updated on 10 January 2022
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The pandemic didn’t impact the Legal Practice Course (LPC) pass rates, according to new statistics from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The SRA’s figures reveal that in 2019-20, 57.7% of students completed the LPC successfully, in comparison to the 58% from the previous year. The number of students who failed the course dropped from 3.3% to 1.6%.
The report also found that 58.9% of Common Professional Examination (CPE) students passed in 2019-20 compared to 58% in 2018-19, with the failure rate falling from 6% to 2.8%.
The SRA’s report, which covered the first five months of the covid-19 pandemic from March to August 2020, revealed that “students from ethnic groups other than white are less likely to successfully complete the CPE and the LPC.”
The regulator said: “There are a number of different factors which may influence pass rates, including candidate ability and engagement, teaching quality and assessment arrangements, but we are unable to draw firm conclusions from the data available.”
In March 2020, shortly after the government introduced restrictions on contact and movement due to the pandemic, the SRA decided to relax some of its requirements for the teaching and assessment of the qualifying law degree (QLD), CPE and LPC. This meant, on the LPC, where some elective classes usually required an exam, under supervised conditions were allowed alternative arrangements such as coursework or an open book exam.
The SRA has now planned for the orderly closure of LPC courses. The new Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), a single, rigorous assessment for aspiring solicitors, was introduced in September last year.
According to the SRA, the SQE means that everyone who becomes a solicitor will consistently meet the same high standards.