Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Posts Tagged ‘qualifying as a lawyer

Changing the routes to professional qualification

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The Solicitors’ Regulation Authority has been looking at the routes to qualification for some time. It has now decided that  new scheme will be introduced in 2021. This will involved the creation of a common assessment for all would-be solicitors from autumn 2021.

The basic elements of the new scheme are that those wishing to  qualify as a solicitor will be:

  • Pass stages 1 and 2 of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination – the first stage will focus on legal knowledge and be assessed on the basis of a centralised multiple choice examination; and the second will focus on practical legal skills, such as undertaking legal research.
  • Have a degree (in any subject) or equivalent qualification.
  • Pass the character and suitability requirements.
  • Have a substantial period of work experience.

The SRA have appointed Kaplans to be the assessors for the new assessment.

This will mean that law students who are exempt from Part 1 of the current Law Society Finals if they pass a ‘qualifying degree’ will no longer have this exemption. There are currently no details about the curriculum for the new Stage 1 SQE, nor how or where it will be taught.

These proposals raise important questions, particularly for universities who have invested heavily in the provision of law degrees. One unknown is whether those who currently study for a law degree as part of the process of obtaining a professional legal qualification will in future sign up for university law degrees in the same numbers. Why would they want to study law if they still have to do an assessment after they have finished their degree studies? Much will depend on what the teaching methods for the new, unspecified, curriculum will be – will law graduates be treated differently from non-law graduates?

At the same time, universities may relish the fact that they will no longer have half of their degree courses effectively determined by external forces. They may use this freedom to devise new ways of teaching and news types of course. It does seem that the experience component of the new qualifying process could include work done for example in a University Law clinic or other legal context.

For further detail see https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitorexam/.

See also https://www.law.ac.uk/blog/understanding-the-sqe-and-what-it-means-for-me/

For a critique of the proposals see https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/training-review-professors-criticise-rudimentary-sqe

 

 

 

 

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Written by lwtmp

November 29, 2018 at 1:04 pm