A number of SQE policies have been updated

Jul 1, 2024


We have updated the Mitigating Circumstances and Safeguarding policies and Expected Standard of Behaviour. These will apply for assessments booked or taken from today’s date. They will therefore first apply to the July 2024 SQE1 and SQE2, and will apply for assessments booked from today’s date.

The previous versions of the Mitigating Circumstances policy will apply to previous assessments, including the April 2024 SQE2.

We encourage all candidates to read the policies before sitting an assessment.

A non-exhaustive summary of the key changes are below:

Mitigating Circumstances Policy

Timings and deadlines

  • Timescales and deadlines. We have updated the policy to emphasise the timescales and deadlines of the mitigating circumstances process, in particular in paragraph 4. Candidates are required to submit a mitigating circumstances claim by the deadline set out in the policy and late submissions cannot be accepted. Should a candidate feel they had mitigating circumstances that were not claimed by the deadline, they may utilise the appeals process following the release of their results.
  • Timing when written evidence is not available. Further clarification has also been provided regarding the timing and procedure for candidates who are unable to present written evidence to support their claim.
  • Deadline for submission. The deadline to submit a mitigating circumstances claim for SQE2 has been revised to five working days from a candidate’s final assessment station as opposed to five working days from the end of the assessment window. The revision ensures consistency with the SQE1 submission deadline and guarantees that all candidates are afforded the same timeframe to submit their claim.

Operation of the fit to sit declaration with the policy

  • Detailed guidance has been added on the operation of both the Fit to Sit policy with the Mitigating Circumstances policy, including instances where mitigating circumstances claims will not be accepted if a candidate proceeds to sit an assessment after signing the fit to sit declaration.

Calculating a candidates result out of 15 assessment stations

  • We have explained the exceptional circumstances when a SQE2 candidate’s overall result may be determined based on 15 rather than 16 assessment stations which leads to a candidate passing SQE2. This has the objective of being fair to candidates when mitigating circumstances arise, and when the candidate is very close to the pass mark. This benefits candidates where it is accepted that they have been affected in an assessment station by mitigating circumstances. Information is set out in paragraph 5.

An assessment delivery failure and options for candidates

  • We have added a new definition and approach to assessment delivery failures, which we believe will assist candidates. An “assessment delivery failure”, means a system, technical or other operational failure, declared by Kaplan SQE on the day of the failure, that has had the effect of preventing delivery of the assessment. Paragraph 6 of the updated policy provides for a range of options for candidates in this situation.

Additionally, we have made minor adjustments to the phrasing throughout the policy to improve the clarity and consistency of the language used.

Safeguarding Policy

  • The language has been updated to provide for clearer articulation of safeguarding procedures concerning SQE candidates.
  • Detailed information regarding the SQE Lead and Deputy Safeguarding Lead roles has been included.
  • Minor textual revisions have been made to keep the policy current.

Expected Standard of Behaviour

  • The section on Malpractice and Improper Conduct has been removed to eliminate duplication, as these definitions and related processes are contained in Assessment Regulation 13.
  • We have included further examples of the types of behaviour which could be referred to the SRA where there is evidence that a candidate’s behaviour raises serious concerns about their understanding of, or ability to comply with, the SRA Principles or Code of Conduct for Solicitors.
  • Minor changes have been made to improve the clarity of the wording.

Learn more: Policies