updated on 27 March 2018
Plans for a new ‘super exam’ for all qualifying solicitors have been approved by the Legal Services Board (LSB), meaning that the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) is now certain to go ahead in some form.
Although the LSB’s approval is not enough on its own to implement the SQE – the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will also have to apply separately for approval of necessary rule changes – the main hurdle has been cleared and the SRA is now free to get on with developing the exam. The LSB’s decision will prove controversial, as it approved the SQE despite intense pressure not to do so by City law firms, lecturers and even MPs.
Paul Philip, the SRA’s chief executive, commented: “Confirmation that we can press ahead with the development of the SQE gives employers and education providers the surety they need to plan fully for its introduction. Law firms and academic institutions can now design approaches to recruitment and training which reflect their specific needs.The removal of regulation on potential routes to qualifying, including the QLD, GDL or LPC requirement, will provide opportunities for people from every walk of life to consider a career as a solicitor, while the introduction of qualifying work experience should address the current training contract bottleneck.”