Changes to legal education

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has changed the way that candidates will qualify as a solicitor.


Starting a Law degree from 2022 onwards

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has changed the way that candidates will qualify as a solicitor. For students starting from 2022 onwards, law degrees will no longer be labelled as ‘Qualifying Degrees’. To qualify as a solicitor, students will need to successfully complete a degree or equivalent (in any subject) followed by successful completion of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) and two years' qualifying work experience. 

If you wish to become a barrister, our courses cover the seven foundations of legal knowledge set by the Bar Standards Board. After graduation you will need to complete a Bar training course and undergo a period of work-based training supervised by an experienced barrister, known as a pupillage. 

The seven foundations of legal knowledge are:

  • Criminal Law
  • Equity and Trusts
  • Law of the European Union
  • Obligations 1 (Contract)
  • Obligations 2 (Tort)
  • Property/Land Law
  • Public Law (Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Human Rights Law)

You will study these seven foundations in the first year of your degree, and can choose to specialise in specific areas as you advance on the course.

Studying Law at Sheffield will provide you with critical knowledge and understanding of law, and the legal system, setting you on the path to a successful legal career.

Qualifying work experience

From 1 September 2021, those looking to qualify as a solicitor through the SQE route must complete at least two years’ full time (or equivalent) qualifying work experience (QWE). 

This must be in roles where you are delivering legal services and where you can develop some or all of the competencies needed to practice as a solicitor. It can be done in up to four organisations and must total two years’ full-time or equivalent.

At Sheffield, there are opportunities for you to gain time that may count towards QWE during your studies. This includes the Law School’s legal clinics and some external pro bono opportunities. The application process for these opportunities is competitive and if you are selected, there is no guarantee that the time you spend will count towards QWE.

The School will apply reasonable requirements to a request for certification as this can only be made in compliance with the supervising solicitors’ professional obligations to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

University of Law partnership

Thanks to a collaboration between The University of Sheffield and The University of Law (ULaw), students can study ULaw’s Legal Practice Course (LPC) and Solicitor Qualifying Exam (SQE) courses at our Sheffield campus.

Find out more

If you started a Law course in 2021 or before

Solicitor route:

Our LLB and MA Law degree programmes are recognised as Qualifying Law Degrees (QLD). A QLD exempts you from further study before you enter the vocational stage of professional training, if you intend to become a solicitor. In order to obtain a QLD you must pass modules in subjects known as the foundations of legal knowledge.

In 2021 a new framework for qualification to become a solicitor was introduced. However, any student who begins their degree in 2021 will still be able to complete their training under the existing rules.

Barrister route:

In order to complete the academic component of training based on a law degree awarded in the UK/Republic of Ireland, a student must hold a degree which complies with the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Law which includes study of the foundations of legal knowledge subjects.

Our MA Law and LLB degrees enable you to fulfil these requirements and apply for the Bar’s vocational training element. You must also obtain at least a 2.2 degree to apply to a Bar Training Course.

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