Clarity is urgently needed around new regulations underpinning the proposed super-examination for entrants to the profession, the Law Society said today as it asked the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to publish greater detail about its proposals.

Responding to the SRA’s consultation on draft regulations relating to the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), Society president Joe Egan said: ’We want to be encouraging about the SQE, but at the moment we actually know very little about the rules governing this framework and the SRA really needs to crack on and make these public.’

The Law Society and other stakeholders expect to see more detail at this stage in order to assess the likely impact of the regulations, he said. ’We have always said we strongly support a centralised assessment set at the right level to allow the broadest range of applicants to qualify and to maintain the strong international reputation of solicitors in England and Wales.’

Joe Egan

Joe Egan

However, he stressed that the SQE must be sufficiently challenging and rigorous to maintain the global reputation of the solicitor brand. ’This matters to the profession – but it matters just as much to consumers and to UK PLC.’ 

Noting that the introduction of the SQE will end the existing transfer scheme for foreign lawyers, he added that ’In light of Brexit, it is crucial that the negotiations between the EU and the UK are taken into account.’

Egan said: ’Given the international standing of the solicitors’ profession it is important that the SRA provides more detail and clarity as to what criteria the SRA would apply for the recognition of other jurisdictions and qualifications, as well as any experience obtained outside of England and Wales.’

The Society’s full consultation response has been published.