A1 Knowledge of the jurisdiction, authority and procedures of the legal institutions and professions that initiate, develop, interpret and apply the law of England and Wales and the European Union
The Legal System of England and Wales: sources of substantive law; principles of and approaches to statutory interpretation; hierarchy and jurisdiction of the courts; appeal system; doctrine of precedent; development of statute and common law
Institutions of the European Union: roles of the Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union
Sources of European Union (EU) law: treaties; secondary legislation (regulations, directives and decisions); decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union
The Relationship between EU law and national law and remedies at European and national level for breaches of EU law:
- Direct Actions in the Court of Justice: articles 258 - 260 TFEU; articles 263 - 265 TFEU – annulment of EU measures
- EU Law and national courts: supremacy; direct effect; indirect effect; member state liability; remedies in national courts
- Preliminary references: article 267 TFEU: discretionary references; mandatory references; attitude of the Court of Justice and national courts; misuse of article 267 TFEU
The Internal market of the European Union:
- Free Movement of goods: customs duties and charges having equivalent effect (Articles 28 – 30 TFEU); discriminatory taxation: direct and indirect discrimination; objective justification (Article 110 TFEU); non-tariff barriers to trade: quantitative restrictions and measures having equivalent effect; selling arrangements and derogation.
- Free movement of persons: rights of European Union citizens (workers, the self-employed, the economically inactive and their families); equal treatment and access to employment; restriction of entry, residence and access to employment.
- Competition law: article 101 TFEU; article 102 TFEU; competition law and enforcement.
A2 Knowledge of applicable constitutional law and judicial review processes
Constitution and constitutional principles: nature of the constitution; Parliamentary sovereignty; the application of separation of powers (including checks and balances); the rule of law (definition, key concepts and legal status).
How the core institutions of state function and interrelate constitutionally:
Parliament; cabinet and central government; the monarch; ‘the Crown'; the Judiciary (including the nature and powers of the Supreme Court); government accountability through Parliament and via the conventions on collective and individual ministerial responsibility; the nature of legislation and requirements for enactment and repeal; the nature and status of the devolution legislation.
The Prerogative: (its nature, extent and legal status; its relationship with legislation) and constitutional conventions (definition, nature and legal status) and how the prerogative and constitutional conventions interrelate.
Public order law: breach of the peace and the Public Order Act 1986; Public Order Act offences; the law on public processions and assemblies including the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998.
Judicial review: nature and limits of judicial review; preliminary hurdles/requirements for obtaining permission to proceed to a substantive hearing; standing to bring a claim; grounds and remedies; judicial review and accountability of government and public bodies for ultra vires actions and decisions; the impact of human rights law on judicial review including the concept of proportionality.
A3 Knowledge of the rules of professional conduct, including the SRA Accounts Rules
Professional Conduct: the 10 mandatory principles; client care (SRA Code of Conduct Chapter 1); equality and diversity (SRA Code of Conduct Chapter 2); conflicts of interest (SRA Code of Conduct Chapter 3); confidentiality and disclosure (SRA Code of Conduct Chapter 4); your client and the court (SRA Code of Conduct Chapter 5); your client and introductions to third parties (SRA Code of Conduct Chapter 6); relations with third parties including undertakings (SRA Code of Conduct Chapter 11)
SRA Accounts Rules
Client money and office money: identification of client money and office money; receipts and payments of both types of money, including cash, cheques, petty cash, deposits received as agent and stakeholder, client money that is not paid into a client bank account and disbursements using the agency and principal methods; accounting entries required.
Office and client ledgers and bank accounts: requirement to maintain separate ledgers and bank accounts; the limited exception that applies when acting for an institutional lender.
Transfers between bank accounts and ledgers: when these may and must be made; accounting entries for transfers.
Interest : when interest must be paid; accounting entries for interest payments.
Breach of the SRA Accounts Rules: identification of breaches; the action required to remedy a breach; accounting entries required.
Bills : submission, reduction and payment of bills including the VAT element; accounting entries required.
The keeping of accounting records: records that must be kept to comply with the SRA Accounts Rules.
A4 Knowledge of the regulatory and fiscal frameworks within which business, legal and financial services transactions are conducted
Money Laundering: the legislation including the international context; circumstances encountered in the course of practice where suspicion of money laundering should be reported in accordance with the legislation, with particular reference to those types of legal work covered by the OSCE; the appropriate person or body to whom suspicions should be reported and the appropriate time for such reports to be made; the types of offences that solicitors might be liable to commit in the course of practice.
Financial Services: The purpose and scope of financial services regulation; the financial services regulatory framework in general (including authorisation), and how it applies to solicitors' firms; recognition of relevant financial services issues (including the identification of specified investments, specified activities and relevant exemptions); application of financial services provisions to the types of legal work covered by the OSCE; appropriate sources of information on financial services.
