Preparatory courses for the SQE are not required by the SRA. The SRA have said that the candidates’ education and training should give them the knowledge and skills to pass the assessments.
However, because of the breadth of material in the assessments, it’s important that candidates consider taking an SQE preparation course.
We expect that most SQE candidates will take a preparation course to give themselves the best possible chance of passing the assessment.
Many providers of legal education and training are considering what they will offer candidates to prepare them for the SQE. Approaches may include:
- rolling the qualifying law degree (LLB) and SQE preparation into one course – law schools with a high number of Legal Practice Course students may take this approach to produce SQE-ready graduates
- providing courses with an SQE focus by providing assessments in a similar format to the SQE or ensuring and SQE focus within their curriculum
- maintaining a research focus within their undergraduate and masters level courses, not altering the curriculum to fit the incoming SQE
The SRA will publish an Assessment Specification that will set out the content and coverage of the SQE and will include sample questions so that providers can design SQE preparation courses.
Candidates should ask education providers about the appropriateness of a particular law degree for professional practise before choosing where to study.
Based on Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme training costs, the SRA has estimated that total SQE training and assessment costs could be between £4,700 and £10,140.
The options on offer will probably include a range of prices due to the broad range of preparatory courses being developed.
Funding the SQE
Currently, student loans will not be available for the SQE assessments or any preparatory course that is not completed through a undergraduate or master’s degree.
We have alerted the SRA and Legal Services Board about the possible negative effects of this, especially on social mobility. We continue to work with government to try to provide funding solutions.
The SRA will no longer provide any quality assurance or oversight of education and training providers.
Instead, it intends to publish data about training providers’ performance to enable candidates to make informed choices, and it may operate a licensing system for providers who wish to use the SQE trademark.
In a decision notice in March 2018 the Legal Services Board raised concerns about the SRA’s proposed system for managing the licensing system, especially where there may be cause to revoke a provider’s licence.
The Legal Services Board expects the SRA to address these concerns and monitor the licence. It has said it may use its oversight powers to seek assurance that the SRA is acting appropriately and proportionately to promote the regulatory objectives.
Currently, providers do not have to use the SQE trademark and the SRA will have no power over providers who do not.