Apply for an individual SQE assessment exemption

What is an exemption?

When a qualified lawyer does not have to sit one or more of the SQE assessments.

To get an exemption, your legal qualification and/or experience must be same as the assessment content and standard, which is based on English and Welsh law.

Who can apply?

SQE assessments exemption are only available to qualified lawyers. This is someone who has a legal professional qualification which allows them to practise in the UK or an international jurisdiction.

You need to have one or more of these practising rights:

  • Criminal litigation (including advising clients at the police station) 
  • Civil litigation, which is referred to as dispute resolution on the form
  • Property practice 
  • Wills and intestacy, probate administration and practice 
  • Business organisations rules and procedures

We will check that your qualification gives you the right to practise when you apply for admission as a solicitor. You will need to give us a certificate of good standing from your law society or bar.

Please be aware that we cannot grant partial exemptions from any assessment.

Which exemption can you applying for?

Agreed exemption only

Please check that your legal qualification has an exemption before applying. You must have been admitted in a relevant jurisdiction to apply for any agreed exemption.

If you only want to apply for an agreed exemptions, find out how to do this

For solicitors qualified in Scotland, find out how to apply for your exemption.

Agreed and additional exemptions 

If your qualification has an agreed exemption, for example from SQE2, you may wish to apply for an SQE1 exemption as well. This will be based on your qualifications and/or work experience. 

Take a look at what evidence will need to show us.

New exemptions

These are the three exemptions you can apply for:  

  • SQE1 Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) 1
  • SQE1 Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) 2
  • SQE2

We will not grant exemptions from part of an assessment.

You must show how your qualifications and/or experience are based on a legal system that is not substantially different from that in England and Wales. If you cannot show this, we will not be able to grant exemptions from the assessments.

Additionally your qualification (or related jurisdiction) must require you to comply with a code of conduct or ethical obligations that are similar to those in the SRA Code of Conduct.

Exemptions from SQE1 (FLK1 and/or FLK2) assessments

Your evidence will need to show us that: 

  1. Your qualification(s) and/or experience cover the areas of law which are assessed in SQE1, FLK1 and/or FLK2 and
  2. The law of these qualifications or the law which you have practised in your work experience is not substantially different to the law of England and Wales. 

Exemptions from SQE2 assessment

If you have the same practice rights as a solicitor of England and Wales, and at least two years' professional legal work experience (or equivalent), you may be exempt from SQE2. 

You will need to demonstrate how your experience is equivalent to these five practice rights:

  • Criminal litigation (including advising clients at the police station) 
  • Civil litigation, which is referred to as dispute resolution on the form
  • Property practice 
  • Wills and intestacy, probate administration and practice 
  • Business organisations rules and procedures

Where a candidate doesn’t have two years' professional legal work experience, we will require further evidence. This would need to demonstrate how their qualification and experience is equivalent in content and standard to the SQE2 Assessment Specification.

The practical legal skills you need to demonstrate is equivalent to level three of our SRA Threshold Standard.

What to do before applying

Make sure you have added your legal qualifications and jurisdictions in mySRA within 'My profile'. You will not be to apply for an exemption until you do this.

To do this, you will need to create a mySRA account. If you already have one, you will need to log in.

Fee

 The application fee is £265. 

How to complete your application

Open all

Fill in your personal details. 

You need to provide details of the law society, bar or other authority you are qualified under, including your current professional title, date of qualification and registration number. You will also need to provide the contact details for the law society, bar or other authority.

You will then need to confirm whether you hold any of the following practice rights in your jurisdiction: 

  • Criminal litigation 
  • Civil litigation, which is referred to as dispute resolution on the form
  • Property practice 
  • Wills and intestacy, probate administration and practice 
  • Business organisations, rules and procedures 

Please tell us if your jurisdiction/qualification’s Code of Conduct or any ethical obligations include these requirements:

  • upholding the proper administration of justice and the constitutional principles of your jurisdiction or of the rule of law 
  • upholding public trust and confidence in your profession and in legal services provided by lawyers in your jurisdiction 
  • acting with independence 
  • acting with honesty and integrity 
  • acting in a way that encourages equality, diversity and inclusion 
  • acting in the best interests of each of your clients 

The obligations set out above may be expressed differently in other jurisdiction/qualification’s Codes of Conduct or ethical obligations.

You will need to choose which exemptions you are applying for. These can be either agreed exemptions for your qualification or new/additional exemptions. 

