Law schools may not move assessments online because of coronavirus, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has said, despite the risk of delays to qualification.
The SRA has told training providers that supervised assessments must be maintained. ‘It’s important that supervision is in place to ensure integrity and security and we recognise this might mean some assessments could be delayed,’ a spokesperson said.
As a result, students on the Legal Practice Course will not be able to sit examinations online at home. The University of Law, Britain’s biggest law school, previously said it hoped to convert some assessments to online methods.
The SRA added that it does not specify the form that law conversion course assessments take. ‘It’s a matter for the providers to consider what arrangements are best in the current circumstances,’ it said. Given current government guidelines, it is expected that law schools will be forced to postpone examinations. However, the SRA said potential trainees can be taken on for a period of recognised training before they have completed the LPC.
The regulator added that there is 'no indication' that the coronavirus outbreak will disrupt the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, which is due to be introduced in autumn 2021. 'Transitional arrangements are in place for 11 years, so any delays for current students should not cause difficulties,' it said.
This morning, the Bar Standards Board announced that centralised bar exams due to take place in April have been delayed until August at the earliest. The regulator said this is consistent with the advice about travel and social distancing.
’The next scheduled opportunity to take the centralised exams will be August 2020 but we will need to keep this under review as the situation develops.’
*The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.