The cost of the Solicitors Qualification Exam (SQE) is to rise for the first time since it was introduced.

The cost of the first part of the exam (SQE1) is to rise from £1,558 to £1,622 while the cost of SQE2 moves from £2,422 to £2,493, a total rise of £135. The cost of prep courses is not included in the price of the exam.

This rise will come into effect for the October 2022 exams.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority, announcing the rise, said: “This below-inflation increase will pay for SQE assessment developments such as remote proctoring arrangements. This was an additional requirement following the Covid-19 pandemic, which could be deployed if there were widespread test centre closures, or major restrictions on international travel impacting a large number of candidates.”

Responding to the news, the President of the Law Society, I. Stephanie Boyce, said: “We understand that businesses and institutions across England and Wales are increasing their fees because of inflation. But we are concerned about what this could mean for aspiring solicitors from lower socio-economic backgrounds, especially at a time when we know the cost of living is due to skyrocket again in October.

“It was hoped that the SQE would increase social mobility. However, with rising costs and a lack of loans for those who need them, this aim looks less achievable. We repeat our call to the UK government to provide access to funding for those wishing to take the SQE to ensure everybody has the same opportunities and choices available to them regardless of background.”