Exemptions and using SQE2 as an equivalence

Only qualified lawyers can apply for exemptions to parts of the SQE assessment.

There are also situations where someone does not need to sit SQE1. These are not classed as exemptions to the SQE assessments.

Learn more: Passed the LPC

Learn more: Passed the QLTS MCT

Exemptions for qualified lawyers

Qualified lawyers can apply for exemptions from the SQE assessments. A qualified lawyer is someone who holds a legal professional qualification which allows a right to practice in England and Wales or another jurisdiction. 

Before you book any assessments, if you think you could be entitled to an exemption from a part of the SQE you must apply to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). They are responsible for assessing whether a candidate is exempt or not.

The SRA will consider your application and let you know which part(s) of the SQE, if any, you are exempt from. You may be exempt from one of the following:

  • SQE1 FLK Assessment 1 or SQE1 FLK Assessment 2 or
  • SQE1 in full or
  • SQE2 in full.

We advise you not to book an assessment until you have had your exemption confirmed by the SRA. If you do not declare exemptions before you book, you will pay for the whole assessment.

How to apply for qualified lawyer exemptions

If you are a qualified lawyer seeking an exemption, you must apply to the SRA.

Learn more: Exemption application on the SRA website

Confirming your exemption

Follow these steps to update your SQE account with exemption information:

  • Log in to your account and complete the pre-booking steps (the diversity survey and reasonable adjustments).
  • Once you have completed the diversity survey and the reasonable adjustments questions, you will see the exemptions form.
  • Enter your SRA number that was provided to you as part of your exemption application, and update your profile based on the information held at the SRA.
  • Your eligibility for SQE assessments will be automatically updated. You can then move on to the booking stage.
  • If exemption information does not show in your account, contact the SQE Candidate Services team.
  • If you wish to remove any exemption information from your profile, contact the Candidate Services team.

After you complete the exemptions form in pre-booking, you will only be able to book the parts of the assessments that you need to take.

For example, if you have an exemption for SQE1 in full, the first bookable assessment will be SQE2. You will not see an option to book SQE1.

Using SQE2 as an equivalence

Passed the LPC

If you have started or passed the LPC, or meet the SRA’s transitional requirements, you can use qualifying work experience and SQE2 as an equivalent to a period of recognised training (training contract). You would not need to take SQE1.

First you will need to tell the SRA that you wish to use this option. You do this by completing the relevant form on the SRA website. Once you have confirmation that your application has been processed, which may take up to 30 days, you can complete the pre-booking steps in your SQE account.

Please note that if you haven’t already registered for an SQE account, you can do so now (you don’t need to wait) or you can do so once you have had confirmation from the SRA. But you will need the SRA confirmation before you can complete the pre-booking steps if you are using this option. You will need to enter your SRA number in the exemptions section of the pre-booking steps in your SQE account. This tells us that you can go straight to booking SQE2.

Booking for SQE2 will open from 10:00am on 25 January 2022.

Learn more: Using qualifying work experience and SQE2 on the SRA website

Passed the QLTS MCT

If you have passed the QLTS MCT before 1 September 2021 you have until 31 August 2022 to sit the second stage (OSCE). If you are unable to take this, you can sit SQE2 to complete your qualification as a solicitor by 31 August 2023.

Learn more: Transitional arrangements on the SRA website

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

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