A 15-year-old has managed to score almost 50% in the initial section of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, despite doing no preparation and having no knowledge of the law, her mother claimed today.
Lisa Dickson, deputy head of Kent Law School, said her Year 10 daughter – who has yet to sit her GCSEs – scored 48% in the first 25 questions of an SQE practice paper which tests ‘functioning legal knowledge’. In an email to colleagues, which was forwarded to law schools around the UK, the academic said her daughter has ‘absolutely no knowledge’ of law and answered the questions using ‘logic, common sense and understanding multiple choice formats’. The teenager spent 30 minutes answering the questions.
The SRA said the pass mark for the paper would likely be between 55% - 60%.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority is considering making the first stage of the SQE entirely multiple-choice after a piloting exercise last year found that the written section could place members of ethnic minorities at a disadvantage. This prompted fears among solicitors and training providers that the assessment could lead to a drop in professional standards.
According to the regulator, the multiple-choice questions are designed ‘to test the application of fundamental legal principles which can be expected of a newly qualified solicitor of England and Wales without reference to books and notes’ and will ‘draw on any combination of the subject areas which might be encountered in practice’. Each single best answer question is followed by five possible answers and candidates select one answer for each question.