Moving forward: Joint Academic Stage Board dissolved from 31 December 2013
2 December 2013 - Our new approach to assuring qualifying law degrees and the Common Professional Examination/Graduate Diploma in Law will take effect from January 2014. Validated programmes remain validated.
Regulation of Education and Training
The Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board are moving forward.
Following consultation between the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board (BSB), we have agreed a new approach to assuring Qualifying Law Degrees (QLD) and the Common Professional Examination/Graduate Diploma in Law (CPE/GDL). This will take effect from 1 January 2014.
The Joint Academic Stage Board (JASB), which has acted in this regard on behalf of the regulatory bodies for a number of years, will be dissolved with effect from 31 December 2013.
The joint remit of the SRA and the BSB remains in force, and our joint requirements for QLDs and the CPE/GDL remain as stated in the Joint Statement on completion of the academic stage of training. The Joint Statement will remain in place.
From January 2014 onwards, we will be operating a new approach which is based on two basic principles. In summary form, these are:
- to remove the duplication of our oversight of academic standards and quality with that of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), and, instead, to rely on the required compliance of Higher Education Institutions with QAA's Quality Code for Higher Education, and the outcomes of the QAA review. The QAA framework constitutes a robust academic and educational regime;
- to continue to monitor and ensure compliance with the Joint Statement.
Providers of QLDs and the CPE/GDL will be required to self-certify, with supporting documents, compliance with the Joint Statement and QAA standards and quality assurance requirements. The SRA will act as administrators on behalf of both regulators, and we will monitor the self-certification documents.
A copy of the self-declaration form and a new Academic Stage Handbook will be available on this website shortly.
Academic Stage information from the BSB
Joint Academic Stage Board handbook
The Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board work jointly to regulate the academic stage of training, and have established a joint committee, the Joint Academic Stage Board (JASB) to facilitate this joint approach.
JASB has produced a handbook for the validation of qualifying law degrees (QLDs) and law conversion courses—the Common Professional Examination (CPE) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL). This is the official reference document for QLD and CPE/GDL courses, which must be adhered to by all providers of these qualifications.
Qualifying law degrees
A list of institutions providing qualifying law degrees is available.
The Training Regulations 2011 are rules that govern all aspects of qualifying as a solicitor. The provisions of the Training Regulations are supplemented by an extensive body of subordinate regulations.
The Joint Statement on Qualifying Law Degrees (PDF 51K), prepared jointly by the Law Society and the Bar Standards Board, sets out the conditions a law degree course must meet in order to be termed a "qualifying law degree". This version applies to all law degrees commenced after 1 September 2001.
The Joint Academic Stage Board of the SRA and the Bar Standards Board offers guidance to higher education institutions on determining the level of learning resources they commit to a course of study that is recognised as a qualifying law degree. Based around a series of precepts, Joint Academic Stage Board: Guidance on the determination of learning resources for recognised law programmes (PDF 230K) deals with matters such as human resources, staff development, physical resources and student support.
A library for the modern law school (PDF, 59 pages, 452K) is a statement of standards for university law provision in the UK prepared by the Society of Legal Scholars. These standards aim to assist law libraries to meet students' research and teaching needs and objectives in university law schools.
Completing the academic stage of training: Guidance for providers of recognised law programmes (PDF, 21 pages, 266K) is designed for anyone who—in a professional capacity—provides advice to individuals intending to qualify as a solicitor. The elements of the academic stage of training are outlined, and the process of completing the academic stage of training is explained. The guidance describes SRA policies and conventions; it also addresses queries frequently raised by students and higher education institutions.
Important information about LLB awards
The LLB upgrades/top-ups to the Graduate Diploma in Law programmes offered by some institutions are not recognised by the SRA as Qualifying Law Degrees, as commonly understood or as set out in the Joint Statement on Qualifying Law Degrees. This does not affect the status of the Graduate Diploma in Law which, if successfully completed, will satisfy the regulatory bodies requirements of the academic stage of training. Please contact the institutions concerned if you have any queries about these awards.
Award of LLB after completion of the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course
A number of institutions award an LLB to students who have successfully completed their Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course. These awards are not recognised by the SRA as Qualifying Law Degrees, as commonly understood or as set out in the Joint Statement on Qualifying Law Degrees. This does not affect the status of the Graduate Diploma in Law which, if successfully completed, will satisfy the regulatory bodies requirements of the academic stage of training, or the status of the Legal Practice Course which, if successfully completed, will satisfy in part the SRA's requirements of the vocational stage of training. Please contact the institution concerned for more details about these awards.
Find out more about student enrolment.