Agreed exemptions (only)

Find out what exemptions are available and how to apply for them. 

4a – Agreed and additional exemptions

If your qualification has an agreed exemption, for example from SQE2, you may wish to apply for an SQE1 exemption as well. This will be based on your qualifications and/or work experience. 

If you want to apply for these, please tick section 4a and then complete section 4b.

4b – New exemptions

Please complete this section for an individual exemption (new or additional).

You can apply based on your legal or other qualifications and/or professional legal work experience.

Evidence you can use include: 

  • your professional legal qualification which gives you practise rights
  • a personal qualification (undergraduate or Master's degree, diploma, CPD courses etc) 
  • your own professional legal work experience. 

If you are using work experience as evidence, you will need to tell us about the organisation where it was gained, including: 

  • organisation name 
  • organisation SRA number (if applicable) 
  • the length of the period of work experience 
  • your job title 
  • the name of any supervisor(s) and their SRA number(s) (if applicable) 
  • the legal qualification of your supervisor(s) 

To grant an exemption from the SQE1 FLK1 assessment, we must be satisfied that your qualifications and/or experience are not substantially different in content and standard to the SQE. 

You will need to show us that your qualifications and/or experience are equivalent to FLK1 - both content (coverage of the areas of law) and standard (the standard of a newly qualified solicitor in England and Wales).

Please be aware we cannot grant partial exemptions.

In the assessment table under 'Please tell us how these areas are covered by your professional legal qualification', you should provide details showing that it:

  • covers content which is not substantially different to the areas of English and Welsh law assessed in FLK1
  • is of a standard comparable to level three of our Threshold Standard - the standard of a newly qualified solicitor.

Under 'If these areas are covered by another qualification or experience, please tell us how', include any other relevant qualifications, and your professional experience. This should:  

  • cover content which is not substantially different to the areas of English and Welsh law assessed in FLK1
  • be exercised at a standard which is comparable to level three of our Threshold Standard - the standard of a newly qualified solicitor.

You must also provide evidence that:

  • the law in the jurisdiction where you gained your professional qualification or experience is not substantially different from the law in England and Wales. It is not sufficient to state that your jurisdiction's law resembles or is based on that of England and Wales. You must provide evidence, for each of the areas of law assessed in FLK1, that the law is not substantially different.
  • your qualification requires you to adhere to a code of conduct or ethical obligations similar to our SRA Principles and SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors, RELs and RFLs. 

Supporting evidence

You must include the following evidence within your application:

  • other qualifications through certificates and transcripts
  • all work experience must be corroborated by detailed references from your supervisor(s)
  • redacted relevant samples of your work.

You can use evidence for more than one area of law or more than one skill.

Examples

'I am a qualified lawyer and hold English and Welsh qualifications such as a law degree or the Legal Practice Course which cover the subjects assessed in FLK1. I wish to apply for an exemption from SQE1 FLK1.'

Your qualification may meet our requirement in respect of content, that is, you may have studied the areas of law assessed in FLK1. However, as these qualifications are not set at the standard of a newly qualified solicitor, they will not on their own be sufficient evidence to grant you an exemption.

You would need to submit additional evidence to show that you have met the standard of a newly qualified solicitor. For example, you could submit evidence about your experience as a practising lawyer, if this was in a jurisdiction whose law is not substantially different to the law in England and Wales – use the relevant column in sections 5 and 6 of the form.

For an exemption to be granted, you would have to show that your experience covered all of the law assessed in the assessments you seek exemption from, at the level of a newly qualified solicitor. We are not able to accept applications where there are any gaps in relation to the law assessed in FLK1.

'I am a qualified lawyer who has studied all the areas of legal knowledge in FLK1. I qualified in, and practise in, a jurisdiction which has law that is not substantially different from that of England and Wales. However, my professional Code of Conduct does not have the duties set out in the SRA Principles and SRA Code of Conduct.'

Because your qualification does not require you to adhere to a code of conduct or ethical obligations that are similar to those in our SRA Principles and our SRA Code of Conduct, you will not be entitled to an exemption from SQE1 FLK1. Depending on your experience, you may be entitled to exemption from SQE2.

Guidance for referees

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

All references must: 

  • be provided for each period of experience claimed 
  • be written for the purposes of this application and dated within the last 3 months 
  • be submitted on letterheaded paper. 

