Fair Access Policy

Last updated: February 2021

1

Introduction

1.1

Kaplan SQE Limited (Kaplan SQE) has been appointed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”) as the sole provider of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (‘the Assessment”) and the End Point Assessment Organisation (‘EPAO”) for Solicitor Apprentices.

1.2

We are committed to ensuring fair access for all candidates, to the services we provide in delivering the Assessment, and to the provision of reasonable adjustments for candidates with individual needs.

1.3

Kaplan SQE is a member of the Kaplan group of companies and this policy is underpinned by the group’s core values including holding ourselves to the highest ethical standards in everything we do.

1.4

This policy sets out the principles to which we will adhere and the actions we will take to ensure fair access. For additional information on website access please read the Accessibility Statement.

1.5

It is also underpinned by the following policies:

1.5.1

Reasonable Adjustments Policy

1.5.2

Mitigating Circumstances Policy

1.5.3

Conflict of Interests Policy

1.5.4

Complaints Policy

1.5.5

Appeals Policy

1.6

It is further underpinned by the following processes:

1.6.1

Kaplan will undertake appropriate equality and diversity training and guidance for all individuals engaged or employed by us to conduct, write, examine or mark the Assessment.

1.6.2

Kaplan will monitor performance of candidates, including Solicitor Apprentices, by protected groups and publish this data.

1.6.3

Through our quality assurance processes we will review the practices and performance of any third parties we work with in delivering or facilitating the Assessment to ensure they meet our fair access requirements and comply with equalities legislation.

1.7

To ensure that the principles of this policy are met, we will require all individuals employed or engaged in the delivery and/or facilitation of the Assessment, to be fully aware of the contents of this policy.

1.8

We will review this and all associated policies annually as part of our ongoing quality assurance procedures.

2

Scope

This policy applies to all candidates, including Solicitor Apprentices, registered to take the Assessment.

3

Managing Fair Access

3.1

The Statement of Solicitor Competence and the Functioning Legal Knowledge (FLK) set out the competencies and knowledge which all candidates must achieve to demonstrate their ability to practice. The Threshold Standard sets out the standard which must be achieved to qualify as a Solicitor of England and Wales. All candidates must be assessed against the Statement of Solicitor Competence and the FLK and must reach the Threshold Standard to qualify, but reasonable adjustments will be made to methods of assessment to ensure that candidates with individual needs are not disadvantaged.

3.2

In developing the Assessment we will aim to ensure that no candidate is unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged as a result of being a member of a group protected under the Equality Act 2010.

3.3

The Reasonable Adjustments Policy sets out the principles and procedures that will be followed when candidates request reasonable adjustments to accommodate an individual need.

3.4

The Assessment will take place in venues which comply with the disability access requirements of applicable equality legislation. We will accommodate a range of alternative arrangements for candidates requiring reasonable adjustments.

3.5

Booking arrangements include a facility to request individual special arrangements and reasonable adjustments to ensure a candidate’s needs are identified and agreed subject to provision of appropriate evidence. We will provide training and guidance to ensure that applications are reviewed fairly and reasonable adjustments are properly applied during the Assessment.

3.6

The Mitigating Circumstances Policy makes provision for a candidate whose performance during the Assessment was affected by a mitigating circumstance to make a claim to the Assessment Board. The policy defines a mitigating circumstance as:

a

A mistake or irregularity in the administration or conduct of the assessment; or

b

Evidence of bias in the conduct of the assessment; or

c

Subject to the Fit to Sit Policy and SQE Assessment Regulations a candidate's illness or other personal circumstances beyond his/her reasonable control

which materially and adversely affects a candidate's marks or performance in the assessment.

3.7

Candidates have a right of appeal from the decisions of the Assessment Board under the Appeals Policy.

3.8

The Conflict of Interests Policy aims to ensure that no candidate is unfairly advantaged or disadvantaged as a result of a conflict of interest involving an individual or an organisation in the provision of the Assessment.

3.9

Candidates who have a complaint about fair access may formalise the complaint by using our Complaints Procedure.

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Ready to register for the SQE?

Create your personal SQE account and book your assessments.

Register for SQE 

Have you passed the SQE?

Find out what happens after passing the SQE and admission to the roll of solicitors.

Learn more