The Solicitors Regulation Authority has stated that the changes to the system, and the introduction of the SQE, will take effect from August of 2020. There will be a period however, where some people who have already began their routes to qualification will have a number of options.
Some of the key points to this transition period are as follows:
- All candidates from overseas (QLTS candidates), and all apprentices, must take the SQE from September 2019 onwards.
- UK-based candidates who have begun an LLB, GDL, CPE, LPC or a Training Contract before September 2019 would have two options – qualify under the traditional route, or take the SQE. It is important to note that if they take the SQE route, they must comply with the new standards (including the 24 months of workplace training.)
- The final cut off date for qualifying under the old route would be 2024. After this date, the SQE will become the only means of qualifying as a solicitor.
- Anyone who starts a Law Degree or a Conversion Course (GDL or CPE) from September 2019 onwards is obliged to take the SQE to become a solicitor.
- QLTS candidates who had already taken the QLTS Stage One exam would be able to choose between completing QLTS Stage Two or the SQE Stage Two.
The SRA have commented on these dates, saying that they feel it is a fair way to deal with candidates who are already in the process of qualification when the SQE is introduced.
They claim that “it creates a market-led approach to implementation in which these candidates can choose the best route for their particular circumstances. It will also allow the education and training market time to adapt to the new landscape.”