Referees must:

  • Have provided direct supervision and have made it clear in their reference what the supervision arrangements were
  • have read your application and reviewed all supporting evidence before corroborating your experience and confirm that they have done so in their reference 
  • include examples from their direct observation of your work 
  • confirm the dates they supervised you. 

How to show your experience and provide work samples

Here is a suggestion for how you could complete the assessment table, using the Business Law and Practice section as an example.

Area of functioning legal knowledge Please tell us how these areas are covered by your qualification If these areas are covered by another qualification or experience, please tell us how Please tell us how the law covered by your qualification, which you have practiced in your work experience, is not substantially different to the law of England and Wales Evidence in support, eg academic qualifications or awards, reference, samples of work etc

1.

Business Law and Practice

Business organisations, rules and procedures

1.1  Business and organisational characteristics (sole trader / partnership / LLP / private and unlisted public limited companies) 

Give a broad overview of your knowledge and the skills you have developed, providing specific examples to illustrate. 

Make sure that you explain:

  • the scenario
  •  your involvement 
  • the skills you demonstrated the final outcome.

Example here 

Example here 

Evidence in support eg reference or work sample. 

For example, redacted emails to supervisor, page 16

Document 33 record of telephone call with client 

Document 35, page 4, letter to other parties’ solicitor

1.2  Legal personality and limited liability 

Give a broad overview of your knowledge and the skills you have developed, providing specific examples to illustrate. 

Make sure that you explain: 

  • the scenario 
  • your involvement
  • the skills you demonstrated the final outcome. 

Example 

Example 

Evidence in support eg reference, samples of work. 

For example, reference letter from J Bloggs & Co. 

1.3  Procedures and documentation required to incorporate a company / form a partnership / LLP and other steps required under companies and partnerships legislation to enable the entity to commence operating: 

constitutional documents 

Companies House filing requirements 

Give a broad overview of your knowledge and the skills you have developed, providing specific examples to illustrate. 

Make sure that you explain: 

  • the scenario 
  • your involvement 
  • the skills you demonstrated 
  • the final outcome. 

State which distinct area of law and practice you achieved the outcome. 

EG ABC & Co 

Evidence in support eg reference, appraisal document, samples of work 

Your evidence and work samples should support your examples. Please make sure you redact all samples to remove sensitive or identifying information. 

We will not accept non-redacted documents. 

To grant an exemption from the SQE1 FLK2 assessment, we must be satisfied that your qualifications and/or experience are not substantially different in content and standard to the SQE. 

You will need to show us that your qualifications and/or experience are equivalent to FLK2 - both content (coverage of the areas of law) and standard (the standard of a newly qualified solicitor in England and Wales).

Please be aware we cannot grant partial exemptions.

In the assessment table under 'Please tell us how these areas are covered by your professional legal qualification', you should provide details showing that it:

  • covers content which is not substantially different to the areas of English and Welsh law assessed in FLK2
  • is of a standard comparable to level three of our Threshold Standard - the standard of a newly qualified solicitor.

Under 'If these areas are covered by another qualification or experience, please tell us how', include any other relevant qualifications, and your professional experience. This should:  

  • cover content which is not substantially different to the areas of English and Welsh law assessed in FLK2
  • be exercised at a standard which is comparable to level three of our Threshold Standard - the standard of a newly qualified solicitor.

You must also provide evidence that:

  • the law in the jurisdiction where you gained your professional qualification or experience is not substantially different from the law in England and Wales. It is not sufficient to state that your jurisdiction's law resembles or is based on that of England and Wales. You must provide evidence, for each of the areas of law assessed in FLK2, that the law is not substantially different.
  • your qualification requires you to adhere to a code of conduct or ethical obligations similar to our SRA Principles and SRA Code of Conduct for Solicitors, RELs and RFLs. 

Supporting evidence

You must include the following evidence within your application:

  • other qualifications through certificates and transcripts
  • all work experience must be corroborated by detailed references from your supervisor(s)
  • redacted relevant samples of your work.
You can use evidence for more than one area of law or more than one skill.

Examples

'I am a qualified lawyer and hold English and Welsh qualifications such as a law degree or the Legal Practice Course which cover the subjects assessed in FLK2. I wish to apply for an exemption from SQE1 FLK2.'

Your qualification may meet our requirement in respect of content, that is, you may have studied the areas of law assessed in FLK2. However, as these qualifications are not set at the standard of a newly qualified solicitor, they will not on their own be sufficient evidence to grant you an exemption.

