SQE moving closer


We have announced further details of our new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), which will be introduced next year. The exam is being introduced to make sure all new entrants to the profession meet the same high and consistent standards.

Among the details published was that the candidate fee for the SQE will be £3,980. This is in line with £3,000-£4,500 figure set out in our original 2018 fee range estimates. The fees do not include training costs, which will vary depending on a candidate’s choices.

When it is introduced in September 2021, the £3,980 fee for taking both SQE assessments will cover:

  • SQE1 - with a fee of £1,558 for the two examinations consisting of 180 questions each testing candidates’ functioning legal knowledge.
  • SQE2 - with a fee of £2,422 for the written and oral tasks testing both practical legal knowledge and skills, covering advocacy, client interviewing (with written attendance note/legal analysis), legal research, legal writing, legal drafting and case and matter analysis.

We have also confirmed that ethics and professional conduct will be tested throughout both SQE1 and 2.

In light of the wider impacts of Covid-19 we have also announced that we will give greater flexibility for universities and students around transitional arrangements ahead of the new assessment being introduced.

Some universities told us they would welcome a longer period running existing courses as they prepare their new SQE programmes, given the significant challenges managing the impacts of Covid-19. We are therefore updating our approach so that we will extend our validation of QLDs and CPEs to courses which start any time before 31 December 2021, provided students accept their offer on or before 31 August 2021.

Find out more on costs and transition arrangements.

We have also published an independent report by the Bridge Group - research experts on diversity and social equality, which has concluded that the assessment design is fair and overall the SQE could help address diversity issues in the legal profession.

While recognising the SQE will not address all the diversity challenges in the legal profession, their view was that it could help address such issues alongside wider work and approaches.

Find out more on social mobility.