c)

not recognise part or all of that training if we decide that you do not have the required character and suitability, or;

(d)

apply such conditions to your training as we consider appropriate.

Regulation 7: Exemptions from the academic stage
7.1

You may be entitled to credit for prior certified or experiential learning which may entitle you to exemption from assessment in some subjects required by the Joint Statement. Applications for credit for prior learning shall be made to the approved education provider in accordance with its policies and procedures for accreditation of prior learning.

Part 3: Approved education providers and authorised education providers requirements

Regulation 8: Approved education providers
8.1

Only an approved education provider may provide and assess:

(a)

a QLD;

(b)

a CPE; or

(c)

an Exempting Law Degree.

8.2

An organisation may apply to us in the prescribed form to be an approved education provider.

Regulation 9: Authorised education providers
9.1

Only an authorised education provider may provide and assess the LPC and/or the PSC.

9.2

We may grant any approval or authorisation under regulation 8.2 and 9.1 respectively, subject to conditions and for such period, as we consider appropriate.

9.3

We may from time to time monitor the relevant programmes of study provided by an approved education provider and authorised education provider, including visiting the provider's premises.

Part 4: Authorised training providers requirements

Regulation 10: Authorised training providers
10.1

Only an authorised training provider may provide recognised training to trainee solicitors.

10.2

To provide recognised training an authorised training provider must:

(a)

meet the requirements for authorisation set out in regulation 11;

(b)

have a training principal who meets the requirements of regulation 13, and notify us in the prescribed form;

(c)

meet the requirements for recognised training set out in regulation 12;

(d)

notify us in the prescribed form of any individual who will commence a period of recognised training with the authorised training provider;

(e)

pay the fees and expenses for their trainees' first attempt at the PSC, and

(f)

pay their trainees:

(i)

until 31 July 2014, at least the minimum salary prescribed by us;

(ii)

from 1 August 2014, at least the single hourly rate of the national minimum wage specified in regulation 11 of the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999.

Regulation 11: Requirements for authorisation as a training provider
11.1

To become an authorised training provider, an organisation must make an application in the prescribed form.

11.2

An application submitted under regulation 11.1 should declare that the organisation is able to provide training:

(a)

and experience in at least three distinct areas of English and Welsh law and practice;

(b)

to enable a trainee to develop the skills needed to meet the Practice Skills Standards and comply with the Principles;

(c)

which is appropriately supervised; and

(d)

which meets the requirements of regulation 12.

11.3

We may refuse to authorise any organisation or may grant authorisation with or without conditions and for such period as we consider appropriate.

Regulation 12: Requirements of recognised training
12.1

An authorised training provider must provide a trainee with training which:

(a)

is supervised by solicitors and other individuals who have the necessary skills and experience to provide effective supervision, to ensure that the trainee has relevant learning and development opportunities and personal support to enable the trainee to meet the Practice Skills Standards;

(b)

provides practical experience in at least three distinct areas of English and Welsh law and practice;

(c)

provides appropriate training to ensure that the trainee knows the requirements of the Principles and is able to comply with them; and

(d)

includes regular review and appraisal of the trainee's performance and development in respect of the Practice Skills Standards and the Principles, and the trainee's record of training.

12.2

If an authorised training provider is not able to provide training in all areas of the Practice Skills Standards or in at least three distinct areas of English and Welsh law and practice, the requirements of regulations 12.1(a) and 12.1(b) may be satisfied by a secondment of the trainee.

12.3

An authorised training provider may recognise previous relevant work-based experience undertaken by the trainee as satisfying up to six months of the required period of recognised training.

12.4

An authorised training provider must notify us in the prescribed form of any change in the training principal.

12.5

An authorised training provider must certify to us in the form we prescribe that the trainee:

(a)

is of the proper character and suitability to be admitted as a solicitor, and;

(b)

has completed the recognised training required by regulation 5.

