If you are already a CILEx Practitioner or Chartered Legal Executive (also referred to as a CILEx Fellow) you’re closer to qualifying as a Solicitor in England and Wales than you may think. Law Training Centre is here to assist you in your journey – Find out how you can qualify through the Solicitors Qualifying Examination Pathway (SQE) in only 2 steps!
From the 1st September 2021, to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales through the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), aspiring solicitors will need to meet four main requirements:
- Have a degree in any subject (or equivalent qualification/work experience);
- Pass both stages of the SQE assessment – SQE1 focuses on legal knowledge and SQE2 on practical legal skills;
- Have two years’ qualifying work experience (QWE); and
- Meet the SRA’s character and suitability requirements.
To allow flexibility in how individuals qualify, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) does not specify an order in which you must complete these four requirements. Therefore, you can choose when and how you complete each part to fit around your own commitments.
Find out more about the SQE pathway to qualification here.
As a CILEx Practitioner or Chartered Legal Executive (CILEx Fellow), the SRA have recognised the existing CILEx studies and experience you will have obtained. The SRA have therefore confirmed that you will be exempt from two of the four requirements of SQE:
Have a degree in any subject (or equivalent qualification/work experience) degree/equivalent qualification through a UK NARIC Statement of Comparability
Level 6 qualifications, including the CILEx Level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice, are equivalent to a degree for the purposes of the SQE. Therefore, any CILEx member who has completed their Level 6 qualification will already have achieved this requirement, and do not need to apply to confirm this equivalence – you just need to submit details to the SRA when you apply for your admission as a Solicitor.
Have two years’ qualifying work experience (QWE)
CILEx Practitioners who have completed the CILEX required 5 years working in the legal sector with 2 years in their specialist area, or Chartered Legal Executives Fellows who have completed their period of 3 years Qualifying Employment and Work Based Learning Portfolio, are not required to complete 2 years’ qualifying work experience, as the SRA will recognise your existing qualification and the experience that you will have needed in order to achieve that qualification. Therefore, CILEx Practitioners or Chartered Legal Executives will only be required to pass the SQE1 and SQE2 assessments and meet the SRA’s character and suitability requirements in order to qualify as a Solicitor in England and Wales.
Other CILEx members will be required to complete 2 years QWE along with the meeting the other stages of the SQE pathway to qualification in order to qualify as a Solicitor – unless they have already completed their CILEx Level 6 Diploma in Law and Practice – in which case they will have already achieved the requirement to hold a degree or equivalent, as detailed above. You can find out about the different levels of CILEx Membership on the CILEx website.