The SQE, once it is implemented from autumn 2021, will be fundamentally different from the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course in that it will only cover the final exams. All graduates training towards qualification as a solicitor will now take the same route, as the Solicitors Regulation Authority has set out, regardless of academic background. As a result, there will be a range of preparation courses offered by third parties, from institutions such as The University of Law.
There will be a transition period from the time the SQE is phased in, which means that if you’ve already started working towards qualifying as a solicitor you can still do so through the current route up until 2032. This includes having completed a Qualifying Law Diploma, GDL, LPC or the Period of Recognised Training.
However, once that point has passed the SQE will have effectively replaced the GDL and LPC regardless of your route through legal training. In addition, if you start from September 2021, you will only be able to take the SQE exams - this means that the training courses on offer for the SQE will have effectively replaced the GDL and LPC.
How long will the SQE transition period last?
The SRA has indicated that approvals for the LPC will continue up until the 2025/26 academic year, meaning that the current courses will gradually be phased out and replaced by the SQE training courses, rather than a sudden switch.
For the 2020/21 academic year, providers such as The University of Law will nonetheless continue to offer courses such as the LPC and the GDL - however, you should check whether you can enrol for the coming academic year, as applicants who were completing the GDL part-time may not be able to progress as a result of the upcoming end date of these courses. Each provider will have different criteria regarding both their SQE courses and GDL/LPC, so it’s best to check on their individual websites for the full details.