The SRA is intending to roll out the new Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) in 2021 with Kaplan as the assessment provider. However, the results of the first pilot stage (for SQE1) found the skills assessments did not meet key targets for licensing, so their current form may be reviewed – in particular, the skills component of SQE stage one was found to disadvantage BAME candidates in the pilot. The SRA are now proceeding with a pilot of SQE 2.
Ongoing competency is likely to be an issue that regulators will want to look at in the future. The Legal Services Board is carrying out a thematic review of how regulators ensure that practitioners remain competent throughout their careers. Advocacy standards are also now back on the agenda as the SRA seeks views on higher rights proposals, which envisage a centralised system of standards and assessment for solicitor advocates.
Whilst wider reforms are not thought to be on the political agenda, the Independent review of regulation by Professor Stephen Mayson is expected to report this autumn. You can read LawWorks submission to the Mayson review below.