Press Release from LSB 27 March 2018
The Legal Services Board (LSB), in accordance with its statutory powers has approved the application of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for amendments to its regulatory arrangements in respect of its authorisation of individuals. The approval is based on the statutory criteria set out in the Legal Services Act 2007.
This approval provides the framework upon which the SRA Board can seek to introduce new requirements for anyone wishing to qualify as a solicitor, including a requirement for individuals to pass a centralised assessment. It has been made following a thorough consideration of the application and the numerous submissions received in response to it including that of the Justice Select Committee.
The introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) does not automatically follow from today’s approval. The SRA will have to submit and the LSB will have to approve further rules change applications. Approval of this application does not mean any further rule changes will be approved. This will be a new and separate assessment of the rules needed to bring the SQE into effect. The SRA expects to apply to the LSB in 2019 for approval of these further rules, which will contain detail on its proposals for implementing the SQE.
Legal Services Board Chief Executive, Neil Buckley said:
“We have today agreed the first stage of the SRA’s reforms to its qualification processes.
The changes that the SRA wishes to make are significant and stakeholders have identified a range of associated risks. We assessed the current approved application thoroughly with these risks in mind and concluded that there are no grounds for refusing this application.
The approval of this application on its own is not sufficient to allow the SQE to be implemented. The SRA will need to make and we will need to approve further rules changes to give effect to the requirement to pass a centralised exam. When considering these further rules and deciding whether to agree with them, the LSB will expect to see more detail from the SRA – particularly on how the SQE will operate, what it will cost and the likely diversity impacts.”