Applying for Common Professional Examination exemption

You can no longer apply for a full exemption from the Common Professional Examination unless you meet our LPC route transitional requirements. If you do not meet these, you will need to qualify under the SQE.

Where universities are authorised to grant partial CPE exemptions, this must have been granted before 31 August 2021 (inclusive). They also need to have started any outstanding modules on or before 31 December 2021.

Unfortunately, some people are experiencing a problem with our application form. In some cases, applicants have been unable to complete the CILEX and Other Applicant sections. If this happens to you, please add this evidence to a separate Word document and upload it with your application.

What is this exemption for?

This is an application for full exemption from the requirement to complete the Common Professional Examination (CPE). If you wish to apply for partial exemption, you must do so when applying to your CPE provider to enrol on their course.

What you need

You need to demonstrate the seven Foundations of Legal Knowledge. These are:

  • Criminal Law
  • Equity and Trusts
  • Law of the European Union
  • Obligations 1 (Contract)
  • Obligations 2 (Tort)
  • Property/Land Law
  • Public Law (Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Human Rights Law).

In addition, you must demonstrate one additional substantive area of law. You must demonstrate all the above by certificated learning and/or work-based learning.

Open all

We will ask you to tell us about:

  • your general education and diplomas
  • professional examinations you have passed
  • courses attended
  • professional experience and employment

For certificated learning, we will only recognise academic credit that has led to a qualification or a certificate. Examinations on each topic must have been passed at 40 percent or above. You need to provide certified copies of your qualification or certificates, transcripts and module descriptors.

If you are claiming an exemption based on an award obtained outside of the UK, the awarding body must be recognised by UK ENIC.

For work-based learning, your evidence will need to confirm the work carried out, how it meets all the CPE requirements and must be corroborated by your employer.

You must make sure that your referee(s) have read this information.

References must:

  • be provided for each period of experience claimed
  • be written for the purpose of this application and be dated within the last three months
  • be submitted on letter headed paper.

Referees must:

have supervised you directly as a general employment reference is not enough
  • read your application, reviewed all supporting evidence before corroborating your experience and confirm that they have done so in their reference
  • familiarised themselves with the CPE course content and refer directly to this when providing their reference(s)
  • include examples from their direct observation of your work.

If your supervisors are not solicitors, ask them for a statement outlining their skills, experience and qualifications. These must be relevant to supervising your legal work. They may also wish to comment on how familiar they are with the CPE course content.

You must redact all samples of your work to remove sensitive or identifying information. We will not accept non-redacted documents.

It is essential that the document index is completed correctly and uploaded as part of your application.

How to complete the document index

Please makes sure that:

  • When you save your documents, and before uploading them to your application, you name each one with the document number at the start. This means that your documents will be uploaded in the order that you have chosen (see example below)
  • there are no spaces in any part of the document name
  • the same document numbers are entered in section 6 of your application in the final column headed - Evidence to support your application.

Here is an example of a completed document index.

Doc no Description (document name) Date No of pages
1 1referenceABC 01/01/2020 3
2 2appraisalABC 31/01/2019 8
3 3worksamplesABC 01/03/2019 25
4 4referenceSmith&co 14/01/2020 2
5 5appraisalSmith&co 01/05/2018 6
6 6worksamplesSmith&co 15/04/2018 20

We suggest that you complete the index as you progress through the application. Please make sure that each piece of evidence is included in the final index.

The number of lines is not an indication of the volume of documents you need to send. It is for you to decide on what you think is relevant to show your work knowledge. You may continue on a separate sheet if necessary.

How we use your document index

This index will be used by your caseworker and the assessor as part of their assessment of your application. They will cross reference your evidence to each of the outcomes, so clear alignment is vital.

We may not accept your application if this index is not included with your evidence, or not completed correctly.

You can pay by credit or debit card, the fee for this application is £55.

Making your application

You will need to make your application by applying online in mySRA. First, you will need to create an account to log into mySRA. Watch our video to find out how.

You may find it useful to have this guidance open in a separate device or browser window to help you complete all the steps.

You will need to download the application and document index on the 'Getting Started' page in mySRA, before you can start to complete it.

Always save a back-up copy of your application to your hard drive.

To return to your application once you have started it, go to ‘my applications and documents.’

You may be completing this application over several weeks. When you are ready to submit your application click START APPLICATION on the Getting Started page to upload it along with the index and all supporting documents.

We aim to provide you with a decision within 90 days of receiving your application.

Exemption from the Common Professional Examination (CPE) by equivalent means

Log in to mySRA to apply, go to start a new application