The Solicitors Regulation Authority has claimed that nearly 80% of the world’s major jurisdictions require solicitors to take a test before qualifying – its latest attempt to support the introduction of a single 'super-exam'.
The SRA said today that it has carried out a ‘benchmarking’ exercise that considers requirements for solicitors in 18 jurisdictions.
A report, Qualifying in international jurisdictions – international benchmarking, showed that 77% of the major jurisdictions, including New York, Germany, France and India, have a common assessment as part of solicitor qualification rules.
In total, 14 out of the 18 jurisdictions required solicitors to undertake an exam before qualifying.
Jurisdictions where centralised assessment is not currently required, as is the case in England and Wales, include New South Wales and Victoria, Australia, and British Columbia, Canada.
Earlier this year, the Gazette reported widespread criticism of the regulator's plan to introduce a ‘super-exam’, the solicitors qualifying examination (SQE), which would need to be taken by all would-be solicitors.
The City of London Law Society warned that the proposals could create a ‘two-tier’ legal profession.
Paul Philip, chief executive of the SRA, said the organisation had been working on its proposals over the summer, listening and gathering more evidence.
‘Our report shows that most major jurisdictions see a centralised assessment, combined with work-based learning and a law degree or equivalent level of education, as the best way to make sure solicitors are competent,’ Philip said.
The SRA plans to consult further in the autumn and added that the SQE proposals will be discussed at the SRA’s compliance officer conference, on 20 October.