Trainee solicitors will be able to qualify without first completing the professional skills course (PSC) because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has decided.
It has also reminded firms and other employers that new trainees need not have completed the legal practice course (LPC) before starting work.
Trainees looking to qualify this September need to complete the PSC, but certain elements require face-to-face assessment.
Though the SRA has allowed PSC providers to temporarily move to online or remote proctoring of PSC assessments, it said yesterday that “we know that it may still not be possible for trainees to successfully complete the course in time for their planned admission point”.
As a result, trainees can apply to defer completion of the PSC, but will need to have done it within a year of being admitted.
SRA rules require organisations to pay for a trainee’s first attempt at the PSC and it said this obligation continued even if the trainee took it after admission.
The regulator has already relaxed its rules to allow online and remote teaching and assessment of the LPC during the pandemic.
It said: “We hope that this will mean that many students who intended to complete the LPC before the start of their period of recognised training in September will still be able to do
“However, there will be some individuals who will have to defer completion of the LPC. We would therefore remind authorised training providers that it is not a requirement for the LPC to be completed before the start of their training.”