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Legal Services Board approves introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam
The Legal Services Board (LSB) decision to approve the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) plans to introduce a new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) provides much needed certainty for the profession, said the Law Society of England and Wales.
“We welcome the certainty the LSB’s decision gives the profession in moving forwards with their preparations for the SQE,” said Law Society president David Greene.
“The introduction of the SQE will mark a big change in how aspiring solicitors begin their career in law. We will be producing guidance and information to aid the profession and those seeking to qualify, in understanding how the SQE will work in practice.
“The SQE has the potential to broaden access to the profession. However, the issue still remains that loans have not been made available to help students meet the cost of qualifying, which could have significant implications for social mobility.
“We have been having productive conversations with the government on this issue and will continue to push for the provision of loans for SQE applicants.
“We have consistently raised our members’ concerns about the impact the SQE may have on equality and diversity in the profession and are pleased to see further commitments from the SRA in this area.
“It is hugely encouraging that the SRA will undertake an initial review of the SQE within two years of implementation so any potential negative issues can be identified and addressed at the earliest stage.
“We are also pleased to see the SRA will commission independent research to investigate why candidates from some protected minority groups did not perform as well as others in the pilot exams.
“For our sector to thrive, we need talented individuals from diverse backgrounds and the Law Society is committed to building a more diverse and inclusive profession.
“We will continue to work with the SRA to ensure the SQE does not create any unnecessary barriers to starting a career in the law and our profession reflects the diversity of the society it serves.”
Notes to editors
About the Law Society
The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.
Press office contact: Emma Clarke | 020 8049 3743