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SQE Mitigating Circumstances

SQE mitigating circumstances

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Steps to Claim Mitigating Circumstances for the SQE

Making a claim for mitigating circumstances is never easy, especially if the reason for your mitigating circumstances has not only affected your studies, but your life. Given that preparation for the SQE exams will last for months it is not uncommon for a certain event to take place which impacts your ability to study for the SQE or interfere with your SQE assessment date. Here we will talk about the steps you will need to take to make a claim for mitigating circumstances.

Definition of Mitigating Circumstances for the SQE

The definition for ‘mitigating circumstances’ for the SQE means:

  • A mistake or irregularity in the administration or conduct of the assessment
  • Evidence of bias in the conduct of the assessment
  • Subject to the Fit to Sit Policy and SQE Assessment Regulations, a candidate’s illness or other personal circumstances beyond their reasonable control

If any of these has happened to you, they must have materially and adversely affected your marks or performance in an SQE assessment.

Circumstances That Will Not Usually Meet the Definition of Mitigating Circumstances

  • Disruptions to exam preparation or study time
  • Employment
  • Holiday/family events
  • Misreading the assessment timetable
  • Transports issues

This list is not exhaustive.

A Mistake or Irregularity in the Administration or Conduct of the Assessment

A mistake or irregularity during your assessment could occur on the day of your assessment or afterwards when your assessment answers are being processed and marked. No system is perfect and mistakes can happen. However, you must make sure that if you do come across a mistake or irregularity on the day of your assessment, that you communicate this to an exam invigilator as soon as possible before leaving the venue.

Examples of a mistake or irregularity during an exam could be a major disruption due to noise during your exam, having the wrong or no exam paper when arriving at your test centre or the centre being closed on short notice.

Evidence of bias in the conduct of the assessment

Evidence of bias in the conduct of an exam is where on the day of your exam, you feel that you are at a disadvantage to other exam takers at the same venue. This will usually arise as a result of a technical error. Though evidence of bias in the conduct of your assessment is extremely rare and obvious it must still be declared by yourself as a mitigating circumstance.

A Student’s Illness or Other Personal Circumstances Beyond Their Reasonable Control

Once you finish the assessment and wish to proceed with a claim for mitigating circumstances, you must complete and send off an SQE Mitigating Circumstances Form. If you are taking the SQE1 exam you must complete the SQE1 Mitigating Circumstances Form. All claims with regard to the SQE1 must be made by 4 pm GMT on the fifth working day after the relevant assessment date. If you are taking the SQE2 exam you must complete the SQE2 Mitigating Circumstances Form. All claims with regard to the SQE2 exam must be made by 4 pm GMT on the fifth working day after the end of the assessment window in question.

The mitigating circumstances form must be accompanied by independent supporting written evidence detailing the reason for mitigating circumstances. For example, if you make a claim due to illness, you must provide a medical certificate as evidence of the illness which should outline the time period in which your illness occurred, the onset and duration of the condition.

Evidence Needed in Applying for Mitigating Circumstances

Once you finish the assessment and wish to proceed with a claim for mitigating circumstances, you must complete and send off an SQE Mitigating Circumstances Form. If you are taking the SQE1 exam you must complete the SQE1 Mitigating Circumstances Form. All claims with regard to the SQE1 must be made by 4 pm GMT on the fifth working day after the relevant assessment date. If you are taking the SQE2 exam you must complete the SQE2 Mitigating Circumstances Form. All claims with regard to the SQE2 exam must be made by 4 pm GMT on the fifth working day after the end of the assessment window in question.

The mitigating circumstances form must be accompanied by independent supporting written evidence detailing the reason for mitigating circumstances. For example, if you make a claim due to illness, you must provide a medical certificate as evidence of the illness which should outline the time period in which your illness occurred, the onset and duration of the condition.

Evidence Sent After the Mitigating Circumstances

If you are unable to provide your evidence in time (within the 5-day window), you must still submit your mitigating circumstances form and contact the Equality and Quality Team to be advised on the submission deadline for your written evidence.

No evidence of mitigating circumstances

Where it is not possible to give written evidence, you must still submit your mitigating circumstances form which will be reviewed by a panel. They will review the available information and circumstances outlined in your mitigating circumstances form.

Outcome of Mitigating Circumstances

Your mitigating circumstances form will be acknowledged within five working days of receiving it.

Your claim will be reviewed by a Mitigating Circumstances Panel who will consider whether your claim amounts to mitigating circumstances and whether it is substantiated by evidence. The pass mark and candidate mark cannot be changed as a result of the mitigating circumstances claim.

If you fail the assessment attempt, and your mitigating circumstances claim is successful, the attempt will be discounted and you may be entitled to a refund. If you pass the assessment attempt, your mitigating circumstances claim will not be considered any further. It is not possible to retake an SQE assessment you have passed in order to improve your grade, under any circumstances.

Official Insights into SQE Mitigating Circumstances

For authoritative and comprehensive insight into mitigating circumstances as they relate to the SQE, the official resources provided by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) are invaluable. The Mitigating Circumstances Policy, accessible here, offers detailed guidelines and policies pertaining to various scenarios and conditions that might affect a candidate’s performance. Additionally, the SRA’s on-demand events, including discussions and seminars on SQE mitigating circumstances, available here, provide further insights and perspectives. These resources are essential for anyone seeking a thorough understanding of the procedures, requirements, and implications of mitigating circumstances in the context of the SQE.

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