The SRA has over the past few months begun pre-consultation discussions relating to a proposed reform of the process to qualify as a solicitor (including a discussion with the JLD National Committee – our committee of regional representatives from across England and Wales). Whilst a formal consultation is expected later this year, the JLD has noted the SRA’s intention that this will focus on their preferred option of a common professional assessment.
In September 2015, the Law Society provided a pre-consultation response to the SRA proposals. The JLD shares the Law Society’s view that it is inappropriate to narrow the range of options without formal consultation. The JLD has therefore written an open letter to the SRA, where we propose that the current system of legal education and training could be updated to include measures that would offer assurances of the standards attained prior to qualification. The JLD has recommended that a common assessment be considered for the LPC. This would not require any changes to the current requirement to pass the QLD/CPE, undertake a period of recognised training and complete the PSC.
The JLD supports the Law Society’s opposition to any system which could end up with people becoming solicitors with no mandatory education requirements at all, either tertiary or vocational, and no work experience in a legal environment. The JLD also believes that this would be extremely damaging to the profession and the public.