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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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