Rules proposed for new regime for becoming a solicitor lack detail

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) recently published its third consultation on the new standards for becoming a solicitor. The Law Society has responded to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) consultation on proposed regulations which will provide a framework for qualification as a solicitor and for the recognition of qualified lawyers.

The regulations are intended to facilitate the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination, the SRA’s proposed new  ‘super exam’ that would comprise a series of centralised assessments of knowledge and skills. The process aims to test whether individuals who wish to be admitted as solicitors have the skills and knowledge set out in the Statement of Solicitor Competence. Introduction of the SQE is planned for September 2020.

The introduction of the SQE will also end the existing transfer scheme for foreign lawyers of other jurisdictions. In light of Brexit, it is crucial that the negotiations between the EU and the UK are taken into account.

However, the jurisdictions recognised under the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), which provides qualified lawyers, who are not admitted as solicitors in England and Wales, with an alternative route to qualification as a solicitor of England and Wales to the domestic route, will retain recognition; and those lawyers who have already qualified through the QLTS will not be affected.

Our response highlights the importance of ensuring not only that the new tests are developed appropriately, but also that academic and work experience requirements receive proper scrutiny, to ensure standards are maintained. We recommend the retention of current exemptions, and support the continuation of the EU lawyers’ framework. Read the full response here or download the file attached.

You can also read some comments by Law Society President Joe Egan here.