Amy Pritchard
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Date Published:27 Feb 2020 Last Updated:21 Jul 2021

The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE)

Employment Law Advice

In 2017 the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) announced a change in the way future Solicitors will qualify. The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) is set to replace the current Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and the two years Training Contract. Once implemented all Solicitors will have to pass the SQE in order to qualify.

The new system, which has been nicknamed the ‘super exam’, is due to be introduced by autumn 2021, however the SRA have confirmed they will reach their final decision in late 2020. Unlike the GDL and LPC, the new SQE is not a course but a series of exams, which are divided into two stages.

There are four requirements you will need to satisfy to qualify as a Solicitor through SQE. These are:

  • have a university degree or equivalent in any subject (law or non-law now accepted);
  • pass the character and suitability assessment set by the SRA;
  • pass SQE assessment stages 1 and 2; and
  • have two years qualifying work experience. (You can do this during, before or after completing your SQE assessments).

The SRA estimates that the fee students must pay to take the SQE will be set at around £4,000, but this is yet to be confirmed. It is hoped that the lower costs and flexibility of the SQE will help attract a more diverse range of candidates.

Anyone who commences a law degree, GDL or LPC before September 2021 can qualify through the current route, and will have until 2032 to complete the current route to qualify as a Solicitor. However, they may choose to qualify through SQE if they
prefer.

For more information please visit the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) website.