More clarity needed on new solicitors’ ‘super exam’

The Law Society has made called on the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to urgently provide more clarity on the regulations that will govern the new ‘super exam’ for qualifying solicitors.

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is set to be rolled out in 2020, from which point all prospective solicitors will have to pass the exam in order to qualify. However, the SRA has not yet published much detail on the regulatory framework that will underpin the exam and the work experience requirements for qualifying, making it difficult to assess what the exam’s impact will be. The introduction of the SQE will also end the existing transfer scheme for foreign lawyers, but what will replace the current framework remains to be seen. The Law Society has therefore asked the SRA to clarify all these matters and show that the new system of qualification will be just as rigorous as the current one, chiefly in order to protect the international reputation and pre-eminence of the UK legal profession.

Joe Egan, the Law Society’s president, said: “We want to be encouraging about the SQE, but at the moment we actually know very little about the rules governing this framework and the SRA really needs to crack on and make these public…The SQE also must be sufficiently challenging and rigorous to maintain the global reputation of the solicitor brand. This matters to the profession – but it matters just as much to consumers and to UK PLC. The Law Society will continue to emphasise the importance of ensuring not only that the new tests are developed appropriately, but also that academic and work experience requirements are subject to proper scrutiny to ensure standards.”

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