The assessment of character and suitability will be the final step of the SQE in your application to be admitted as a qualified solicitor.
This test is the only aspect of the legal training process that remains unchanged following the SQE reform, as it is currently a requirement for being admitted onto the roll of solicitors.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) does this in order to uphold a certain standard of conduct in its profession when admitting applicants as ‘authorised role holders’.
How is character and suitability assessed?
You’ll be expected to complete an initial screening test, followed by an application form and disclose any details that the SRA should be made aware of. If evidence is found which you haven’t submitted, this will be counted against you.
Any grave criminal offences are highly likely to lead to a refusal and failure of the test, while any other cautions, warnings and penalties - especially those involving some degree of dishonesty - will be taken into account.
However, evidence of rehabilitation and remedy will also be considered by the SRA, especially when it is backed up by a reference or any mitigating circumstances that you can present.
The authority has published an extensive guide detailing the elements which form a part of the test, as well as the types of documents that you might be required to send in. It would be a good idea to skim through this if you have any doubts regarding this aspect of the SQE. For instance, any evidence of financial dishonesty and mismanagement, or of a sanction from a regulatory body will count against you in this assessment.