Oversight regulator the Legal Services Board has begun the formal assessment of plans to reform the route to qualification as a solicitor through a new examination. 

The super regulator confirmed this morning that it has received an application from the SRA to introduce the so-called Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) from 2020. The LSB now has 28 calendar days to approve or reject the plans. If needed, it can extend the reviewing period to 90 days.

The SRA wants to introduce the SQE in 2020. It will consist of two parts: part one will be a computer-based assessment, which may include multiple choice questions while part two will test practical legal skills and be taken after a period of work-based training.

In the coming months, the SRA is set to appoint an assessment provider after which information about costs, as well as finer details of the exam, will begin to emerge.

An SRA spokesperson said: ‘The aim of the SQE is to guarantee consistent, high standards for qualifying solicitors, as well as helping widen access to the profession. We developed our proposals by engaging with more than 10,000 people. This is the next stage in the process, and we look forward to the LSB’s decision.’

Responding to the latest consultation on SQE, City lawyers at the City of London Law Society said firms needed more time to tailor their training methods to the new qualification process.