Knowledge Centre

Delay the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, law lecturers demand

Written By - Joshua Watts - February 10,2020

Law lecturers have called for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) to be delayed, claiming young people are making 'potentially life changing decisions with only fragmentary information available’. 
Five associations representing academics from across the UK have written a joint letter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority urging it not to introduce the SQE in September 2021. The letter claims it is ‘currently impossible’ for potential law students to make an informed decision about their course and ‘no university is able at this stage to tell students how or if their university education will prepare them for the assessments’. 
The letter, addressed to SRA chair Anna Bradley, concluded: ‘Young people under the age of 18 are making potentially life changing decisions with only fragmentary information available, on a complex issue on which even universities cannot effectively advise them (and of which most school or college careers advisers are unaware).’
The lecturers pointed out that a response to the second SQE pilot is yet to be published and the exam has not yet received regulatory approval. 
The letter was signed by Caroline Stevens of Portsmouth Law School; Professor Adam Gearey of Birkbeck University of London; Exeter University’s Professor Rebecca Probert; Professor Rosie Harding of Birmingham University; and Professor Carl Stychin, director of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and chair of the Committee of Heads of University Law Schools.
In November, the Legal Services Board suggested there is still a long way to go before the SQE is approved, listing concerns about the quality, cost and diversity impact of the assessment. The SRA expects to submit its second SQE application to the LSB in July or August 2020 and for the new route to qualification to begin the following autumn.