Acing the SQE

SQE is a qualifying exam for UK solicitors.


Business organisations, rules and proceduresEdit

(Excluding the Listing, Prospectus, Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules and any other FCA, London Stock Exchange, market rules or codes)

Business and organisational characteristicsEdit

sole trader/1 ownerEdit

partnership/>=2 ownerEdit


private companyEdit

unlisted public companiesEdit

Legal personality and limited liabilityEdit

Procedures and documentationEdit

Procedures and documentation required to incorporate a company/form a partnership/LLP and other steps required under companies and partnerships legislation to enable the entity to commence operating:

constitutional documentsEdit

Companies House filing requirementsEdit


funding options: debt and equityEdit

types of securityEdit

distribution of profits and gainsEdit

financial records, information and accounting requirementsEdit

Corporate governance and complianceEdit

rights, duties and powers of directors and shareholders of companiesEdit

company decision-making and meetings: procedural, disclosure and approval requirementsEdit

documentary, record-keeping, statutory filing and disclosure requirementsEdit

appointment and removal of directorsEdit

minority shareholder protectionEdit

Partnership decision-making and authority of partnersEdit

procedures and authority under the Partnership Act 1890Edit

common provisions in partnership agreementsEdit

Insolvency (corporate and personal)Edit

options and procedures - CVA/IVA, bankruptcy, administration, fixed asset receivership, voluntary and compulsory liquidationEdit

claw-back of assets for creditors – preferences, transactions at an undervalue, fraudulent and wrongful trading, setting aside a floating chargeEdit

order of priority for distribution to creditorsEdit

Taxation - businessEdit

Income TaxEdit

chargeable persons/entities (employees, sole traders, partners, shareholders, lenders and debenture holders)Edit

basis of charge (types of income/main reliefs and exemptions)Edit

the charge to tax: calculation and collectionEdit

the scope of anti-avoidance provisions=Edit

Capital Gains TaxEdit

chargeable persons/entities (sole traders, partners, and shareholders)Edit

basis of charge (calculation of gains/allowable deductions/main reliefs and exemptions)Edit

the charge to tax: calculation and collectionEdit

the scope of anti-avoidance provisionsEdit

Corporation TaxEdit

basis of chargeEdit

calculation, payment and collection of taxEdit

tax treatment of company distributions or deemed distributions to shareholdersEdit

outline of anti-avoidance legislationEdit

Value Added TaxEdit

key principles relating to scope, supply, input and output taxEdit

registration requirements and issue of VAT invoicesEdit

returns/payment of VAT and record keepingEdit

Inheritance TaxEdit

business property reliefEdit

The principles, procedures and processes involved in dispute resolutionEdit

Different options for dispute resolution:

The characteristics of arbitration, mediation and litigation which make them an appropriate mechanism to resolve a dispute. Resolving a dispute through a civil claim:

preliminary considerations: limitation, pre-action protocols: parties and causes of action calculating limitation periods for claims in contract and tort Practice Direction – pre-action conduct principles and purpose of pre-action protocols governing particular claims and consequences for failure to follow their terms applicable law: mechanisms to determine which country’s laws apply to a contractual or tortious claim issued in the courts of England and Wales jurisdiction: mechanisms to determine jurisdiction over an international contractual or tortious claim. Where to start proceedings:

allocation of business between the High Court and the county court jurisdiction of the specialist courts. Issuing and serving proceedings:

issuing a claim form adding, removing or substituting parties service of a claim form within the jurisdiction procedure for service of a claim form outside the jurisdiction (with or without the court’s permission) and mechanisms for effecting valid service in another jurisdiction deemed dates of service and time limits for serving proceedings service by an alternative method. Responding to a claim:

admitting the claim acknowledging service and filing a defence and/or counterclaim disputing the court’s jurisdiction entering and setting aside judgment in default discontinuance and settlement time limits for responding to a claim. Statements of case:

purpose, structure and content of a claim form, particulars of claim, or defence relating to a claim in contract or tort purpose, structure and content of a reply, Part 20 claim, or defence to Part 20 claim requests for further information about statements of case amendments. Interim applications:

procedure for making an application purpose, procedure and evidence required for particular applications: summary judgment interim payments interim injunctions. Case management:

the overriding objective track allocation case management directions for cases proceeding on the fast or multi-tracks non-compliance with orders, sanctions and relief costs and case management conferences. Evidence:

relevance, hearsay and admissibility the burden and standard of proof expert evidence - opinion evidence duties of experts single joint experts discussion between experts witness evidence - witness statements affidavits. Disclosure and inspection:

standard disclosure orders for disclosure specific disclosure pre-action and non-party disclosure electronic disclosure privilege and without prejudice communications waiver of privilege. Trial:

summoning witnesses preparations for trial - purpose of pre-trial checklists and hearings purpose of trial bundles. trial procedure the nature and effect of judgment. Costs:

costs management and budgeting inter-partes costs orders (interim and final) non-party costs qualified one-way costs shifting Part 36 and other offers security for costs fixed and assessed costs. Appeals:

permission destination of appeals grounds for appeals. Enforcement of money judgments:

oral examination methods of enforcement procedure and mechanisms for effecting valid enforcement in another jurisdiction.