General: tax years, financial years, accounting periods, tax periods. The date(s) when payment of each of the following five taxes is due (see below)
Income tax: total income; personal allowances and reliefs; taxation at source and direct assessment; calculation of a taxpayer's liability or the refund due.
Capital gains tax: when a disposal occurs for capital gains tax purposes; relevant date of disposal; treatment of disposals between spouses and civil partners; chargeable and exempt assets; allowable expenditure; exemptions and reliefs; calculation of the gain or loss on a disposal; treatment of losses; calculation of a chargeable person's overall liability.
Inheritance tax: the charge to tax on death; lifetime transfers that are immediately chargeable and those that are potentially exempt when made; calculation of the value transferred; exemptions and reliefs in respect of transfers on death and lifetime transfers; the nil-rate band, the main residence nil-rate band and their transfer; calculation of a person's cumulative total; calculation of the tax payable in respect of transfers on death and lifetime transfers; loss relief on the sale of land and qualifying shares.
Corporation tax: income profits; chargeable receipts; deductible expenditure; capital allowances; trading loss relief; capital gains; capital loss relief; roll-over relief; charges on income; calculation of a company's tax liability.
Value added tax: classifications of supply; inputs and outputs; taxable supplies; taxable persons; meaning of 'business'; value of supply; compulsory and voluntary registration; tax points; calculation of the tax payable or refund due.
A5 Understanding of Contract law
Existence/formation of contract:
Offers: definition; distinguished from invitations to treat; including auction sales, tenders & shop sales; revocation and termination of offer.
Acceptance: definition; distinguished from counter offers and requests for information.
Communication of acceptance: bilateral and unilateral contracts; by conduct; postal acceptance rule and exceptions; silence.
Certainty of terms & Intention to create legal relations: incomplete agreements and vague terms; presumptions in social and commercial agreements.
Capacity: minors; lack of mental capacity; companies
Consideration: definition; executory/executed; past consideration; sufficiency of consideration; part payment of debt; promissory estoppel
Privity of contract: requirements and exceptions; including Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
Content of contract:
Terms: express terms and implied terms; classification and types of terms; incorporation and construction; distinguished from representations; terms implied by fact, law and custom; terms implied by statute including in relation to description, quality, title of goods and the provision of services.
Exclusion clauses and unfair terms: incorporation; construction; at common law; Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977; Consumer Rights Act 2015.
Misrepresentation: when actionable; types; remedies; Misrepresentation Act 1967; exclusion of liability
Mistake: common; mutual; unilateral; Non Est Factum
Duress: types; remedies
Undue Influence: actual and presumed; remedies; third parties.
Illegality: including provisions in restraint of trade
Discharge of contract and remedies:
Discharge: agreement; performance; breach; frustration – requirements and effect; Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943
- damages: types of loss, remoteness, measure, mitigation, liquidated damages/penalty clauses;
- equitable remedies: specific performance, injunction;
- restitutionary remedies
A6 Understanding of Torts
- General principles of negligence: duty of care (standard and breach); causation; remoteness and loss (including principles of remedies for personal injury and death claims)
- Negligence claims for pure economic loss arising from either a negligent act or misstatement.
- Negligence claims for psychiatric harm.
- Negligence claims for employers' liability: operation and effect of the common law principles.
- General defences: volenti, illegality, contributory negligence, necessity.
- Vicarious liability
Occupiers liability: Occupiers Liability Act 1957; Occupiers Liability Act 1984.
Breach of statutory duty: the legal requirements for a claim of breach of statutory duty.
Product liability: Consumer Protection Act 1987.
Nominate torts: battery, assault and false imprisonment; trespass to goods/conversion and trespass to land; remedies and defences.
Nuisance: Public/private nuisance and Rylands v Fletcher; remedies (including injunctions) and defences.
Defamation: Libel/slander/malicious falsehood; remedies and defences.
A7 Understanding of criminal law
General: distinguishing a crime from a civil wrong; burdens and standards of proof: the different burdens and standards of proof and the circumstances in which they apply.
Actus Reus: conduct and result crimes; liability for acts/omissions; existence of any circumstances required before an offence can be committed; causation.
Mens Rea: motive; intent; oblique intention; virtually certain consequences; recklessness; transferred malice; crimes of negligence; crimes of strict liability; liability of corporations.
Parties: principal offender; requirements for secondary participation; joint enterprise; accomplice liability.
Inchoate offences: encouragement and assistance; attempt; conspiracy.
- State of mind/capacity: insanity; automatism; intoxication; mistake.
- General defences: duress; public and private defence; necessity; infancy.
- Defences to specific offences (see below) Consent (assault and battery)
- Partial defences to murder (see below): loss of control; diminished responsibility.
- manslaughter: voluntary manslaughter (loss of control; diminished responsibility); involuntary manslaughter (unlawful act manslaughter; manslaughter by gross negligence); corporate manslaughter.
