The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) has brought in huge changes to the way in which solicitors become qualified. We have created a table to help to show a comparison between the different routes to qualification before and after SQE.
Since SQE was first suggested, YLAL have been concerned about the financial impediment it will cause to prospective solicitors. We would note that, whilst the total cost of qualifying under SQE may be lower in some situations, the unavailability of student loans for large parts of SQE is a real barrier to social mobility. In addition, the cost of sitting the exams is not included in any of the courses and therefore candidates must have almost £4000 available to pay up front.
Our table sets out the costs of the courses and the length of each stage. Please note that we have taken the London pricings for all courses, and have used the University of Law's pricing as the example for the old-style system, in addition to using them as an example of one of the SQE providers.
YLAL notes that the preparation courses for SQE are currently less expensive than the LPC or GDL currently being offered. We are concerned that this may be a move by providers to encourage students to take SQE rather than LPC and believe there is a very significant risk that the SQE prep course fees will increase substantially once the LPC is no longer being offered.