Version 9 of the Handbook was published on 1 April 2014. For more information, please click "History" above.
If you are a training establishment you must:
provide the trainee with opportunities for:
practical experience in at least three distinct areas of English law;
development of skills in both contentious and non-contentious work; and
development of the skills needed in practice so as to meet the Practice Skills Standards;
ensure the maintenance of a training contract record by the trainee, linking the experience he or she has gained to the skills he or she has developed;
provide close supervision by qualified solicitors, or others with the appropriate experience in English law, in accordance with regulation 16;
provide the trainee with regular feedback and appraisals throughout his or her training, including at least three formal appraisals during the period of the training contract;
not amend the training contract unless you have our approval of the terms of the amendment;
allow paid study-leave to attend courses prescribed by us, such as the PSC;
at least the minimum salary prescribed from time to time by us; and
the trainee's PSC fees and expenses for the first attempt; and
take no more than two trainees for each partner or senior solicitor with a current and four previous consecutive practising certificates.
You are free to organise training on your own pattern provided that you meet the requirements of regulation 6. Typically, training is organised in one of two ways:
the trainee works in at least three distinct seats, spending a specified period (usually about six months) in each; or
the trainee works in various areas of law on a day-to-day basis, in line with the type of work available.
During the training contract, trainees develop and practise the skills they will use as qualified solicitors. The key elements of each skill-and the type of experience that will help trainees to develop it-are specified in the Practice Skills Standards. Trainees develop the skills through a mixture of the following activities:
completing work and tasks by themselves;
assisting others; and
observing experienced practitioners.
Regulation 6.1(b) requires you to ensure that a trainee maintains, on a regular basis, an adequate training contract record of the experience that he or she is getting and the skills that he or she is developing. We expect that by the end of the training contract, the record will show the trainee's level of attainment in relation to the requirements set out in regulation 6.1(a).
do not prescribe the format of the training contract record, but we recommend that it includes:
details of work performed;
skills used (with reference to the Practice Skills Standards);
the trainee's observations or reflections on his or her performance, including any gaps in his or her experiences or skills;
any other training or professional development; and
any professional conduct issues that may have arisen.
A sample training contract record form can be downloaded from our website.
recommend an informal performance review about once per month. This will help supervisors and trainees to:
review progress toward agreed objectives;
deal with any difficulties close to the event;
compare the breadth and depth of work being performed by the trainee with the requirements of regulation 6.1 and the Practice Skills Standards;
address any professional conduct or ethics issues that may have arisen;
discuss future training; and
plan future or remedial learning.
The training contract record can also be used as part of formal appraisal and informal performance review. In respect of regulation 6.1(d), we recommend that you formally appraise trainees every six months. Further guidance and sample appraisal forms are available.