The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is introducing a new super-exam for 2020, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).
This means from 2020 the SRA will no longer use the Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) as a requirement to become a solicitor. Instead the following requirements must be met for candidates to qualify as a solicitor:
- Passing both Solicitors Qualifying Examination stages 1 and 2 (this is to demonstrate they have the right knowledge and skills required)
- Holding a degree or an equivalent qualification, or have gained equivalent experience
- Completing of at least two years qualifying legal work experience
- Be of satisfactory character and suitability
The SRA says by doing this it will eliminate the risk of students undertaking the LPC or GDL without any certainty of securing a training contract afterward; especially as an LPC or GDL currently have upfront costs of approximately £16,000.
There will be two stages of the SQE:
First stage: Six legal knowledge assessments and one practical legal assessment. These will be taken before the required qualifying work experience, and should be the cheaper part of the SQE.
Second stage: Two sessions of five practical legal skills assessments (including legal research, client interviewing, advocacy and persuasive oral communication, case and matter analysis). This stage will be taken following completion of at least two years qualifying legal work experience. This can be the standard two-year training contract, or it can also be other forms of work experience.
Students who have already started (or are due to start) a law degree, LPC, or GDL before 2020 will have the option of either taking the old route or new route.
For more information see the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Catherine Duggan – OULS Reporter