Update on the SRA’s New Route to Qualification in England and Wales

November 17th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) published this week a summary of the responses it received / response to the consultation on the new route to qualification – the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE). The consultation was sent to Bars and Law Societies throughout Europe (including the CCBE which did not reply).

 The paper states, amongst others, that:

– “On our proposals for recognition of qualified lawyers, some respondents disagreed with the proposed approach; some were supportive; and others supported the principle of recognition but disagreed with the proposed approach.”

– “some drafting changes to the proposed SQE regulations and to the principles of recognition for qualifying lawyers seeking admission as a solicitor of England and Wales will be implemented.’’ However, major changes have not been made.”

Stakeholders addressed the need for more detail, as such the SRA will publish more information about the SQE on the:

– “detail of the SQE assessments

– proposed costs

– assessment timetable

– sample assessments

– process for recognition of qualified lawyers.”

The SRA will continue to engage with important stakeholders from the profession and legal academics.

It is anticipated that the next steps regarding the SQE will be that the SRA will ask the Legal Services Board for approval of the SQE regulations. If the regulations are approved, the SRA expects to appoint an assessment provider in April 2018. The SRA will determine on which date the regulations will be implemented, however it will not be earlier than September 2020.

For more information, please find the paper here.

England and Wales: A new route to qualification

June 8th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has launched a consultation which seeks stakeholder views on the regulations needed to bring the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) framework into force. (The SQE is designed to test whether individuals who wish to be admitted as solicitors have the skills and knowledge set out in the Statement of Solicitor Competence.)

The consultation document can be downloaded here:

Consultation paper (7 pages)

Annex 1 – Draft regulations (3 pages)

Annex 2 – Draft Principles (6 pages)

The consultation is open until 26 July 2017.

Once the SQE is introduced, aspiring solicitors will have to meet the following requirements:

– They must have a degree or equivalent qualification or experience.

– They must have passed the SQE, to demonstrate they have the knowledge and skills set out in the Statement of Solicitor Competence, to the standard prescribed in the Threshold Standard.

– They must have completed qualifying legal work experience, for at least two years (or part time equivalent), and which can be certified by either a solicitor or a compliance officer for legal practice.

– They must be of satisfactory character and suitability, to be assessed at the point of admission

Previous post(s) on this theme: England and Wales: SRA to launch Super-Exam in 2020

Law Society “abused dominant position” with CQS training monopoly, competition tribunal rules

May 29th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

“The Law Society abused its dominant position by requiring over 3,000 law firms to buy its own training in order to maintain their Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has ruled”….continue to read here the full article published in legalfutures on 26 May 2017.

England and Wales: SRA to launch super-exam in 2020

April 25th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will introduce its planned super-exam, the Solicitors Qualification Examination, despite opposition from the profession…

For more information, please read the ‘The Lawyer‘ (25 April 2017).

Streetlaw Best Practice Conference, 7-8 September 2016

August 1st, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Streetlaw is the term often used to describe university public legal education programmes.

Many universities in the UK and Ireland send law students into schools, community groups and other organisations to educate people on their legal rights and responsibilities. Streetlaw utilises an interactive methodology which encourages participants to actively engage and to understand how the law relates to them.

Inspired by the first International Street Law Best Practices Conference, held in South Africa earlier this year, Birmingham Law School will host the first regional UK and Ireland event. It will take place at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT. During this interactive two day conference, participants will share Streetlaw best practice from across the globe. The conference will cover:

  • Different models for community engagement through Streetlaw;
  • Sample Streetlaw best practice sessions;
  • How to design your own Streetlaw sessions;
  • Tips and ideas for developing your Streetlaw programme; and
  • Incorporating Streetlaw into the curriculum.

If you have a best practice session that you would like to share at the conference, please email Linden Thomas l.thomas@bham.ac.uk with the details.

UK and Ireland Streetlaw Conference 7-8 September, Birmingham Law School..

Organised by: 

  • Patrick Cahill (Queen Mary University of London),
  • Richard Grimes,
  • John Lunney (Law Society of Ireland), and
  • Linden Thomas (University of Birmingham)

Conference fee: £50 per person*

Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT

How to book: You can register your place by visiting the online shop of the University of Birmingham.

