Solicitors Qualifying Exam approved by the Legal Services Board
On 28 October, the Legal Services Board (LSB) announced that it had approved the SRA’s final application for the amendments to the regulatory arrangements related to the proposed introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE).
The Law Society responded to this application, writing to the LSB setting out points that need to be addressed during the implementation of the SQE around equality, diversity and inclusion, particularly around disability access. These points have been addressed in the LSB’s decision notice.
The LSB approved the application following a thorough assessment and concluded that if the SRA realises its stated ambition, it should have a positive impact on the regulatory objectives set out in the Legal Services Act 2007. While the LSB’s decision identifies issues that will need to be managed by the SRA, it did not consider them to outweigh the likely benefits of the changes.
The decision notes that:
- there are specific areas the SRA will need to manage carefully in order to realise the full benefits of the coming changes
- the SRA has committed to monitoring and evaluating the SQE
- the SRA will be publishing necessary guidance and advice and proceeding transparently through implementation
- the SRA will be commissioning independent research into the underlying reasons that candidates from some protected minority groups did not perform as well as other groups in the SQE pilots