The SRA said the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam would ensure that standards are consistent across the profession. All trainee solicitors, regardless of the training route they have gone through, will need to take it in order to qualify. The SRA hopes the exam will help facilitate more flexible routes to qualification.
The regulator said that as more pathways open up, it is more important to ensure standards are consistent.
The exam will test students based on the statement of competence the SRA drew up earlier this year. A two parts test will first examine a student's legal knowledge, the second their practical skills.
The second assessment will be set at the level trainee solicitors reach at point of qualification. Both components will be equally weighted and must be passed before qualification.
Despite the changes, the SRA said it is likely that some form of work-based training will still be required before qualification. But it said it will continue to consider whether this approach remains appropriate as this can act as a ‘significant barrier’ for some.
A consultation on the proposals runs until 4 March. Depending on the outcome,a second consultation will take place in 2016, the regulator said. The exam would be available no earlier than autumn 2018.
Read the full Law Society Gazette article here