You would need to submit additional evidence to show that you have met the standard of a newly qualified solicitor. For example, you could submit evidence about your experience as a practising lawyer, if this was in a jurisdiction whose law is not substantially different to the law in England and Wales – use the relevant column in sections 5 and 6 of the form. For an exemption to be granted, you would have to show that your experience covered all of the law assessed in the assessments you seek exemption from, at the level of a newly qualified solicitor. We are not able to accept applications where there are any gaps in relation to the law assessed in FLK2.

'I am a qualified lawyer who has studied all the areas of legal knowledge in FLK2. I qualified in, and practise in, a jurisdiction which has law that is not substantially different from that of England and Wales. However, my professional Code of Conduct does not have the duties set out in the SRA Principles and SRA Code of Conduct.'

Because your qualification does not require you to adhere to a code of conduct or ethical obligations that are similar to those in our SRA Principles and our SRA Code of Conduct, you will not be entitled to an exemption from SQE1 FLK2. Depending on your experience, you may be entitled to exemption from SQE2.

Guidance for referees 

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

All references must: 

  • be provided for each period of experience claimed 
  • be written for the purposes of this application and dated within the last 3 months 
  • be submitted on letterheaded paper. 

Referees must: 

  • have supervised you directly and make it clear in their reference what the supervision arrangements were 
  • have read your application and reviewed all supporting evidence before corroborating your experience and confirm that they have done so in their reference 
  • include examples from their direct observation of your work 
  • confirm the dates they supervised you. 

How to show your experience and provide work samples

Here is a suggestion for how you could complete the assessment table, using the Business Law and Practice section as an example.

Area of functioning legal knowledge Please tell us how these areas are covered by your qualification If these areas are covered by another qualification or experience, please tell us how Please tell us how the law covered by your qualification, which you have practiced in your work experience, is not substantially different to the law of England and Wales Evidence in support, eg academic qualifications or awards, reference, samples of work etc

1.

Property Practice

Core knowledge areas of freehold real estate law and practice

1.1 Investigation of a registered and unregistered freehold title:

  • key elements and structure of freehold property transactions
  • process of analysing Land Registry official copy entries
  • process of analysing an epitome of title and deducing ownership
  • issues that could arise from an investigation of title and further action required

Give a broad overview of your knowledge and the skills you have developed, providing specific examples to illustrate. 

Make sure that you explain: 

  • the scenario 
  • your involvement 
  • the skills you demonstrated 
  • the final outcome.

Example here 

Example here 

Evidence in support eg reference or work sample. 

For example, redacted emails to supervisor, page 16

Document 33 record of telephone call with client 

Document 35, page 4, letter to other parties’ solicitor

1.2 Pre-contract searches and enquiries:

  • range and purpose of making searches and raising enquiries
  • who would make the searches and raise enquiries
  • results of searches and enquiries.

Give a broad overview of your knowledge and the skills you have developed, providing specific examples to illustrate. 

Make sure that you explain: 

  • the scenario 
  • your involvement
  • the skills you demonstrated the final outcome. 

Example 

Example 

Evidence in support eg reference, samples of work. 

For example, reference letter from J Bloggs & Co. 

1.3 Law Society Conveyancing Protocol

Give a broad overview of your knowledge and the skills you have developed, providing specific examples to illustrate. 

Make sure that you explain: 

  • the scenario 
  • your involvement 
  • the skills you demonstrated 
  • the final outcome. 

State which distinct area of law and practice you achieved the outcome. 

EG ABC & Co 

Evidence in support eg reference, appraisal document, samples of work 

Your evidence and work samples should support your examples. Please make sure you redact all samples to remove sensitive or identifying information. 

We will not accept non-redacted documents. 

Your qualification included two year's work experience

Please tick the box and return to mySRA to upload your form. We need no further information.

Your two years' work experience was completed post qualification.

Please tick the box and add the name and contact details of your referee confirming your experience.

You will need to upload a reference(s) from your referee(s) . If your referee is not SRA regulated you will need to provide their certificate of good standing. If they are, you should provide their SRA number.

Certificates of good standing must be dated in the last three months and we will need a translation if the certificate is not in English.

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

References must:

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

Referees must:

  • have supervised you directly and make it clear in their reference what the supervision arrangements were
  • include a summary of your role and examples from their direct observation of your work
  • confirm the dates they supervised you.

