I am an education and training provider

4 April 2019

This information is for education and training providers. It will help you understand more about the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), what it might mean for you and help you think through what you need to do to implement it.

Qualifying as a solicitor through the SQE

Below is an example of how a graduate could qualify

Solicitors Qualifying Examination timeline

We know people need time to introduce new courses and recruitment processes, so we will not introduce the SQE before autumn 2021.

Videos

Malcolm Knott

Solicitor, Barrister, Judge

Talks about the importance of a centralised assessment

Nick Eastwell

SRA's City Advisor

Creating a level playing field for all would-be solicitors

Crispin Passmore

Executive Director, Policy, SRA

How will solicitors qualify in the future

Crispin Passmore

Executive Director, Policy, SRA

What will the SQE mean for students

  • We plan, alongside the Bar Standards Board, to make changes to our Training Regulations. These changes will have an impact on QLD and CPE courses as part of the academic stage of training. We have agreed a Common Protocol with the BSB to explain the impact of the proposed changes on these courses.
  • Think about how long it will take you to make changes to implement the SQE? Who needs to be involved? What governance is needed?
  • Look at the Statement of Solicitor Competence and draft assessment specification. What does this mean for you and your students?
  • How, and when, will you explain to prospective students your plans for implementing the SQE?
  • Talk to local employers to understand how they are preparing for the SQE and what their training requirements are likely to be in the future.
  • Join our LinkedIn reference 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 Passmore

Executive Director, Policy, SRA

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.

This is supported by our Statement of Legal Knowledge and a Threshold Standard, both of which shows the standards for practising and using the title of solicitor.

What we have done

Draft Assessment specification

News release: SRA announces new solicitors assessment to guarantee high standards

Consultation - A new route to qualification: New regulations

Consultation - A new route to qualification: the Solicitors Qualifying Examination

Consultation - Training for Tomorrow: assessing competence

General - I am an education and training provider

The SQE is the Solicitors Qualifying Examination, which will be brought in no earlier than autumn 2021.

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.

No. However, to be admitted as a solicitor, you will need a degree (in any subject) or equivalent in addition to passing the SQE. 'Equivalent' means a qualification equivalent to a bachelor's or master's degree, such as:

  • 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.

Sample papers are not yet available. When we know what the final examinations will look like, then we will be able to offer more detailed information.

 

We will publish data about the performance of all education and training providers. These will not be league tables.

 

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.

If training is included as part of a degree, then there will be no additional charge.

 

Kaplan have been appointed as the assessment provider for the SQE.

 

We are making changes to make sure the way solicitors qualify in the future is consistent, but that does not mean solicitors who qualified under the old system are not competent.

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 would be delighted if you joined our LinkedIn group. You can use this group to discuss the developing ideas around the SQE and the new routes to qualification.

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.

Yes, course providers for the Common Professional Examination and Legal Practice Course will continue to submit annual reports to us.

 


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