Please note that places at the conference are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Assessing future Solicitors in England and Wales

December 14th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

The Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority (SRA) has published a consultation paper on the future assessment proposing, inter alia,  a standardised competence assessment (The Solicitor Qualifying Exam (SQE)) for all those seeking qualification as a solicitor in England and Wales.

The SRA Consultation paper Training for Tomorrow: assessing competence is available here (PDF)(60 pages). This Training for Tomorrow initiative consultation is open until March 4th 2016. Any changes to come, are not yet decided upon, and would not be ready until at least 2018-2019. Responses to the consultation will be very welcomed by the SRA.

SRA web-logo

Blogs on the consultation by Richard Moorhead, Julian Webb, and Julian Lonbay

Clients across borders

October 12th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

The Law Society of England and WalesWith growth of international business, comes increasing opportunity for lawyers to develop their client base across borders and even oceans. If lawyers are to compete on the world stage, it is important that the legal qualification they hold has a solid reputation in its own right. The reputation of the qualification can also have implications for the use of a particular law as a governing law in international commercial contracts.

This was one of the key findings of the Law Society of England and Wales’ Global Competitiveness Report, which was prompted by changes to the qualification put forward by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The Report has been well received and has also been picked up outside the legal profession, featuring in a recent article in the FT.

The research team conducted interviews with a number of member firms who operate on the international stage. Time and time again the feedback was that the traditional training contract facilitates a high standard of training and allows junior lawyers to learn “soft” skills such as judgment and ethics from more experienced colleagues. The practical training component also helps to develop commercial acumen, a key consideration in international business.  If these advantage were lost it could jeopardise the reputation, not just of the English and Welsh lawyers but also English law as governing law and England and Wales as a jurisdiction of choice.

The current indication is that the SRA is leaning towards a centralised series of assessments through which knowledge and skills in compulsory areas would be tested. The Law Society has welcomed the move towards centralised assessment which could help ensure a consistent entry standard, however, it has also voiced concerns that if the training contract is no longer mandatory, this could disadvantage those from poorer backgrounds who could struggle to find funding for courses which were not deemed compulsory, even if they were essential to training and obtaining the qualification.

Read the full findings of the Global Competitiveness Report here.


Latest news from Scotland

September 28th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

safeimage Scotland – The Faculty of Advocates  has launched a new website, which aims to provide the public and practitioners with full and useful information about the Scottish bar and its members, for more information See Faculty of Advocates.

Latest news from England and Wales

September 22nd, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink


England and Wales – The Legal Services Board and Legal Services Consumer Panel promote unbundling of legal services, see for more information here.

Training of Lawyers in England and Wales

September 8th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Continuing professional Development

Since April 2015, on a voluntary basis, and from November 2016, all English and Welsh solicitors will no longer need to show that they have completed 16 hours on Continuing Professional Development. The new regulatory approach by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority means that solicitors and entities must make sure that they are competent to deliver a proper standard of service to clients. They should do this by:

– reflecting on the quality of their practice by reference to the SRA Competence Statement for solicitors
– addressing identified learning and development needs by planning and talking appropriate action
– making an annual declaration that they have considered their training needs and taken measures to maintain their competence

Useful links:
A New Approach to Continuing Competence – Toolkit
SRA Competence Statement (SRA website, adopted 11 March 2015)

Training for tomorrow

The SRA is continuing its review of the mode of access to the legal profession of solicitor in England and Wales. It is planning to relax its regulatory grip on the process of training leading to qualification as a solicitor, whilst seeking to ensure that competence is maintained in the final outcome. The revised Training Regulations, 2014, already allow an alternative route to the traditional traineeship (stage) of a “period of recognised training” where those following such a track have show they have met the same outcomes, but via a different route.

A consultation on further options is expected towards the end of 2015. The likely choices to be made are between maintaining the current routes to qualification, authorising pathways that lead to the designated competences, or finally not authorising anything but establishing a final “centralised” assessment to ensure that the competences are in fact achieved. The final mode could include recognising specific pathways to qualification.

Useful links:
Policy statement: Training for Tomorrow (SRA Website)
Law Society 2020: education and training (Law Society Gazette)
Legal education: the right road? (Law Society Gazette)