Training for Tomorrow work streams

1 November 2016

For information about the work streams within Training for Tomorrow, our programme of work to reshape legal education and training requirements, please select an option below.

An effective competence statement for solicitors

In April 2015 we 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 consumers of legal services with a clear indication of what they can expect from their solicitor.

The Statement is supported by a an underpinning Statement of Legal Knowledge and a Threshold Standard, which reflects the standard at which an individual can practise safely and effectively use the title of solicitor.

For a solicitor, meeting the competences set out in the Statement forms an integral part of the requirement to provide a proper standard of service in accordance with Principle 5 of the SRA Principles (2011). It also underpins our new approach to qualification and to continuing competence.

A new approach to qualification

We are reviewing our approach to qualification to align it to the Statement of Solicitor Competence, Statement of Legal Knowledge and Threshold Standard.

The new approach will also focus our regulatory effort more rigorously than we do at present on assuring consistent and comparable high quality standards at the point of admission across the different ways of qualifying as solicitor.

We also want to encourage the development of new and flexible ways to train to become a solicitor, which are responsive to the changing legal services market and enable a wider, more diverse and representative range of the population to qualify as a solicitor.

In October 2016, we launched our second consultation on this new approach, describing our proposals for how solicitors might qualify in the future in more detail than we had before.

Continuing competence after qualification

The requirement to undertake mandatory, hours based continuing professional development (CPD) training has been a key part of a solicitor's professional life for over a quarter of a century. This approach has played a key role in embedding a learning and development culture within the profession.

From 1 November 2016, you will no longer need to count CPD hours. Instead you should now reflect on your practice and the quality of your work. You can then undertake meaningful training to make sure you stay up to date and competent.

Our toolkit provides useful information and resources to help you adopt this new approach to continuing competence. It is also helpful for firms or organisations that employ solicitors.

We consulted on this change in 2014, following which the SRA Board agreed to implement this new approach to solicitors remain competent to practice.

New regulations for education and training

Our new SRA Training Regulations 2014 – Qualification and Provider Regulations came in to effect on 1 July 2014. As a result:

  • student processes were simplified. Students intending to go on to study the LPC will no longer need to apply for student enrolment. This will save them an £80 fee. Students progressing to the CPE/GDL will not need to get a certificate of academic standing from the SRA;
  • although the breadth and depth of training has been retained, the SRA will no longer stipulate that the training must take place under an SRA specified training contract. This means that the SRA no longer stipulates the employment terms of the training period (subject to minimum salary requirements) and
  • from 1 August 2014, trainees' salaries will be subject to the National Minimum Wage regulations.
  • we have also introduced a new "equivalent means" application under which candidates who can demonstrate they have met our training requirements through other equivalent experience or qualifications, can seek recognition for this against some or all of our education and training requirements.

The new regulations replaced the SRA Training Regulations 2011 Part 1 – Qualification Regulations, and the SRA Training Regulations 2011 Part 2 – Training Provider Regulations.

We recently consulted on further proposals to streamline our education and training regulations. The proposals are:

  • extending the education and training outcomes to the Welsh language
  • removing the requirement for a lawyer who is qualified in a jurisdiction outside the UK to obtain a certificate of eligibility to undertake QLTS assessments
  • removing the requirement on individual solicitors to undertake Management Course Stage 1

Learn more about the consultation

You can download our consultation response.

You can get involved in the debate via Twitter using #srat4t, email or our blog.