Virus latest: Regulator to relax LPC exam rules

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Law schools can apply to run assessments online to avoid delays, SRA confirms

Legal Practice Course (LPC) students could sit certain exams online for the first time in light of the coronavirus crisis, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has confirmed.

The solicitors’ watchdog said it is “relaxing” current assessment requirements for all parts of the LPC during the pandemic. This means law schools may make alternative arrangements for skills assessments and elective subjects.

The SRA did stress it will maintain its requirements for supervised exams from all core LPC subjects, but will consider applications from LPC providers for online or remote assessments.

The update, part of a Q&A published today on the regulator’s website, continues:

“LPC providers must apply to us for approval before making any changes to assessments. We will consider changes to our current requirements on a provider by provider basis. Approval will be subject to review by us at any stage.”

The 2019 Legal Cheek LPC Most List

The news follows public appeals from both students and junior lawyers, urging the regulator to relax exam requirements in view of COVID-19.

The Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) warned the SRA yesterday that there was “no known timescale for this virus” and delays would have “serious implications” for trainees who start training contracts in September. Meanwhile, a group of LPC students launched a petition calling on the regulator to consider allowing law schools to arrange remote exams with the aid of existing software programmes.

Today’s SRA update adds: “Trainees are also permitted to start their training contract before they have completed the LPC. Therefore training providers may need to consider and plan for trainees to complete the LPC later on.”

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Future trainee at Kirkland (Don’t come for Labo)

Surely those of us who are used to handwriting exams, contra typing, should be afforded some adjustments to take this factor into account. Perhaps some extra time?


Which century do you come from? You were typing this comment right now.


Kirkland future trainee strikes again

Not like this is an exam, is it matey? And I still managed to make a fkn typo despite spending three minutes to write that comment. Bolsters my argument if nothing else.


Kirkland HR

Could you please tell me what is your name? Normally we check whether all future trainees have good attention to detail, must have been some mistake here.


FT Kirkland

‘Could you please tell me what your name is?’* Clearly they don’t screen HR very well either.

Future Trainee

Can’t really complain but some of the core modules probably would be trickier online, from a logistic point, like civil litigation where the examination bundle is fairly hefty.

I would only be worried about hiccups with the system resulting in your work not being marked and getting an instant fail lol.


Future Trainee at Latham

I fully sympathise with your sentiment and call upon the SRA to remedy this injustice.



Three articles in a day, two days in a row. I am impressed. Just one request – please do more retention rates articles.


Future Trainee

Does this mean electives may be examined without supervision?



Could also be coursework from the the SRA said


Providers take note

If this means (for those of us who are open book) that I can just CTRL+C pro-forma answers into the “exam” and mark them up, then this is a positive result. With all respect to them, this would put students as close to practice as they ever will.

I too prefer handwritten exams, where typos can be hidden by one’s horrific handwriting.



With there being more training contracts available every year than LPC students, a ~90 something percent employment rate, and providers offering full refunds for courses if one doesn’t get a job – is it really relaxing the rules? Given the quality of many solicitors I’ve seen and been told stories about, I didn’t think it was possible.



I think making us sit our exams while all this is going on is absolutely ridiculous. Individuals are having to self-isolate, and this is clearly having a detrimental effect on peoples mental health. Students have lost loved ones as a result of this virus, and the anxiety that surrounds this whole situation is just insane. We can all try to make life go on as normal, but the reality of the situation is that nothing about what we’re going through is normal!

I quite frankly don’t know what all the rush is about. I would much rather sit my exams knowing I am in the best (or at least a better) position to do, rather than sit them just for the sake of getting them over with. The LPC costs a lot of money and time, and I would rather not risk having my transcript stained with a resit all because I had to sit my exams in June.

Law firms have agreed to let future trainees commence their training contracts before completing the LPC, so the argument about trainees being unable to start work in September 2020 needs to be re-considered. With regards to international students, the Home Office is likely to extend visas by default until students can sit their exams – just as they have done for students whose visa’s expired this month who have been unable to travel back to their countries.

I did not sign up for online school when I first registered for my course, because that’s not how I learn best. So having to sit exams after 2 months of online SGSs just doesn’t work for me.



You think that completing your LPC after commencing your TC is going to be easier and better for your mental health than doing them online when you have nothing else to do? You’re going to be in for a big shock when you start your TC if you think that is the case


Future Trainee

I can only imagine someone without a TC saying something like that.

Everyone that I know with a TC just wants to get the course over and done with, in whatever way possible, and is more concerned with their firm rescinding/deferring



I disagree with NQ. I’m a second seat trainee and can safely say the compulsory accelerated LPC was the worst 6 months of my life. Way way way worse than TC. The TC has actually been really enjoyable and the stress just does not compare.



Lol, you must have had a banter 1st seat. Don’t some MC firms do a pro bono seat?


Lol 2

Chances are “lol” did his/her Lpc at ULaw with an open book and doesn’t understand the amount of material you need to memorise in the BPP fast track

Archibald Pomp O'City

You delicate snowflake. You will be crying a lot of sad tears if you get into practice if you think sitting an exam in the comfort of your own home is “absolutely ridiculous” and “just doesn’t work for me”.

In addition, please learn the plural possessive case when using (or not using) apostrophes. You may think they’re out of fashion, and doubtless the great unwashed would agree enthusiastically, but legal colleagues will expect a basic standard of grammar.

I agree that it is an unsettling time (for all) and wish you the best of luck in your exams. This is not the only major challenge you will face in your career and when in practice, you will find that goalposts shift all the time.



This is good news, especially for learners with a disability (as defined under the Equality Act), who would like to sit alternative formats of assessment. This sets a vital precedent that needed to be set, and the SRA may be inclined to allow alternative formats of assessment once this is over with.

Many students will now begin to question why the SRA couldn’t have done this previously, rather than waiting for a global health crisis to decide it is possible.


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