Introduction of a new Qualifying Examination for Solicitors
The Solicitors Regulation Authority have this morning confirmed plans to introduce changes to how people can enter the solicitors’ profession. They are seeking to introduce a single centrally set examination called a Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), which will come in to use from September 2020. The SRA are quoted in the Law Society Gazette as having said that they believe the exam will “make sure all solicitors meet consistent, high standards for entry to the profession”. Under the scheme, candidates will take a two-part exam as well as undertaking work experience. To qualify as a solicitor, candidates will need to:
- have passed SQE stages 1 and 2 to demonstrate they have the right knowledge and skills
- have been awarded a degree or an equivalent qualification, or have gained equivalent experience
- have completed at least two years of qualifying legal work experience
- be of satisfactory character and suitability.
Even candidates who have a law degree will still need to pass stage 1.
Whether this will result in any benefit to consumers or will simply increase the burden and costs on those seeking to enter the profession awaits to be seen.