Your two years' work experience is a combination of that gained during qualification and post qualification

Please tick the box. You need to detail where your work experience was gained and the dates of your placement.

You will need to upload a reference(s) from your referee(s) and their certificate(s) of good standing. Their certificate(s) needs to be dated in the last three months and we will need a translation if the certificate is not in English.

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

References must:

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

Referees must:

  • have supervised you directly and make it clear in their reference what the supervision arrangements were
  • include a summary of your role and examples from their direct observation of your work
  • confirm the dates they supervised you.

Please tick the box and return to mySRA to upload your form. We need no further information.

Your two years' work experience was completed post qualification. 

Please tick the box and add the name and contact details of your referee confirming your experience.

You will need to upload a reference(s) from your referee(s). If your referee is not SRA regulated you will need to provide their certificate of good standing. If they are, you should provide their SRA number. Certificates of good standing must be dated in the last three months and we will need a translation if the certificate is not in English.

Your two years' work experience is a combination of that gained during qualification and post qualification

Please tick the box. You need to detail where your work experience was gained and the dates of your placement.

You will need to upload a reference(s) from your referee(s). If your referee is not SRA regulated you will need to provide their certificate of good standing. For SRA regulated referees you should provide their SRA number. Certificates of good standing must be dated in the last three months and we will need a translation if the certificate is not in English.

To grant an exemption, we must be satisfied that your qualifications and/or experience covers the standard and content of SQE2 and meet level three of our Threshold Statement.

Please be aware that we cannot grant partial exemptions from SQE2.

When completing the table, you must:

  • set out specific, detailed examples showing how you achieved each of the skills
  • tell us what evidence you are supplying.

Supporting evidence

You must include the following evidence within your application:

  • other qualifications through certificates and transcripts
  • all work experience must be corroborated by detailed references from your supervisor(s)
  • redacted relevant samples of your work.

You can use evidence for more than one area of law or more than one skill.

Guidance for referees

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

All references must:

  • be provided for each period of experience claimed
  • be written for the purposes of this application and dated within the last 3 months
  • be submitted on letterheaded paper.

Referees must:

  • have supervised you directly and make it clear in their reference what the supervision arrangements were
  • have read your application and reviewed all supporting evidence before corroborating your experience and confirm that they have done so in their reference
  • include examples from their direct observation of your work
  • confirm the dates they supervised you.

How to show your experience and provide work samples

Here is a suggestion for how you could complete the assessment table, using the Business Law and Practice section as an example.

SQE2 skills Evidence that the skills meet the solicitor statement
of competence at level three of our Threshold Statement
Evidence in support, eg reference, samples of work etc

A Ethics

A1

Act honestly and with integrity, in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements and the SRA Standards and Regulations, including

  1. Recognising ethical issues and exercising effective judgment in addressing them
  2. Understanding and applying the ethical concepts which govern your role and behaviour as a lawyer
  3. Identifying the relevant SRA principles and rules of professional conduct and following them*
  4. Resisting pressure to condone, ignore or commit unethical behaviour
  5. Respecting diversity and acting fairly and inclusively

Example here

A2

Maintain the level of competence and legal knowledge needed to practise effectively, taking into account changes in your role and/or practice context and developments in the law, including

  1. Taking responsibility for personal learning and development
  2. Reflecting on and learning from practice and learning from other people
  3. Accurately evaluating your strengths and limitations in relation to the demands of their work
  4. Maintaining an adequate and up-to-date understanding of relevant law, policy and practice
  5. Adapting practice to address developments in the delivery of legal services

Example here

A3

Work within the limits of your competence and the supervision which they need, including

  1. Disclosing when work is beyond your personal capability
  2. Recognising when your have made mistakes or are experiencing difficulties and taking appropriate action
  3. Seeking and making effective use of feedback, guidance and support where needed
  4. Knowing when to seek expert advice

Example here

Your evidence and work samples should support your examples. Please make sure you redact all samples to remove sensitive or identifying information.

We will not accept non-redacted documents. 

Making your application 

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

You will need to make your application by applying online in mySRA. If you do not already have an account, you will need to create an account to access the form.  

Once logged in, select 'Start new applications' on the homepage. The application is called 'Apply for qualified lawyer exemption from the SQE assessments'.

If you have already started it, you will find your draft application in 'My profile' under 'Applications and documents'.

We will let you know our decision within 180 days.

Log in to mySRA - Qualified lawyers exemption