Non-fatal offences against the person: assault; battery; consent; s47 Offences against the Person Act 1861; s20 Offences against the Person Act 1861; s18 Offences against the Person Act 1861.
Theft and Related Offences: theft; robbery; making off without payment.
Other Offences under Theft Act 1968: burglary; aggravated burglary; blackmail; handling stolen goods.
Offences under the Fraud Act 2006: fraud by false representation; fraud by failing to disclose information; fraud by abuse of position; obtaining services dishonestly; possession of articles for fraud.
Offences of Damage to Property under Criminal Damage Act 1971: destroying or damaging property; destroying or damaging property with intent to endanger life; arson.
A8 Understanding of property law
The nature of land: the distinction between real property and personal property – fixtures/fittings.
Estates and interests in land: the freehold and leasehold estates; legal interest; equitable interests; formalities for creation of legal and equitable interests; requirements for a valid deed and a valid contract in relation to land.
Principles of unregistered title to land: role of title deeds; how to protect interests – registration of Land Charges and continuing role of doctrine of notice.
Registration of title to land: the estates that can be substantively registered; how to protect interests: interests that override registration and interests that need to be protected by entry on the register.
Co-ownership of land: the trust of land - legal and equitable title to land; differences between joint tenancies and tenancies in common; methods of severance of joint tenancies in equity; solving disagreements between co-owners by reference to sections 14 and 15 of Trusts of Land & Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.
Leases: formalities for leases; distinction between a lease and a licence; landlord and tenant covenants; remedies for breach of covenant (including forfeiture); assignments of leases (including both leases granted before and after 1 January 1996) and sublettings; the effect of assignments and sublettings; termination of leases.
Easements and profits: the essential characteristics of easements; the creation of easements and profits (including express, implied and prescriptive easements).
Freehold Covenants: the difference between positive and negative covenants; enforceability of covenants between original parties and successors in title - the running of the benefit and the burden.
Mortgages: creation of mortgages; mortgagee's remedies to enforce their security; protection of mortgagors & other third parties with an interest in land; priority of mortgages.
A9 Understanding of Equitable rights and obligations
Creation and requirements of express trusts: the three certainties of intention to create a trust, subject matter and certainty of objects in both fixed interest and discretionary trusts; the formalities required for an express inter vivos trust; the constitution of express inter vivos trusts including transfers to trustees and declaration of self as trustee; the exceptions to the rule that equity will not assist a volunteer.
Beneficial entitlement: fixed; discretionary; vested; contingent.
Resulting Trusts: how they arise; when they are(or are not) presumed.
Half secret and secret trusts: creation
Trusts of the Family Home: Establishment of a constructive trust: legal title in name of both parties/sole party; express declaration or agreement as to equitable ownership; direct and indirect contributions; evaluating the share of each party.
Charitable trusts: The doctrine of Cy Pres; definition of charity (Charities Act 2011 ): heads of charitable purpose and Establishing Public Benefit under Principles 1 and 2.
Non charitable purpose trusts: The beneficiary principle; exceptional cases where purpose trusts can be upheld; unincorporated associations.
The fiduciary relationship and its obligations: duty not to profit from fiduciary position; trustees not to purchase trust property; fiduciary not to put himself in a position where his interest and duty conflict.
Strangers as constructive trustees/ accountable as constructive trustees: establishing recipient liability; establishing accessory liability.
Trustees: who can be a trustee; appointment, removal and retirement of trustees; trustees duty of care; trustees duty to invest (and powers in relation to investment); trustees' statutory powers of maintenance and advancement.
Trustees liability: breach of trust; measure of liability; protection of trustees; limitation period.
Tracing trust property in equity: establishing the right to trace; mixed and unmixed funds; the personal action in Diplock.
Equitable remedies: nature of equitable remedies; types of injunction; principles applicable to the issue of interim injunctions.
A10 Understanding of Human Rights
The Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights : role of the European Court of Human Rights (its approach to cases brought before it; the nature of its powers over member states; the legal status and enforceability of its judgments); statutory obligations, powers and limits that apply to the courts in England and Wales in human rights cases; Convention Rights and how they are applied by the courts in England and Wales.
A11 Understanding of the laws applicable to business structures and the concept of legal personality
Advantages and disadvantages of sole traders, partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), private limited companies:
Sole traders: Liability for debts.
Partnerships: formation; default provisions under Partnership Act 1890 (powers of partners to bind the firm, liability for debts and wrong doing, holding out, liabilities of incoming and outgoing partners, partnership property, financial entitlements, management, matters requiring unanimity, duties, termination); taxation implications.
LLPs: formation under Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000; legal personality; rights and duties of members and designated members; liability for debts; taxation implications; termination; obligation to make certain documents publically available
Formation; constitution; legal personality; liability for debts; role and duties of directors; role of shareholders; taxation implications; obligation to make certain documents publically available