The Solicitors Regulation Authority and SQE assessment provider Kaplan today apologised to 175 students who were wrongly told last month that they had failed their exam.

The 6,626 candidates who sat the SQE1 exam in January received their results on 14 March. However, it emerged today that an error saw 175 candidates wrongly told they failed either the first or second part of SQE1. Candidates must pass both 'functioning legal knowledge' assessments to pass SQE1. Kaplan told a media briefing this morning that the matter 'came to light' after candidates appealed their original results.

The SRA and Kaplan said: ‘The incorrect results, which candidates received on 14 March, arose because Kaplan did not round scores at the point in the results process that was set out in the SQE’s published policy.

‘The way the results were presented was new for January’s SQE1 – rather than results being shown as a percentage mark, candidates were given a standardised score out of 500. The mistake was made when implementing this change. It was unique to the January 2024 results – no previous SQE assessments are affected. It was discovered by Kaplan through general checks conducted during the appeals period.’

All results from the January sitting have been reissued. Journalists were told this morning that another 645 candidates will have seen a slight change in their scores but this did not affect the overall outcome of their exam, and there were no instances of candidates wrongly being told they passed.

SRA chief executive Paul Philip said the regulator was ‘really disappointed’ by the error and apologised to the affected candidates. The error was the 'most serious operational mistake that we have made in the last two-and-a-half years', Philip told journalists.

He said: ‘Our immediate priority has been making sure the error has been put right as swiftly as possible, and the impact on candidates is recognised and addressed. We will be doing a full review with Kaplan of how the error occurred, and redoubling efforts on assurance, so we can reduce the risk of an error happening again.’

Zoe Robinson, managing director of Kaplan SQE, said: ‘We are committed to putting this right for candidates, and sincerely regret and apologise for the impact this has had for those affected. A goodwill payment of £250 is being offered to those candidates who were incorrectly told they had failed an assessment in recognition of the upset caused by this matter.

‘In addition, we recognise that individual candidates who received the incorrect outcome may have been impacted by this in different ways. We would encourage candidates in this group, who have incurred losses as a direct result of this error, to contact our Candidate Services Team to outline your circumstances and each will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. We have set up a dedicated email address for this purpose –’


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