The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has today delayed making a decision on the introduction of a so-called super exam.
While the SRA maintained in its announcement that it still believed there was a strong case for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, it has extended its timetable to work out some of the detail.
"I think the case for a form of centralised assessment is strong," said Paul Philip, SRA chief executive. "It addresses the problem that, currently, qualifications are not comparable – multiple courses and exams mean that standards can vary significantly and there is a lack of transparency.
"Any new assessment needs to be fair and consistent and ensure that new solicitors can meet the high standards that the public and employers expect."
The extended consultation period now means that the new exam will not be in place before the 2019-20 academic year, while the original timetable could have seen the revamped qualification introduced in 2018-19.
The new exam proposals, which would have seen the examination process for solicitors become more centralised instead of being governed and run by a variety of institutions, have proved controversial, with universities and other academics being particularly opposed to the idea and many demanding more detail on how the exam would work in practice.