Transitional arrangements and SQE Regulations

May 2020

For people qualifying via the SQE after autumn 2021

What are the transitional arrangements?

Our transitional arrangements are designed to give candidates who are on their way to becoming a solicitor as much choice as possible.

Someone who is already on their way can choose to qualify through the existing routes or the SQE. 

This includes anyone who has started, completed or accepted an offer for one of the following by the time the SQE is introduced in autumn 2021: 

  • a qualifying law degree
  • the Common Professional Examination
  • a period of recognised training (also known as a training contract).

Please note this date is subject to final approval by the Legal Services Board.

These people will have 11 years after the SQE is introduced to qualify in this way.

Qualifying without a period of recognised training (training contract)

Candidates who have taken the Legal Practice Course but cannot find a period of recognised training, can continue to qualify under our Equivalent Means route. This involves compiling a portfolio to demonstrate how your experience is equivalent to a period of recognised training and submitting it to us for assessment.

We will also accept experience equivalent to the new qualifying work experience as a period of recognised training, so long as you have successfully completed the SQE2 assessment as well. Please note the costs of the SQE2 will be between £1,900 - £2,850.

Qualifying work experience will allow a wider range of experience to count towards qualification. It could include time spent:

  • working as a paralegal
  • on a placement during a law degree
  • in a student law clinic or at the Citizens Advice.

How will the transitional arrangements affect me?

Open all

I will have completed all qualification stages before the SQE is introduced in autumn 2021

You do not need to take the SQE.

I have started a qualifying law degree or a Common Professional Examination before the SQE’s introduction

You can either complete the current LPC/PRT route during the transitional period or take the SQE.

If you start before the introduction of the SQE

You can qualify under the existing route until 11 years from SQE’s introduction.

If you start after the introduction of the SQE is introduced in autumn 2021

You will need to think about whether your proposed degree will help to prepare you to sit the SQE assessments.

Before the SQE is introduced in autumn 2021

You can continue to provide periods of recognised training during the transitional period for trainees who want to qualify under the existing route

After the SQE is introduced

Employees looking to qualify through the SQE will need to complete two years of qualifying work experience.

Before the SQE is introduced in autumn 2021

The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme assessments will continue to be available for one year after the SQE’s introduction for those lawyers who have successfully completed the multiple choice test. After then, you will need to take the SQE assessments.

After the SQE is introduced

You will need to complete the SQE to qualify.

Effectively managing Legal Practice Course closure

We will continue to authorise Legal Practice Courses (LPC) until the end of the 2024/25 academic year. However, we expect courses may close as demand for the LPC decreases.We want to make sure the standard of the LPC is maintained during the transition period for those who want to complete their route to qualification.

We have made authorising a course subject to a number of conditions to make sure that we are aware if a course is closing. This is so that we know where students may be affected and can work with providers to make sure that the quality of provision is maintained.

Bar Standards Board changes

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) are also making changes to their training requirements. We have entered into a Common Protocol with them to explain how this will affect Qualifying Law Degree and the Common Professional Examination.

SQE Regulations

The regulations which bring into force the SQE have now been approved.

Admission principles for Qualified Lawyers

If you are a qualified lawyer seeking admission under the SQE, please read our principles for admission.

Degree or equivalent

Any candidate wishing to be admitted as a solicitor under the SQE, will need a degree (in any subject) or equivalent in addition to passing the SQE.