The Solicitors Qualifying Exam is being delayed until 2021 and fees could cost students £4,500

The new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) that all candidates will have to pass to become solicitors will not be introduced until 2021, while fees to take the assessment could range from £3,000 up to £4,500, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has revealed.

The suggested fee levels are only tentative predictions from the SRA, so they could change in the future. The regulator did provide a breakdown of the headline figure, though – it explained that SQE stage one will cost £1,100 - £1,650, while the more practical SQE stage two will charge fees ranging from £1,900 to £2,850.

The SRA predicts that the SQE will cost students less than the LPC, but with preparatory courses still being designed that could charge fees separate to (and on top of) those suggested above, it remains to be seen whether this will be the case. The Junior Lawyers Division has warned that the SQE could create a ‘two-tier’ system where top firms prefer candidates who have completed SQE prep courses, rather than just the assessment itself. 

The SQE was also originally due to be introduced in 2020 but has now been delayed to 2021 after lobbying from education providers and law firms.

In addition, the Law Gazette reports that the pilot for SQE stage one will include 360 questions split over three separate examination papers.

Paul Philip, the SRA’s chief executive, said: “Our priority is creating a rigorous, value-for-money assessment that drives consistent high standards. The SQE also offers a fresh opportunity to increase access to the profession. A competitive training market, offering real choices, will help the profession attract the best talent.”

Find out more about the SQE on LawCareers.Net.

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