Threshold standard

About the threshold standard

Because the competence statement is generic and applies to all solicitors, a threshold standard was developed to set out the level at which the competences in the competence statement should be performed upon qualification as a solicitor.

Level three is the threshold standard required at the point of qualification; the other levels are provided for the purpose of context.

Threshold standard

LevelFunctioning knowledgeStandard of workAutonomyComplexityPerception of contextInnovation and originality 
1Recognises some of the standard legal issues relevant to the particular case or transaction area of practiceUnlikely to be satisfactory unless closely supervised on a task by task basisNeeds close supervision or instructionUnable to do more than simple routine tasksTends to see actions in isolationWorks within given procedures or instructions 
2Recognises some of the standard legal issues relevant to the area of practice, and begins to see how they apply to a particular case or transactionStraightforward tasks likely to be completed to an acceptable standardAchieves some steps using own judgement, but supervision needed for overall case or transactionAble to deal effectively with straightforward cases and transactions

Sees actions as a series of steps

Uses experience to check information provided 
3Identifies the legal principles relevant to the area of practice, and applies them appropriately and effectively to individual cases’.Acceptable standard achieved routinely for straightforward tasks. Complex tasks may lack refinement.Achieves most tasks and able to progress legal matters using own judgement, recognising when support is needed.Able to deal with straightforward transactions, including occasional, unfamiliar tasks which present a range of problems and choices.Understands the significance of individual actions in the context of the objectives of the transaction/strategy for the case. Uses experience to check information provided and to form judgements about possible courses of action and ways forward.Threshold Standard required at qualification
4Applies a depth of understanding of the area of practice and a broad background awareness of legal principles to solve problems and progress the case. Full acceptable standard achieved routinelyTakes full responsibility for progressing the case or transactionDeals with complex transactions through deliberate analysis and planningDevelops a strategy for the case/transaction to deliver the overall objective and uses it to analyse individual steps. Produces innovative solutions and ways forward 
5Uses mastery of the area of practice and a broad background awareness of legal principles to develop and critically evaluate a range of options to overcome dilemmas and problematic situations. Excellence achieved with easeTakes full responsibility for outcomes of case or transaction Deals with complex transactions intuitively and with ease; confident decision-makerUnderstands clearly the strategy for the case/transaction and alternative approaches to deliver it within a vision of what may be possible.Develops innovative solutions and ways forward in complex and unpredictable situations  

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