This is an important consultation affecting the future of the profession. The Law Society and other stakeholders expect to see more detail at this stage in order to assess the likely impact of the regulations. We’ve been closely scrutinising these proposals from the outset to ensure the system maintains high standards and helps the very best to enter the profession regardless of their background.”
Joe Egan added: “We have always said we strongly support a centralised assessment set at the right level to allow the broadest range of applicants to qualify and to maintain the strong international reputation of solicitors in England and Wales.”
The SQE also must be sufficiently challenging and rigorous to maintain the global reputation of the solicitor brand. This matters to the profession, but it matters just as much to consumers and to UK PLC. The Law Society will continue to emphasise the importance of ensuring not only that the new tests are developed appropriately, but also that academic and work experience requirements are subject to proper scrutiny to ensure standards.
The introduction of the SQE will also end the existing transfer scheme for foreign lawyers of other jurisdictions. In light of Brexit, it is crucial that the negotiations between the EU and the UK are taken into account.
Joe Egan said: “Given the international standing of the solicitors profession, it is important that the SRA provides more detail and clarity as to what criteria the SRA would apply for the recognition of other jurisdictions and qualifications, and experience obtained outside of England and Wales. Our response will highlight the need to retain current exemptions and support the continuation of the EU lawyers framework.”