The much-delayed final report of the Legal Education & Training Review (LETR) research team was completed on time and could have been published as planned in December 2012, but was stalled when the regulators insisted on a version three times the size of the original, the Gazette can exclusively reveal.

Publication date was subsequently moved to January 2013, but again was delayed until – possibly – May 2013.

A source close to the research team said: ‘As often with these things, what academics prepare and what non-academics actually want, like and understand can be distinctly different.’

The source added that the expanded report has now been completed and that it is for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and others to determine a publication date. The source said: ‘It should be soon, as there is a Westminster Forum session in October on it.’

An SRA spokeswoman was unable to confirm these claims, but said in a statement: ‘The SRA, Bar Standards Board (BSB) and ILEX Professional Standards (IPS) expect to receive the final research report from the research team very shortly and expect that it will be published before the end of June.’

A Chartered Institute of Legal Executives spokesman said that he believed ‘the regulators are trying to pin something down’.

The LETR, which has been under way since June 2011, is expected to recommend the most fundamental review of legal education in 30 years. It is a joint project of the SRA, the BSB and the IPS.