Version 1 of the Handbook was published on 16 September 2011, and was superseded by Version 2 on 23 December 2011. For more information, click "History" above.
You can satisfy the academic stage of training by satisfactorily completing:
a Diploma in Law; or
an Exempting Law Degree or Integrated Course.
In exceptional circumstances we may accept such other evidence of academic ability as we think fit as equivalent to completion of the academic stage for the purposes of regulation 3.1 if you complete a course of study for one of the qualifications referred to in that regulation.
Notwithstanding regulation 3.5, if you fall under regulation 3.1 you must obtain a certificate from us within the prescribed time limit confirming that you have satisfied the academic stage before proceeding to the vocational stage.
If you are studying an Exempting Law Degree or Integrated Course you must obtain a certificate confirming that you have satisfied the academic stage by virtue of regulation 3.1(d) from us within the prescribed time limit before you enter into a training contract.
If you enter into a part-time study training contract under regulation 22 whilst studying a course under regulation 3.1, you are not required to obtain a certificate of completion of the academic stage before commencing work under that contract. You must obtain a certificate of completion from us before you are admitted.
The Joint Statement on Qualifying Law Degrees (PDF 51K), prepared jointly by the SRA and the BSB, sets out the conditions a law degree course must meet in order to be termed a QLD.
is responsible for the setting and implementation of policies for the academic stage, as well as validation and review of QLDs, Diplomas in Law, and CPEs. The JASB's policies, as well as those of the SRA and BSB, are contained in the Joint Academic Stage Handbook.
If regulation 3.1 applies to you, you must apply to us for a certificate of completion and lodge such evidence as we may require.
We will not grant a certificate of completion on an application made later than seven years after 1 October in the year in which you satisfactorily completed a QLD, Diploma in Law or a CPE unless we are satisfied that:
special reasons exist for granting the certificate; and
you have complied with such requirements as to courses of study, written tests or otherwise as we may have imposed as a condition of granting the certificate.
Subject to regulation 4.2, if we are satisfied that you have satisfactorily completed a QLD, a Diploma in Law or a CPE, we will issue a certificate stating that you have completed the academic stage of training.
If we refuse your application for a certificate in respect of a degree or diploma, we may accept your degree or diploma as entitling you to take a CPE under regulations 6 and 8.
A certificate remains in force for seven years after 1 October in the year in which you satisfactorily completed a QLD, Diploma in Law or a CPE.
If you wish to qualify as a solicitor and your certificate of completion of the academic stage has expired, you must satisfactorily complete the full CPE.
We have the discretion to revalidate expired certificates of completion of the academic stage if we are satisfied that you have undertaken ongoing legal updating. This may include active engagement in legal work or a role as a legal educator throughout the period after completing the QLD, Diploma in Law or CPE. We are unlikely to exercise this discretion if your qualifications are more than ten years old.
To be eligible to attempt a CPE, you must:
hold a degree (other than an honorary degree) conferred by an institution in England and Wales empowered by the Privy Council to award degrees or by a university in the UK or the Republic of Ireland or by the Council for National Academic Awards before its dissolution on 31 March 1993 or a licence awarded by the University College of Buckingham before that college was granted university status;
hold a degree (other than an honorary degree) conferred by a university outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland which we consider to be of a standard at least equivalent to that of a degree conferred by a university in the UK;
be accepted by us as a mature student;
be a FILEX;
be a MILEX who has at least three years' qualifying employment;
hold such qualification in Magisterial Law awarded after satisfactory completion of a relevant course as we recognise from time to time;
have attained such academic and vocational qualifications as we consider to be equivalent to a first degree under regulation 6.1(a); or
be directed to pass the CPE by us due to expiration of the certificate of completion of the academic stage under regulation 5.2.
In exceptional circumstances we may accept such other evidence of academic eligibility as we think fit if you have completed a course of study for a degree at an institution referred to in regulation 6.1(a) or (b) but have not graduated.
You may apply to us for an exemption from any of the foundations of legal knowledge and the other area of legal study in a CPE if you have passed corresponding subjects within a degree programme, subject to the restrictions in regulation 7.4.
We may grant an exemption if we are satisfied that you have passed any assessments and examinations in any of the foundations of legal knowledge or other area of legal study approved by us as being substantially equivalent to the CPE areas/subjects from which you seek exemption.
If you are a FILEX or MILEX, you can claim full or partial exemption from the CPE if you have passed corresponding papers in the level six membership examinations. Exemptions cannot be claimed if you have obtained exemption from ILEX membership examinations by:
having passed corresponding subjects as part of a failed QLD; or
having passed corresponding law papers in a law degree that is not a QLD because it was not completed within the maximum time period.
You can only apply for exemptions from four or more CPE subjects. Exemptions will only be considered if the degree has been awarded, irrespective of whether individual law subjects have been passed.
If you have passed three or fewer subjects, you cannot apply for an exemption and must complete the CPE in full.
If we are satisfied that you are entitled to be granted exemption from any of the foundations of legal knowledge or the one other area of legal study in a CPE, we may issue a Certificate of Exemption stating any foundation or foundations of legal knowledge and the one other area of legal study which you must pass in order to complete a CPE.
If you are taking only one or two CPE subjects as a result of an SRA exemption, you must begin your studies no later than 1 October of the year prior to the year in which you attempt the examinations and assessments.
Regulations 7.4 and 7.5 mean that you can either apply for exemptions from:
four foundations of legal knowledge subjects;
three of the foundations of legal knowledge and one further area of legal study; or
more than four subjects.
You can apply for a CPE exemption on this website.
You can only attend a CPE if you have satisfied a JASB-approved CPE provider that your qualifications are within the categories contained in regulation 6.1(a) to (g), or that regulation 6.1(h) or 6.2 applies to you.
If you attend a CPE you must comply with any rules or regulations approved by the JASB and those of the CPE provider in force at that time.
You are required to complete the CPE with one provider. If, for exceptional circumstances, you need to transfer from one provider to another, you must apply to us providing such evidence as we may require.
You can apply for transfers between CPE providers on our website.
You may not commence the vocational stage of training before satisfactorily completing the academic stage of training, unless you are studying an Integrated Course or Exempting Law Degree or you enter into a part-time study training contract in accordance with regulation 22.