Jan 30, 2024

Written By Helena Kudiabor

What is the SQE?

Jan 30, 2024

Written By Helena Kudiabor

Put simply, the SQE stands for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination. It is the culmination of the consultations and reviews of the Training for Tomorrow programme – an assessment, standardised, which all solicitors will be required to take before they are accepted as qualified. Unless you accepted your training (PGDL/CPE, LPC, training contract or a law degree) by 1st September 2021, you will need to take the SQE to become a solicitor.

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is the centralised exam which all new solicitors will need to pass to be a qualified solicitor, split into two parts.


The first part, which many solicitors will take before their required two years of work experience, would be an assessment of a candidate's functioning legal knowledge (FLK).

The exam itself is divided into two parts, and is assessed as multiple choice questions over two days:


- Business Law and practice

- Dispute Resolution

- Contract

- Tort

- Legal System of England and Wales

- Constitutional and Administrative Law and EU Law and Legal Services

- Ethics and Professional Conduct (examined in both)


- Property Practice

- Wills and the Administration of Estates

- Solicitors Accounts

- Land Law

- Trusts

- Criminal Law and Practice

- Ethics and Professional Conduct (examined in both)

To progress to SQE2, candidates must achieve the pass mark for both FLK1 and FLK2. If you fail one, you automatically do not pass.


The SQE2 exam takes five days to complete and assesses six practical skills (as well as ethics and professional conduct):

- Client interview and attendance note/legal analysis

- Advocacy

- Case and matter analysis

- Legal research

- Legal writing

- Legal drafting

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These skills are examined using these five practice areas:

- Criminal Litigation

- Dispute Resolution

- Property Practice

- Wills and Intestacy, Probate Administration and Practice

- Business organisations, rules and procedures


In addition to the two exams, candidates must also undertake two years of work experience, due to consultations showing the benefits of practical work experience. Despite this, unlike the current system, the SQE does not limit the work experience to training contracts. As a result, qualifying work experience can be done at any legal institute. Furthermore, if you are a qualified lawyer or are currently working in the legal sector, you will not need to do any work experience.

Ultimately, the SQE provides a standardised, flat test which negates the differences between separate providers who determine their own limits and pass marks for the LPC and law conversion courses.