Exemptions and using SQE2 as an equivalence

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

However, there are also situations where someone does not need to sit SQE1. These are not exemptions but equivalents for the transitional routes - LPC and QLTS.

If you decide to apply for an SQE exemption you are unable to use the QLTS transitional route. You must choose one path, as you cannot use both as a way of progressing through your qualification.

Learn more: Lawyers qualified in a recognised jurisdiction who have passed the QLTS MCT assessment

Learn more: Passed the LPC

Learn more: Passed the QLTS MCT assessment

SQE exemptions for qualified lawyers

Qualified lawyers can apply for exemptions from the SQE assessments. This is someone who holds a legal professional qualification which allows them the 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 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 an exemption confirmed by the SRA. If you do not declare an exemption before you book, you will pay have to 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 before you can book any SQE assessment that you will sit.

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 ID number
  • Your eligibility for SQE assessments will be automatically updated. You can then move on to booking a place.
  • If exemption information does not show in your account, contact the SQE Candidate Services team.

After completing this, you will only be able to book any assessments that you need to take.

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

Using SQE2 as an alternative

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.

Firstly, tell the SRA that you wish to use this option. You do this by completing the relevant form on their website.  

Once you have done this, 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.

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

Passed the QLTS MCT

If you have passed the QLTS MCT and you want to sit the SQE2, the SRA have extended the admission date further due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. This means you now have more opportunities to take the SQE2 exam - October 2022, April 2023, July 2023 and October 2023.

Learn more: When you can take the SQE

You have until 31 March 2024 (inclusive) to apply to the SRA to become a solicitor. Due to the time it takes to get your SQE2 results, this means your final opportunity to sit SQE2 will be October 2023. Find out more on the SRA website.

Firstly, you will need to create an SQE account and complete the pre-booking steps. You will then select the Existing QLTS Candidates tab and add in your QLTS ID. Once you receive a confirmation email from us, you can then book on to SQE2 when the booking window opens for your required assessment.

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