Regulation 13: Training principal
13.1

A training principal must:

(a)

hold a current practising certificate or be a practising barrister;

(b)

be competent to meet the requirements of these regulations;

(c)

ensure that the training provided meets the requirements of regulation 12;

(d)

ensure that the trainee maintains a record of training which will meet the requirements of regulation 14; and

(e)

ensure that any person involved in the training and supervision of a trainee has adequate legal knowledge and experience in the practice area they are supervising and the skills to provide effective supervision.

Regulation 14: Record of training
14.1

The trainee must maintain a record of training which:

(a)

contains details of the work performed;

(b)

records how the trainee has acquired, applied and developed their skills by reference to the Practice Skills Standards and the Principles;

(c)

records the trainee's reflections on his or her performance and development plans; and

(d)

is verified by the individual(s) supervising the trainee.

Regulation 15: Monitoring of recognised training
15.1

We may monitor the training provided by an authorised training provider. Monitoring may include a visit to the authorised training provider.

Regulation 16: Revocation of authorised training status and refusal to recognise training
16.1

We may revoke authorised training provider status or grant continued authorisation subject to conditions where the authorised training provider has not complied with these regulations or our requirements.

16.2

Where the authorised training provider or the trainee has not complied with these regulations or our requirements, we may refuse to recognise any training received by the trainee as a period of recognised training.

Part 5: Right of review and waivers

Regulation 17: Right of review
17.1

If we have:

(a)

refused to grant approved education provider status, or granted approval or authorisation subject to conditions under regulation 8;

(b)

refused to grant authorised education provider status, or granted approval or authorisation subject to conditions under regulation 9;

(c)

refused to grant authorised training provider status or granted authorisation subject to conditions under regulation 11;

(d)

revoked authorised training provider status or imposed conditions under regulation 16.1;

(e)

refused to recognise a period of training under regulations 5.5 or 16.2; or

(f)

determined that an individual is not eligible to commence or continue recognised training under regulation 6.4;

the applicant may apply to us in writing for a review of the decision within one month of receiving notification of it.

17.2

Where we have determined that an individual is not eligible to commence or continue recognised training and have subsequently upheld that decision following a review under regulation 17.1, that individual has a right of appeal under regulation 2.1 of the SRA Admission Regulations.

17.3

If an organisation is seeking a review of our decision relating to its status as an authorised training provider, the organisation must not permit a new trainee to commence a proposed period of recognised training until the outcome of the review is determined. For trainees already in periods of recognised training, we reserve the right to recognise or refuse to recognise part or all of their training in accordance with regulation 5.4.

Regulation 18: Waiver of regulations
18.1

In any particular case we may waive in writing any of these regulations, in accordance with the requirements of our waivers policy.

Part 6: Forms and fees

Regulation 19: Forms and fees
19.1

Any application made to us or notice or certification given to us under these regulations must be in the prescribed form and accompanied by the prescribed fee.

19.2

We may require an applicant to support any application under these regulations by such evidence as we consider necessary.

Part 7: Commencement, repeal and transitional provisions

Regulation 20: Commencement and repeal provisions
20.1

These regulations come into force on 1 July 2014 or the date of approval of the Legal Services Board, whichever is the later.

20.2

The SRA Training Regulations 2011 Part 1 - Qualification Regulations, the SRA Training Regulations 2011 Part 2 - Training Provider Regulations, and the Monitoring of Courses Regulations 1991 are repealed on 30 June 2014.

Regulation 21: Transition from previous regulations
21.1

If your organisation was authorised or recognised under the SRA Training Regulations 2011 and/or the Monitoring of Courses Regulations 1991 your authorisations continue under these, the 2014 regulations. This means:

(a)

QLD , CPE and Exempting Law Degree providers are authorised and regulated as approved education providers;

(b)

LPC and PSC providers are authorised and regulated as authorised education providers;

(c)

training establishments and training contract consortia are authorised and regulated as authorised training providers.

21.2

Any applications submitted under the Monitoring of Courses Regulations 1991 before 1 July 2014 that have not yet been decided upon by that date will be considered and decided upon under these, the 2014 regulations.

21.3

A training contract entered into on or before 30 June 2014 will continue to governed by the SRA Training Regulations 2011, unless the parties agree by mutual consent to adopt these, the 2014 regulations and they notify their agreement to us in the prescribed form.