A new competence statement for solicitors

A new competence statement for solicitors

By Julie Brannan, SRA Director of Education and Training, 1 April 2015

Today, 1 April, we have launched our new Competence Statement for solicitors. It is a major milestone in the delivery of our T4T programme of work.

We developed it with the support of a large number of people - around 2,000 solicitors, consumers and education and training providers helped us to identify the competences needed for effective practice as a solicitor. We are really grateful to them for their work.

The Competence Statement sets the standard for practice as a solicitor. It ties into continuing competence for practising solicitors as well as admission to the profession.

The Competence Statement is generic, so solicitors will need to apply it to their particular role and practice area. But it will help them think through whether their work is good enough, and to identify where they need to do some training or other development work.

So far as admission is concerned, the Competence Statement is what intending solicitors will be assessed on in order to qualify and it will form the heart of the new phase of our work to develop a new assessment framework for admission.

In the Autumn 2014 consultation on the Competence Statement, we identified three alternative options for the framework:

  •  a.

    Specification of pathways: the SRA would continue to authorise education and training providers to teach and assess specified pathways to qualification, against the requirements of the Competence Statement;

  •  b.

    Authorising pathways: education and training providers would apply for authorisation from the SRA to teach and assess pathways which we would not specify, against the requirements of the Competence Statement;

  •  c.

    Centralised assessment: introducing a new professional assessment for all intending solicitors, regardless of the pathway they have followed, instead of specifying pathways or authorising providers.



We are now evaluating each of these options. The key question for us is which of them best assures rigorous and consistent standards, whilst promoting fair access to the profession through a flexible range of pathways. We will issue a further consultation later this year on our assessment proposals.

We will keep the Competence Statement under review as we develop the assessment framework.