Who needs more tests?

The Law Society Working Party on Standards is playing a valuable role in exploring options to ensure professional standards are maintained.

However, the Trainee Solicitors Group (TSG) has some concerns about the recent proposals for the introduction of another layer of entry tests to the profession.

The maintenance of standards in the profession is in everyone's interests but as vice-chair of the TSG and a member of the working party, I think we should allow the party time to look at all options. Of particular concern to trainee solicitors is the suggestion that to gain a place on a legal practice course, all candidates must pass a filtering exam testing qualities of logic, literacy and communications skills.

There is only anecdotal evidence that standards are falling. Before we add another layer on the route to qualification we should be sure we are all convinced of the need for it and have determined how it will be implemented and paid for.

Such a test already exists in in Northern Ireland. Evidence from the Institute of Professional Legal Studies in Belfast suggests there is a direct correlation between those who pass the test and their previous academic achievement.

Declan Cushley

TSG vice-chair.