SQE Update – May 2023

In this bulletin find out about the SQE functioning legal knowledge review outcome, future exam sittings in July and October and the SQE1 in Welsh pilot. You can also watch a range of events on demand, including our annual SQE conference and targeted webinars.

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SQE functioning legal knowledge annual review

We have now completed the annual review of the functioning legal knowledge that is assessed in SQE1 and SQE2. Following feedback from training providers, we have made some amendments to the two SQE assessment specifications.

Most of these changes are minor – the only substantial change is to make clearer our expectations around understanding the laws in England and Wales and where they differ.

The new assessment specifications have been published on the SQE website and come into effect for assessments taking place from September 2023.

Find out more

Booking for SQE2 July and October 2023

Candidates still have until Monday 12 June (17.00 UK time) to book for the next SQE2 assessment, taking place in July. Bookings will then open for the October sitting on Wednesday 21 June (10.00).

To sit the SQE2 assessment, candidates must have either:

  • passed SQE1
  • passed the QLTS MCT
  • have the Legal Practice Course and be using SQE2 (as well as qualifying work experience) as an equivalent to a period of recognised training.

Please note, October 2023 is the last time MCT candidates can sit SQE2 to complete their QLTS qualification. They will need to apply for admission as a solicitor by 31 March 2024.

To secure a place, candidates must have first completed the registration and pre-booking processes. If they need any reasonable adjustments, they should make the request as early as possible as part of their pre-booking steps. As with all sittings, spaces are subject to availability.

Find out how to book for SQE2

SQE1 July 2023 bookings still open

Candidates looking to sit the next SQE1 assessment in July have until 30 May (17.00) to book their place.

They must have first completed the registration and pre-booking processes. If they need any reasonable adjustments they should make the request as early as possible as part of their pre-booking steps.

The next SQE1 sitting after this will be in January 2024.

Find out how to book for SQE1

SQE1 in Welsh pilot

Kaplan will be testing the operational aspects of conducting SQE1 in Welsh on 28 June 2023 at locations across England and Wales.

Applications to take part closed on 12 May. We would like to thank everyone who has helped to promote the pilot and, in particular, those who have applied to take part in the pilot.

Candidates will be answering 90 multiple choice questions over the course of a morning session. These will be presented in different ways to allow us to evaluate the most effective method of assessing SQE1 candidates in Welsh. This will include some questions being presented alongside an associated glossary of terms.

Following the completion of the pilot, we will be gathering feedback from the candidates before finalising our approach to presenting the SQE1 in Welsh. More details will follow on this, including the use and format of a glossary.

SQE1 will be available in Welsh from September 2024.

Recording and confirming qualifying work experience

Want to know more about how qualifying work experience is confirmed? Take a look at our step-by-step guide and video to find out what information we need from candidates and how a solicitor confirms their experience.

Learn more

Reporting academic malpractice to us

If an aspiring solicitor is found to have committed academic malpractice, such as cheating or plagiarising work, they must declare this to us. We are asking training providers to remind their students about this requirement which is part of our character and suitability rules.

We suggest anyone who has been found to have committed academic malpractice speak to us early so we look into any issues before they begin their journey to admission. They can do this by making an early suitability application.

Find out more

Get involved

SQE Virtual Conference 2023

Catch up on our latest virtual SQE conference on demand. It is aimed at education and training providers, as well as employers and organisations offering qualifying work experience. Hear about: 

  • the headlines from the first SQE annual reports from our assessment provider, Kaplan and our SQE Independent Reviewer
  • the findings from our first SQE and qualifying work experience perception survey
  • insights from the assessments, including how candidates performed in the different practice areas
  • answers to common questions from candidates
  • the latest insights on qualifying work experience and the opportunities it offers .

 Watch it on demand now

Qualified lawyers - qualifying through the SQE (webinar)

 This free webinar offers overseas or UK qualified lawyer the facts on:

  • becoming a solicitor through the SQE
  • what we mean by a qualified lawyer and who it includes
  • what legal work international lawyers can do if already based in England or Wales
  • how to apply for SQE exemptions
  • tips for a good exemptions application and common queries.

 Watch it on demand now

SQE mitigating circumstances (webinar)

This free webinar offers the latest information for candidates whose performance in the SQE is negatively impacted by particular circumstances at the time of the assessment. This is often known as mitigating or extenuating circumstances.

Watch it on demand now

Becoming a solicitor through the SQE (webinar)

Looking to take the SQE to become a solicitor? Watch our free webinar on demand to hear from those who have recently qualified or are on their way to becoming a solicitor.

Our four speakers offer insights into the different ways there are to study and train, including apprenticeships, and helpful SQE exam tips.

Feedback on the webinar includes:

  • The webinar was amazing!
  • Very good speakers. Content was relevant, great insights and tips given.
  • All the speakers were very well selected. All inspiring and differing enough in their journeys so that, together, they could offer a very comprehensive perspective.

 Watch it on demand now

Corporate Strategy consultation – have your say

We have launched our Corporate Strategy for 2023-26 outlining our proposed strategic objectives and what we're looking to focus on over next three years. Here we discuss our future priorities for the SQE and overall approach to education and training.

Read our draft strategy

Other ways to get involved

Join our LinkedIn reference group. It will help you keep up to date with the latest SQE developments and opportunities to get involved in our surveys and events.

If you are thinking about taking the SQE, or know someone who is, please follow Career in Law for the latest information aimed at aspiring solicitors.

If you have any questions, or want more information on how you can get involved, contact us.


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