I am a qualified lawyer

4 April 2019

This information is for qualified lawyers. It will help you understand what the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) might mean for you when considering qualifying as a solicitor.

Qualifying as a solicitor through the SQE

Below is an example of how a qualified lawyer could qualify in England and Wales

Solicitors Qualifying Examination timeline

We know people need time to introduce new courses and recruitment processes, so we will not introduce the SQE before autumn 2021.

Videos

Crispin Passmore

Executive Director, Policy

How will solicitors qualify in the future

Why are we introducing the SQE?

The SQE will mean everyone meets the same consistently high standards through a common assessment for all would-be solicitors.

Videos

Crispin Passmore

Executive Director, Policy

An effective competence statement for solicitors

We have already 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 everyone with a clear indication of what they can expect from their solicitor.

This is supported by our Statement of Legal Knowledge and a Threshold Standard, both of which shows the standards for practising and using the title of solicitor.

What we have done

News release: SRA announces new solicitors assessment to guarantee high standards

Consultation - A new route to qualification: New regulations

Consultation - A new route to qualification: the Solicitors Qualifying Examination

Consultation - Training for Tomorrow: assessing competence

General - I am a qualified lawyer

The SQE is the Solicitors Qualifying Examination, which will be brought in no earlier than autumn 2021.

In the future, all those wishing to qualify as a solicitor will need to pass the SQE, as well as holding a degree or equivalent qualification or experience, complete a two-year period of qualifying work experience and pass a suitability test.

SQE stage 1 primarily tests candidates' functioning legal knowledge. SQE stage 2 primarily tests practical legal skills.

We are will stop offering the multiple choice stage of the QLTS when the SQE is introduced in autumn 2021.

Candidates who have passed the multiple choice stage of the QLTS will have one year from the introduction of the SQE to take the second stage QLTS assessment.

Yes.

There will be no change in the status of EU lawyers working in England and Wales until the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU is confirmed. We will monitor the situation closely and provide updates when we can.

Yes.

We have included a provision for part-qualified European lawyers in our SRA Authorisation of Individuals Regulations. This will give effect to the Morgenbesser decision which we are currently required to do under EU law.

We will stop offering the multiple choice stage of the QLTS once the SQE is introduced.

That will not be before autumn 2021. Candidates who have passed the multiple choice stage of the QLTS will have one year from the introduction of the SQE to take the second stage QLTS assessment.

If training is included as part of a degree, then there will be no additional charge.

 

The provisional range for the total estimated cost of the two stages of assessment is between £3,000 - £4,500.

SQE 1 will primarily test the application of legal knowledge. The fees range estimate is £1,100 - £1,650. SQE 2 will test practical legal skills. The fee range estimate is £1,900 - £2,850. The costs are based on an estimated 35 hours of assessment, including written tests, computer-based assessments and simulations such as mock client interviews. These costs are indicative, as we continue our work with Kaplan to develop and test the assessments.

The eventual fee may be inside or outside this range. Factors that could change the costs include the length and amount of assessment and whether it is offered in both English and Welsh.

No. However, to be admitted as a solicitor, you will need a degree (in any subject) or equivalent in addition to passing the SQE. 'Equivalent' means a qualification equivalent to a bachelor's or master's degree, such as:

  • a level 6 or 7 apprenticeship
  • a level 6 or 7 professional qualification

If you don't have an equivalent qualification, we may be able to count experience in the workplace as equivalent.

SQE assessments timings are not yet available. When we know what the final examinations will look like, then we will be able to offer more detailed information.

 

Sample papers are not yet available. When we know what the final examinations will look like, then we will be able to offer more detailed information.

 

We would be delighted if you joined our LinkedIn group. You can use this group to discuss the developing ideas around the SQE and the new routes to qualification.

Later this year, we will also be consulting on the regulations that will underpin the introduction of the SQE and our approach to the admission of overseas lawyers and non-solicitor UK lawyers.

Kaplan have been appointed as the assessment provider for the SQE.

 

We are making changes to make sure the way solicitors qualify in the future is consistent, but that does not mean solicitors who qualified under the old system are not competent.

Currently, solicitors undertake extensive and thorough training before qualifying. When qualified, they must undertake a programme of continuing professional development to make sure that they are competent to perform their job roles and provide a proper standard of service to clients.

We will publish data about the performance of all education and training providers. These will not be league tables.

 

Qualified solicitors

No. Anyone who has already qualified as a solicitor is not directly affected by this proposal.

 

The BSB recently announced a new approach to qualification, more information is available on its website. The BSB's new approach is different from ours, but not incompatible with it. The BSB has opted for a "managed pathways" approach, which, in line with our new requirements, will allow flexibility in the routes to qualification but assure consistent standards.

 


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