FAQs - Solicitors Qualifying Examination

General

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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.

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.

 

  • 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.

Current law students

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Period of Recognised Training (PRT)

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We will propose that if you have started a PRT when the new regulations come into force, you will still be able to qualify under the old regulations for a number of years after the introduction of the SQE.

Alternatively, you could choose to qualify under the new regulations by passing the SQE and undertaking two years qualifying work experience. This could be carried out in up to four different organisations.

Therefore, candidates will not be able to bypass any stages of the SQE because they have already achieved these qualifications. However, they may help prepare candidates for the SQE.

We will issue a consultation on our proposed arrangements for anyone partway through the current routes to qualification later this year. We will propose that if you have started a QLD, CPE, GDL, LPC or Exempting Law Degree when the new regulations come into force, you will still be able to qualify under the old regulations for a number of years after the introduction of the SQE.

Apprenticeships

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Thinking of becoming a solicitor in the future

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The SQE examination timetable may also affect the time taken between stage 1 and stage 2. The timetable will not be published until 2019/20.

  • have a degree or equivalent qualification or equivalent experience
  • undertake a two-year period of qualifying work experience
  • pass the SQE
  • pass a suitability test.

The target date for the new SQE will be no earlier than September 2020, so you can qualify under the new regulations from then.

We will issue a consultation on our proposed arrangements for anyone who at that date is part way through the current routes to qualification later this year. We will propose that if you have started a Qualifying Law Degree, Common Professional Examination, Graduate Diploma in Law, Legal Practice Course or Exempting Law Degree, you will be able to qualify under the current regulations for a number of years after the introduction of the SQE.

Although you will not need a law degree to qualify as a solicitor, you may wish to check whether your degree provider intend to incorporate SQE preparation as part of the curriculum.

Once the design of the SQE has been finalised, we expect that universities and training providers will signpost whether and how their courses will prepare candidates for the SQE.

Visit the Bar Standards Board website for more on the arrangements for barristers.

As the decision to introduce the SQE has only just been announced, these courses have not yet been developed, so information on the length or likely costs of such courses is not yet available.

 

  • 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.

Employers

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Qualified solicitors

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Qualified lawyers

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