SQE exam fees to rise again amid student discontent

Avatar photo

By Rhys Duncan on


SRA says assessment ‘continues to perform well’

Fees for the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) are set to increase for the second time amidst mounting student discontent regarding the centralised assessment.

The current fees for the exams are £1,798 for SQE1 and £2,766 for SQE2, totaling £4,564 for students. This sizeable sum doesn’t include expenses for study materials or preparation courses, which can reach up to £10,000. Starting September 2024, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has today confirmed fees will rise by 5% to £1,888 for SQE1 and £2,902 for SQE2. That’s a total of £4,790.

The news comes less than a year after fees were raised by 11% “due to inflation”.

The SQE Hub: Your ultimate resource for all things SQE

On the rationale for this latest hike, the regulated said: “Our contract with our assessment provider Kaplan allows for an annual inflation-linked increase in fees.The new fee also includes an additional charge towards the costs of providing for candidates to sit the SQE in Welsh if they wish.”

The increase in fees follows several weeks during which students have expressed concerns about both the delivery and management of assessments, as well as the toll they can take on mental health.

Despite this, the SRA’s latest report on the SQE noted that it “continues to perform well and there can be confidence in this rigorous assessment”.

“The SQE Independent Reviewer”, it goes on to say, “concluded that the delivery of the assessment had overall gone well, had improved year on year and the assessments were fair and reliable.” They did however acknowledge “that there had been some operational issues, but Kaplan had been proactive in dealing with issues when they arose and considered the impact on candidates”.

Commenting on the review, Paul Philip, SRA chief executive, said:

“It’s good to see that once again the reports and analyses, including from the independent reviewer, provide assurances that the SQE is a robust, fair and valid assessment. As numbers taking the SQE route continue to increase we, and the public and wider profession, can have confidence that newly qualified solicitors meet the high standards that we all expect of them.”

Last month Legal Cheek exclusively revealed that a number of City law firms had revoked training contracts from students who failed to pass the SQE1 at their first attempt. These outfits include Clifford Chance, Slaughter and May, and CMS.


SRA needs some TLC

Yep, increasing prices definitely fits the narrative of allowing more diverse candidates to take the exam. What a f**king load of b*llocks

Stuart Ross

I was wondering if you always understate your case?

I live below a rock

The provision of the SQE and the exams has been going really well so far to be fair, so I’m sure people will be more than happy to pay a bit extra for the privilege.

Abolish the SRA

Further proof that the SRA is not fit for purpose, their only expertise is hammering trainees for offences that they would gladly allow partners to get away with.


11% and then 5% back to back. So combined fees are now not far short of £5,000.

The exam fees and related costs (accommodation for 2 nights, travel to many venues venues for the assessments).. these add up.

How long before costs are at a similar level to the course fees?

How does making the exam fees less affordable make it more accessible??

Are we looking for a model where private funders cannot afford to make it as a solicitor anymore? So the only people who can qualify are those who have bagged a training contract?

Fed up

LMAO. This is actually funny. The fact we have to pay 5 grand to sit these exams next to people spending 50 quid to do their driving test theory (and btw they do not care if it’s not quiet or there is disruptions etc). I mean you have to laugh at this point.

And this is from the people who are meant to regulate solicitors. Who will regulate them?


I’m unsure how the SRA justifies the fees for these assessments. I advocate for their abolition. It’s incredulous that I’ll be paying around £1,888 for SQE1, up from £1,798 previously. Considering the student loans accrued during the law degree and the exorbitant preparation course fees, it’s clear the UK’s legal system is exploitative. Does the SRA truly address the disparities in the legal industry, or do they merely pursue what seems attainable? Prospective lawyers must question if the investment is worthwhile.

Honest Joe

Suggest a small discount to those who don’t hold trainee contracts or are from disadvantaged backgrounds. @Candidate there are just too many lawyers out there so raising the bar is a sensible move.


Care to justify that last part @Honest Joe? In what way does making the exam more expensive ‘raise the bar’, exactly? Do those with more money, familial connection to law and russell group universities behind them exclusively make good lawyers? Who says there are too many lawyers? In what practice areas?


Unpopular opinion: this is fair. The costs being incurred by the SRA and exam providers will also increase because of inflation. To offset that, fees must be increased. I understand the frustration though.

Join the conversation

Related Stories

news SQE Hub

‘I passed SQE1 at the first attempt – but here’s everything that needs to change’

A future trainee solicitor offers their post-exam reflections

Mar 20 2024 10:46am
news SQE Hub

How can the SQE be improved?

Legal Cheek readers call for cheaper fees, better exam rooms, past papers and more

Mar 27 2024 8:48am
news SQE Hub

Dealing with the mental ‘shockwave’ of the SQE

A paralegal opens up about wellbeing challenges associated with the new assessment

Mar 21 2024 8:43am