The majority of UK law schools make no mention of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam on their websites despite the fact that the assessment is due to come into force next year, research has found.
A study by Dr Andrew Gilbert, senior law lecturer at the Open University, found that three quarters of qualifying law degree providers do not indicate that the SQE will affect their courses from autumn 2021.
According to Gilbert’s research, which was conducted between 10 September and 24 September, 61% of the 119 relevant universities do not mention the SQE on their websites. Meanwhile, 14% mention the assessment, but do say it will affect course provision.
Just 10 universities (8%) give detailed information about new courses or changes to courses in response to the ‘super-exam’.
Gilbert told the Gazette there is evidence from some websites that the pandemic has put back plans for curriculum developments, and smaller law schools are finding it difficult to marshal resources to get new modules or courses approved.
'I expect some schools are biding their time, allowing others to show their hands before finalising their own plans; and I think that being a fast follower – rather than being in the vanguard - could be a sound strategy for some institutions. So, things are largely developing much as many predicted. However, as awareness of the SQE grows among aspiring solicitors, I think we have now reached a point where law schools need to be saying something about SQE to students who are applying to start law degrees next autumn, even if it is just that it will be business as usual next academic year,' he said.
Last week, SQE training provider Barbri announced that it has partnered with the University of Manchester and Kings College London to offer graduates discounted SQE1 course fees.
However, some universities say they still feel in the dark about the format and timetable of the SQE and are unsure how best to prepare their students.
The SQE has yet to be officially approved by the Legal Services Board. It is expected to reach a decision by the end of the month.