Moving forward: Joint Academic Stage Board dissolved from 31 December 2013
2 December 2013 - Our new approach to assuring qualifying law degrees and the Common Professional Examination/Graduate Diploma in Law will take effect from January 2014. Validated programmes remain validated.
Regulation of Education and Training
The Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board are moving forward.
Following consultation between the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board (BSB), we have agreed a new approach to assuring Qualifying Law Degrees (QLD) and the Common Professional Examination/Graduate Diploma in Law (CPE/GDL). This will take effect from 1 January 2014.
The Joint Academic Stage Board (JASB), which has acted in this regard on behalf of the regulatory bodies for a number of years, will be dissolved with effect from 31 December 2013.
The joint remit of the SRA and the BSB remains in force, and our joint requirements for QLDs and the CPE/GDL remain as stated in the Joint Statement on completion of the academic stage of training. The Joint Statement will remain in place.
From January 2014 onwards, we will be operating a new approach which is based on two basic principles. In summary form, these are:
- to remove the duplication of our oversight of academic standards and quality with that of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), and, instead, to rely on the required compliance of Higher Education Institutions with QAA's Quality Code for Higher Education, and the outcomes of the QAA review. The QAA framework constitutes a robust academic and educational regime;
- to continue to monitor and ensure compliance with the Joint Statement.
Providers of QLDs and the CPE/GDL will be required to self-certify, with supporting documents, compliance with the Joint Statement and QAA standards and quality assurance requirements. The SRA will act as administrators on behalf of both regulators, and we will monitor the self-certification documents.
A copy of the self-declaration form and a new Academic Stage Handbook will be available on this website shortly.
Academic Stage information from the BSB
Joint Academic Stage Board handbook
The Joint Academic Stage Board has produced a handbook (PDF 162 pages, 1.3M) in its capacity as the regulator responsible for the validation of Qualifying Law Degrees (QLDs) and law conversion courses—the Common Professional Examination (CPE) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).
It is the official reference document for QLD and CPE/GDL courses, which must be adhered to by all providers of the professional, postgraduate training course from the commencement of the academic year 2009–10.
Common Professional Examination rules—entry requirements
Entry requirements, time periods for completion, and other details are included in the CPE Rules (PDF 8 pages, 74K) jointly issued by the SRA and the Bar Council.
Certificates of academic standing
If you want to undertake the CPE and have non-standard qualifications, you must obtain a certificate of academic standing from us before you enrol in a CPE programme.
Non-standard qualifications include
- overseas undergraduate degrees entailing at least three years of full-time study,
- academic or vocational qualifications that the SRA considers equivalent to a degree,
- for mature students, at least 10 years of demonstrable experience at middle-management level.
For more information, please read the Joint Academic Stage Board's CPE Rules (PDF 8 pages, 74K).
A certificate of academic standing is evidence that your qualifications meet the minimum requirements for admission to a CPE programme.
Learn more about certificates of academic standing
Exemption from the Common Professional Examination
Some people may be eligible to apply for an exemption from the Common Professional Examination (CPE). First, you should read the notes on applications for a certificate of exemption from the CPE (PDF 96K). If you meet the criteria, you should apply online for an exemption.
How to apply for a certificate of academic standing or exemption from the CPE
Please apply online for an exemption from the CPE or for a certificate of academic standing.
First, register. Then, activate your web account and log in.
Important information about LLB awards
The LLB upgrades/top-ups to the Graduate Diploma in Law programmes offered by some institutions are not recognised by the SRA as Qualifying Law Degrees, as commonly understood or as set out in the Joint Statement on Qualifying Law Degrees. This does not affect the status of the Graduate Diploma in Law which, if successfully completed, will satisfy the regulatory bodies requirements of the academic stage of training. Please contact the institutions concerned if you have any queries about these awards.
Award of LLB after completion of the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course
A number of institutions award an LLB to students who have successfully completed their Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course. These awards are not recognised by the SRA as Qualifying Law Degrees, as commonly understood or as set out in the Joint Statement on Qualifying Law Degrees. This does not affect the status of the Graduate Diploma in Law which, if successfully completed, will satisfy the regulatory bodies requirements of the academic stage of training, or the status of the Legal Practice Course which, if successfully completed, will satisfy in part the SRA's requirements of the vocational stage of training. Please contact the institution concerned for more details about these awards.