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Law schools unveil SQE courses – but keep quiet about fees

By Jemma Slingo  >>

Law schools have begun to announce plans to prepare students for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam – but have yet to reveal how much their preparation courses will cost.

The University of Law said graduates now have the option to take standalone SQE preparation courses or to select from a suite of master’s programmes, which will be eligible for postgraduate funding.

The standalone SQE 1 and SQE 2 courses will focus entirely on preparation for the regulator’s assessment and will be supported by a ‘SQE Law Essentials’, a 10-week booster course for non-law graduates.

Some of ULaw’s SQE courses will be offered from January, while others will be introduced in September 2021.

Asked how much the courses will cost, ULaw said official prices have yet to be set. However, pro vice chancellor Peter Crisp said the fees will be ‘very competitive’ and will be announced within the next month.

Meanwhile, the College of Legal Practice – a subsidiary of the College of Law Australia and New Zealand – has confirmed it will be providing a digital SQE programme. This will include preparation for both parts of the SQE and access to a practice master’s qualification from summer 2021.

Full details of the course offering are expected early next year.

Giles Proctor, chief executive of the College of Legal Practice, said: ‘It is the college’s ambition to make solicitors the best possible legal practitioners they can be whilst qualifying and ensuring access to the profession is not restricted by cost or location. As such, the college is putting together a full package of preparation courses and wrap-around legal-skills based training modules to ensure solicitors are fully prepared for professional practice.’

The SQE was officially approved by the Legal Services Board last week and it has been predicted that the assessment could halve the cost of qualification for some students.

However, the Law Society’s Junior Lawyers Division warned that the exam could prove just as expensive as the current system and the first cohort of graduates will face a host of unresolved issues.

US legal education giant Barbri announced in September that it will be offering a SQE preparation course for £6,000. Together with the cost of the exams themselves, this takes the total price to just under £10,000.

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)