On 9 January 2017, YLAL responded to the second consultation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) on its proposal to introduce a Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), intended to serve as a common professional assessment for all solicitors on the point of qualification. You can read our full response to the consultation below, and our response to the initial consultation on the SQE in March 2016 here.
YLAL welcomes the decision by the SRA to engage in a second consultation exercise on its proposal for the SQE, as well as the provision of further information about how the SQE would operate in practice. We believe it is possible for the SQE to provide a robust, effective and consistent measure of competence for solicitors.
However, we are concerned to ensure that any reforms to legal education and training have a positive impact on social mobility and access to the profession. The proposed introducton of the SQE represents an overhaul of legal education and training, and as such provides a unique opportunity to increase the accessibility of the profession by reducing the cost of legal education, which is a significant financial barrier to qualification as a solicitor. We urge the SRA to consider carefully at every stage the impact of its proposals on the accessibility of the profession, particularly to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
YLAL's response to the SRA consultation, 'A new route to qualifiation: the Solicitors Qualifying Examination', is attached below. The consultation paper is also available below.
YLAL would like to thank Gimhani Eriyagolla, Siobhan Taylor-Ward, Claire England, Jina Woo and Juliette Addis for preparing this consultation response.