‘Super-exam’ one step closer to implementation following provisional nod from Legal Services Board

'Super-exam' one step closer to implementation following provisional nod from Legal Services Board

It’s the SQE news we’ve all been waiting for. Sort of.

The Legal Services Board (LSB) has approved an application by the SRA to introduce a centralised super-exam for prospective solicitors.

In a statement made on 27 March 2018, the LSB said: “this approval provides the framework upon which the SRA Board can seek to introduce new requirements for anyone wishing to qualify as a solicitor”. It goes on to state: “this approval was reached after a thorough consideration of the application and the numerous submissions received in response to it including that of the Justice Select Committee”.

This does not mean that the SQE will be introduced immediately, however. At this stage, this simply means that the SRA can now start the process of replacing the current routes to qualification with the SQE. Any further changes to the rules, which will contain detail on the SRA’S proposals for implementing the SQE, will need to be separately assessed and approved. The SRA expects to apply for the further changes in 2019.

LSB Chief Executive, Neil Buckley said:

“We have today agreed the first stage of the SRA’s reforms to its qualification processes. The changes that the SRA wishes to make are significant and stakeholders have identified a range of associated risks. We assessed the current approved application thoroughly with these risks in mind and concluded that there are no grounds for refusing this application.

The approval of this application on its own is not sufficient to allow the SQE to be implemented. The SRA will need to make and we will need to approve further rules changes to give effect to the requirement to pass a centralised exam. When considering these further rules and deciding whether to agree with them, the LSB will expect to see more detail from the SRA – particularly on how the SQE will operate, what it will cost and the likely diversity impacts.”