SQE to be introduced in autumn 2021.

The QLTS is to be replaced. The SQE (Solicitors’ Qualifying Examination) to replace the current QLTS system of re-qualification. 

The new assessment to ensure consistent, high standards for qualifying solicitors will be introduced in September 2021 with candidates facing fees between £3,000 – £4,500. 

The new SQE system will be divided into two (2) parts. 

  • SQE 1 – will primarily test the application of legal knowledge. The fee range is estimated between £1,100 – £1,650.
  • SQE 2 – will test the practical legal skills, with a fee range of £1,900 – £2,850.

These costs are based on an estimate of 35 hours of assessment, including written tests, computer – based assessments and simulations such as mock client interviews. These costs are indicative, as the SRA continues to work with Kaplan to develop and test the assessments. The SRA says that the final fee may be inside or outside this range.

The SRA says that the costs depend on whether the length and amount of assessment and whether it is offered both in English and Welsh. 

The SQE is aimed at offering more flexibility around training and work -based experience. This should help establish a competitive legal education market and give candidates more genuine choices about the route they take, such as solicitor apprenticeships, or law degrees that incorporate SQE training.

The SQE structure also aims to address the problem of the need to pay large up-front costs, (up to £16,700 for a Legal Practice Course (LPC), with no guarantee of a training contract or becoming a solicitor. Some aspiring solicitors find that they cannot progress, while others are put off trying to qualify altogether. 

NOTE : The new SQE launch date means that people who have started a qualifying law degree or law conversion (CPE) before September 2021 will be able to decide to qualify under the old system up until 2032, or alternatively under the SQE. From September 2021 all other apiring solicitors would need to qualify through the SQE.

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