updated on 28 April 2020
Junior lawyers can now defer compulsory Professional Skills Course (PSC) modules for 12 months, as the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) responds to the pandemic and relaxes professional training rules.
The regulator told training providers that trainees who are unable to complete the PSC before admission can apply for a deferral. However, this final stage of mandatory training to become a solicitor must be completed within 12 months of being admitted.
It is also not compulsory for students to have completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC) before they begin their training contract, the SRA reminds firms.
The SRA has relaxed rules in a bid to ensure junior lawyers qualify on time. Other efforts include moving LPC assessments online, despite the SRA previously indicating delays to core examinations. The PSC has also been moved online and will be delivered remotely by The University of Law, BPP and Barbri Altior as permitted by the SRA.
Despite ongoing pressure from students, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) is still refusing to move core modules online in a bid to maintain the “integrity” of assessments. BSB director general Mark Neale responded to a letter from more than 200 Bar school students, stating that centralised exams will not take place until August.
According to the Law Gazette, Law Society President Simon Davis said it is encouraging that trainees are being given the room required to qualify on time, adding: “Despite these measures, there will be some students who will not have the chance to complete their assessment and we will continue to work with the SRA to ensure that adequate arrangements are made as soon as conditions allow.”