I am a qualified lawyer
4 April 2019
This information is for qualified lawyers. It will help you understand what the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) might mean for you when considering qualifying as a solicitor.
Qualifying as a solicitor through the SQE
Below is an example of how a qualified lawyer could qualify in England and Wales
We know people need time to introduce new courses and recruitment processes, so we will not introduce the SQE before autumn 2021.
Crispin PassmoreExecutive Director, Policy
How will solicitors qualify in the future
- Look at our proposed transitional arrangements and principles for qualified lawyers. Do they apply to you?
- If you are currently completing the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme, think about what you need to do before introduction of the SQE in 2021.
- Have you left enough time to complete? If not, look at our proposed transitional arrangements.
- If you have already passed your QLTS exams, submit your application before the SQE is introduced in 2021.
- Find out what your current regulatory body is doing about the SQE.
- Join our LinkedIn group. It will help you stay up to date with latest developments.
- Look at our eligibility for admission regulations (as part of our Standards and Regulations. Please note these are not yet in force).
Why are we introducing the SQE?
The SQE will mean everyone meets the same consistently high standards through a common assessment for all would-be solicitors.
Crispin PassmoreExecutive Director, Policy
An effective competence statement for solicitors
We have already published a Statement of Solicitor Competence, which sets out what solicitors need to be able to do to perform their role effectively, and which provides everyone with a clear indication of what they can expect from their solicitor.
What we have done
General - I am a qualified lawyerOpen all
In the future, all those wishing to qualify as a solicitor will need to pass the SQE, as well as holding a degree or equivalent qualification or experience, complete a two-year period of qualifying work experience and pass a suitability test.
SQE stage 1 primarily tests candidates' functioning legal knowledge. SQE stage 2 primarily tests practical legal skills.
Candidates who have passed the multiple choice stage of the QLTS will have one year from the introduction of the SQE to take the second stage QLTS assessment.
As a qualified lawyer, if you are exempt from the multiple choice stage of the QLTS by virtue of having passed the LPC, this does not count as "passing" the multiple choice stage of the QLTS. So you would not meet the criteria for transitional arrangements.
There will be no change in the status of EU lawyers working in England and Wales until the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU is confirmed. We will monitor the situation closely and provide updates when we can.
We have included a provision for part-qualified European lawyers in our SRA Authorisation of Individuals Regulations. This will give effect to the Morgenbesser decision which we are currently required to do under EU law.
That will not be before autumn 2021. Candidates who have passed the multiple choice stage of the QLTS will have one year from the introduction of the SQE to take the second stage QLTS assessment.
If training is included as part of a degree, then there will be no additional charge.
The provisional range for the total estimated cost of the two stages of assessment is between £3,000 - £4,500.
SQE 1 will primarily test the application of legal knowledge. The fees range estimate is £1,100 - £1,650. SQE 2 will test practical legal skills. The fee range estimate is £1,900 - £2,850. The costs are based on an estimated 35 hours of assessment, including written tests, computer-based assessments and simulations such as mock client interviews. These costs are indicative, as we continue our work with Kaplan to develop and test the assessments.
The eventual fee may be inside or outside this range. Factors that could change the costs include the length and amount of assessment and whether it is offered in both English and Welsh.
- a level 6 or 7 apprenticeship
- a level 6 or 7 professional qualification
If you don't have an equivalent qualification, we may be able to count experience in the workplace as equivalent.
SQE assessments timings are not yet available. When we know what the final examinations will look like, then we will be able to offer more detailed information.
Later this year, we will also be consulting on the regulations that will underpin the introduction of the SQE and our approach to the admission of overseas lawyers and non-solicitor UK lawyers.
Currently, solicitors undertake extensive and thorough training before qualifying. When qualified, they must undertake a programme of continuing professional development to make sure that they are competent to perform their job roles and provide a proper standard of service to clients.
We will publish data about the performance of all education and training providers. These will not be league tables.
I am a barrister/Chartered Legal Executive/other UK lawyer/overseas lawyer. I wish to qualify as a solicitor in the future. How will the new system affect me?
I wish to qualify as a solicitor in the future. How will the new system affect me? See our transitional arrangements and principles for qualified lawyers. More
Qualified solicitorsOpen all
How/why is this approach different to the new approach to qualification by the Bar Standards Board (BSB)?
The BSB recently announced a new approach to qualification, more information is available on its website. The BSB's new approach is different from ours, but not incompatible with it. The BSB has opted for a "managed pathways" approach, which, in line with our new requirements, will allow flexibility in the routes to qualification but assure consistent standards. More