The UK’s biggest law school has revealed details about its course to prepare students for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) – but still cannot say how much it will cost or when all modules will be available.
The University of Law told the Gazette that it plans to introduce a three-part course to prepare students for the new assessment. The first section will cover SQE1, the second section will cover SQE2 and the final section will consist of electives designed to fill gaps in legal knowledge. Students will have the option to take the course in its entirety or to study certain elements, and the three components will form a single master’s degree.
Part one of the course – preparing students for SQE1 – is due to be introduced in 2021. BPP is introducing an updated law conversion course this autumn. The price of the University of Law's course is ‘still in discussion’. The university was also unable to say whether the second and third parts of the master’s degree will be offered from next year.
Asked how close the university is to finalising the degree, Professor Andrea Nollent, vice-chancellor and CEO of the University of Law, said: ‘There are some gaps still. We’re not quite clear on some of the specification for SQE2, for example. There are a number of unknowns. Clearly we have scoped everything that we can in quite a lot of detail.’
She added: ‘The pace has been directed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. One of the issues - one of the interesting things - was that there was a blueprint but there wasn’t the detail…The last four years has been very much scoping the transition from the [existing law conversion course].’
Earlier this month, law lecturers wrote a letter to the SRA urging it to delay the SQE. Five associations representing academics from across the UK claimed that young people are making ’potentially life changing decisions with only fragmentary information available’ and ‘universities cannot effectively advise them’.
Reacting to the letter, Nollent said: ‘Their concerns are legitimate… What do you say to an 18-year-old and their parents coming onto a law degree about how you qualify to become a solicitor? That is quite challenging when we still don’t have some of the answers. On the other hand we’ve known about it for some time and the pieces are in place.’
SQE1 is due to be introduced in autumn 2021.