Radical options considered by education and training review team

The research team for the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) is considering the abolition of the qualifying law degree and replacement of the pupillage and training contract as part of seven potential reforms.

The radical options, revealed as part of the first LETR Discussion paper published yesterday (12 March), are suggested as a means of simplifying the structure of legal education and training (LET) in order to reduce the number of anomalies that currently exist.

The paper, entitled ’Call for Evidence: Key Issues’, reads: “We would argue that what is required is simplification: a structure that increases choice over the processes of qualification, whilst delivering greater certainty to the professions and to consumers as to the quality of outcomes achieved.

“This could be achieve in a number of ways, and part of the continuing work of the Review will be to map out options in more detail.”

It then lists the “more radical” proposals. The suggestions also include the introduction of national assessments at the point of entry to the profession, the specification of sector-wide national standards for key areas of work and the removal of at least some of the linear breaks and distinctions between ‘vocational courses’ and work-based learning.

The paper identifies a number of knowledge and skill gaps in the current system, which include a lack of ethics training; basic business and commercial awareness training; training in the use of statutory materials and interpretation; and developing a deep awareness of the legal structural consequences of devolution.

It also provides a description of the context of the LETR, focussing on the current regulatory framework, emerging issues from the work undertaken to date and taking a look at the key strengths and weaknesses of the current system.

The research team are now calling for a response, particularly with regard to whether LET is ‘fit for purpose’, any weaknesses in the current system and the radical changes proposed.

A further two discussion papers for the progress of the LETR will be published in April and July 2012.

The deadline for responses to the initial paper is 10 May 2012.

For more information on the LETR please see this link.