Who can be a supervisor - SQE2 Exemptions for Foreign Qualified Lawyers

There has been some confusion as to who may be a supervisor to write a letter of reference for a foreign qualified lawyer who is seeking to apply for exemption under sections 7b & 7c of the SRA form. The SRA had made reference to the need to supply 'evidence of your professional qualification, eg an admissions certificate or a Certificate of Good Standing' to the SRA for the Supervisor/Referee with the application for exemption. That would indicate that the Supervisor/Referee had to be a lawyer.

We wrote to the SRA to seek clarification. They have written back to clarify that the Supervisor/Referee. does NOT need to be a lawyer. Below is the text of their reply to our enquiry:

"Thank you for your email of 28 October 2022.

For the purposes of an SQE2 exemption we need a reference from those responsible for supervising the applicant’s work. This does not need to be a qualified lawyer or an individual we regulate. However, they must have directly supervised the applicant’s work and confirm they are suitably qualified to offer that supervision.

As we assess each case on its own merits I am not able to confirm if a reference will be accepted based on the scenario you have presented, but we can consider it. We will review this in context with the rest of the application and advise the applicant at that time if we need anything further.

I would also recommend considering the guidance on our website (under the heading ‘How to complete your application’), in particular the guidance for referees under Section 8. While the table for Section 8 is usually not required, the information for references will still be relevant.

If you have any questions please let me know.

Yours sincerely
Simon Prior

Authorisation Officer
Solicitors Regulation Authority"

Please see below for some other information that may be of assistance.

Please the link below to our page on this where we have put all research on this.

QWE Confirmation

Foreign Qualified Lawyers are normally exempt (but see below) from the QWE requirement. However, if you are not qualified as a lawyer you will need 2 years full time equivalent QWE (Qualifying Work Experience) to be confirmed to the SRA by an SRA regulated solicitor. If you don't have one, we can help: https://www.hunningsconsultancy.co.uk/external-qwe-certification-service-2/

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