In September 2021 the Solicitor Regulation Authority (SRA) changed the qualification pathway towards becoming a solicitor.

The new Solicitor Qualifying Examination (SQE) is divided into two stages, SQE1 and SQE2, and aims to broaden the route by which someone can qualify as a solicitor.  The SQE pathway will replace the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and the Legal Practice Course (LPC), and allow someone without an LLB undergraduate degree to study independently and then qualify as a solicitor. 

In addition to passing SQE1 and SQE2, candidates will also be required to have at least 2 years’ work experience, although this can be in a voluntary capacity (for example through work experience). 

New Series

Routledge is publishing two series of books aimed at candidates taking the SQE1 and SQE2 respectively, Essential Law for SQE1 and Legal Practice for SQE2.

Essential Law for SQE1

The SQE1 is the black letter law element of the qualification.  Broadly speaking, the requirements are mapped against existing undergraduate Law degrees.  A key departure from the way law is traditionally assessed is that candidates are not required to recall specific case names or cite statutory or regulatory authorities (save where case name or statutory provision is normally used to describe a legal principle etc).

Questions in the assessments are designed to test the application of fundamental legal principles, and while candidates will not be assessed on the development of the law, ethics and professional conduct will be an element throughout SQE.

The core areas of law that will be tested at SQE1 are as follows:

  • Business Law and Practice
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Contract
  • Tort
  • Legal System of England and Wales
  • Constitutional and Administrative Law and EU Law
  • Property Practice
  • Wills and the Administration of Estates
  • Land Law
  • Trusts
  • Criminal Law and Practice
  • Solicitors Accounts
  • Legal Services

Legal Practice for SQE2

The SQE2 is the skills element of the qualification, with the following legal skills tested in assessments which are likely to be a mix of written tests, computer-based assessments and simulations based on problem scenarios:

  • Client Interview
  • Attendance Note/Legal Analysis (linked to client interview)
  • Advocacy
  • Case and Matter Analysis
  • Legal Research
  • Legal Writing
  • Legal Drafting

These skills will be tested through five areas of practice:

  1. Criminal Litigation
  2. Dispute Resolution
  3. Property Practice
  4. Wills and Intestacy, Probate Administration and Practice
  5. Business Organisations, Rules and Proceedures

The new Routledge Legal Practice Skills for SQE2 series will be a series of books mapped against these areas of practice, and the Statement of Solicitor Competence, providing candidates with a set of concise, practical volumes to help them prepare for the examination.