The new SQE regime came into effect September 2021. There are transitional arrangements for those who have started to train beforehand so they do not have to go back to the beginning.
The idea is to have 1 standard across the whole jurisdiction of England & Wales. Currently each organisation providing the LPC creates its own LPC course, so some employers are reverting to A levels as the last measure that is moderated to a national standard. The SQE will give a uniform measure. It will also cover areas of legal practice mixed in with the law itself. Ethical & conduct issues will be scattered throughout and candidates are expected to spot them and deal with them, rather than them being flagged up for separate attention. Finally, the training element is now much more flexible, adapting to the more varied ways that people gather relevant experience.
The cost of both sets of the exams would be £4,115. This figure does not include preparatory courses which will vary between the various providers.
[Please note: SQE exam fees will increase by around 11% from September 2023 to:
SQE1: £1,798 (£1,622 – 2022/2023)
SQE2: £2,766 (£2,493 – 2022/2023)]
The Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQE) is in 2 parts:
This is 2 exams, each of 180 multiple choice questions. 10 hours of exam time in total. The idea is to test candidates’ ability to identify legal principles and apply them to client problems and transactions. It will test core legal knowledge in the following subjects. Cost £1,622). SQE1 will take place at Pearson VUE test centres in the UK and internationally. The pass mark for SQE1 will be determined by a board of experts, drawing on the level competency expected of a solicitor on their first day at work.
· Business Law & Practice
· Dispute Resolution
· Legal System of England & Wales
· Public Law
· Legal Services
· Property Law & Practice
· Wills & Administration of Estates
· Solicitors Accounts
· Land Law
· Criminal Law & Practice
There are 16 written and oral tests totalling 14 hours of exam time. They will be simulating tasks carried out by a solicitor in practice.
This is designed to assesses Practical Legal Skills for working with the law in practice. Candidates can only take the SQE 2 after they taken the SQE 1. It can be taken before the completion of the Qualifying Work Experience (QWE), but the SRA expect most candidates will take it after completed their 2 years QWE. It will assess both skills & law (50:50 weighting). Again, ethical issues will be embedded and it will be up to candidates to spot and deal with them. Areas covered are set out below. Cost £2,493).
|Skills||In 5 Contexts|
· Client Interviewing & Attendance Note
· Case & Matter Analysis
· Legal Research
· Legal Writing
· Legal Drafting
· Criminal Litigation
· Dispute Resolution
· Property Practice
· Wills & Intestacy, Probate Administration & Practice
· Business Organisation Rules & Procedures
Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) is designed to be more flexible than the old method and to test a wider experience and suite of legal skills. There are opportunities in this for both trainees and businesses. It should make it easier for people to qualify through a wider variety of routes, for example in-house legal departments and advice centres as well as traditional law firms.
The trainee must be able to show at least 2 years relevant experience of legal services. This will have to be signed off by a solicitor, but this does not have to be a training partner in a law firm. So, it gives the opportunity for this to be outsourced should you wish.
The experience may be obtained in up to 4 different organisations – so summer placements can count, as can work in an advice centre. Time spent before the SQE comes in can count, so long as it has been monitored and a solicitor can vouch for it. There is no longer the requirement for work in 3 practice areas (although that would give a more rounded experience in our view).
The solicitor is signing of:
For the Trainee Solicitor
For the Business
Firms may want to think what they want to do, who they want to attract and how they want to use the SQE to help them resource and grow their firm. They may want to revise what they say about this on their website.
We can be your External QWE Confirming Solicitor –
A link to a useful webinar about the SQE & QWE from the SRA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbbIIcC1f5k
A link to resource for Apprenticeships: https://www.apprenticeships.gov.uk/
A link to the SRA Transitional Arrangements: https://www.sra.org.uk/students/sqe/transitional-arrangements/
If you are interested in seeing how the Government Apprenticeship Scheme may assist with the costs of training then visit our article on this subject: https://www.hunningsconsultancy.co.uk/apprenticeships-the-sqe-how-this-can-save-you-money/
Link to the SRA suggested form for recording QWE: https://www.sra.org.uk/trainees/qualifying-work-experience/qualifying-work-experience-candidates/qwe-training-template/