Core principles of contract lawEdit


offer and acceptance consideration intention to create legal relations certainty capacity.


privity of contract rights of third parties.

Contract termsEdit

express terms incorporation of terms terms implied by common law and statute exemption clauses the interpretation of contract terms (conditions, warranties and innominate terms) variation.

Vitiating factorsEdit

misrepresentation mistake unfair contract terms duress and undue influence illegality.


expiry or other specified event breach frustration basic principles of restitution and unjust enrichment in the context of termination of contract.


damages liquidated sums and penalties specific performance injunctions duty to mitigate indemnities guarantees.

Causation and remotenessEdit

Core principles of tortEdit


duty of care (standard (general and professional)) and breach causation (single and multiple) remoteness and loss principles of remedies for personal injury and death claims claims for pure economic loss arising from either a negligent act or misstatement claims for psychiatric harm employers’ primary liability (operation and effect of the common law principles). Defences:

consent contributory negligence illegality necessity. Principles of vicarious liability

Occupiers’ Liability:

legal requirements for a claim under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957 (in relation to visitors) and the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1984 (in relation to non-visitors) defences exclusion of liability. Product liability:

principles in negligence principles of the Consumer Protection Act 1987. Nuisance:

public and private nuisance the rule in Rylands v Fletcher remedies (damages and injunctions) and defences.

The Legal System of England and Wales and Sources of lawEdit

The courtsEdit

the judiciaryEdit

court hierarchy, the appeal system and jurisdictionEdit

rights of audienceEdit

Rights_of_audience#England and Wales

Development of case law: the doctrine of precedentEdit

Primary legislation: the structure of an act of ParliamentEdit

Statutory interpretationEdit

the literal ruleEdit

the golden ruleEdit

the mischief ruleEdit

the purposive approachEdit


aids to statutory interpretation and constructionEdit

Constitutional and Administrative law and EU lawEdit

Core institutions of the state and how they interrelateEdit

parliament and parliamentary sovereigntyEdit

parliamentary sovereignty#United Kingdom

central government and accountabilityEdit

status of the devolved institutions and their relationship with WestminsterEdit

the monarch and the CrownEdit

the role of constitutional conventionsEdit

Constitutional_convention_(political_custom)#United Kingdom

prerogative power: relationship with legislation and constitutional conventionsEdit

Royal prerogative in the United Kingdom

parliamentary privilegeEdit

Legitimacy, separation of powers and the rule of lawEdit

powers and procedures for the enactment, implementation and repeal of primary and secondary legislationEdit

Public Order lawEdit

Breach of the peaceEdit

judicial reviewEdit

the nature, process and limits of judicial reviewEdit
supervisory natureEdit
decisions which may be challengedEdit
time limitsEdit
  • illegality
  • irrationality
  • procedural impropriety
  • legitimate expectation.

Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human RightsEdit

ss.2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10 Human Rights Act 1998Edit

Schedule 1 HRA 1998 the "Convention Rights"Edit

The place of EU law in the UK constitutionEdit

Sources of retained EU lawEdit

Categories/status/interpretation of retained EU lawEdit

Modification/withdrawal of retained EU lawEdit

Parliamentary sovereignty and retained EU lawEdit

Legal ServicesEdit

The regulatory role of the SRAEdit

principles and risk-based regulationEdit

reserved legal activitiesEdit
professional indemnity insuranceEdit
other regulated providers of legal servicesEdit

overriding legal obligationsEdit

The Equality Act 2010Edit
money launderingEdit


  • Placement
  • Layering
  • Integration

purpose and scope of anti-money laundering legislation including the international context

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 There are three legislation of anti-money laundering.

  1. Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 ('PoCA');
  2. Terrorism Act 2000 (as amended);
  3. Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (S.I.692/2017) (‘The 2017 Regulations’)
  • PoCA: defines ML offences
  • Terrorism Act 200: define terrorism funding and financing offences
  • 2017 Regulations: define requirements for AML within regulatored sectors and customer due diligences

circumstances encountered in the course of practice where suspicion of money laundering should be reported in accordance with the legislation

  • Shah v. HSBC [2012]: When reporting on the suspicion of money laundering, the Money laundering Reporting Officer has no obligation to investigate on the suspicion.
  • the appropriate person or body to whom suspicions should be reported, the appropriate time for such reports to be made and the appropriate procedure to be followed

Disclosure to a constable, customs officer or nominated officer "MLRO) that property is criminal property It is made before the prohibited act (MLO makes a suspcious activity report ("SAR") to National Crime Agency ("NCA"), or

National Crime Agency

direct involvement and non-direct involvement offences, and defences to those offences under Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

  • Direct involvement offences under PoCA 2002

1. Concealing 2. Arranging 3. Acquiring

  • Non-direct involvement offences under PoCA 2002

Failure to Disclose

Failure to Disclose - Nominated Officer (regulated sector)

Failure to Disclose - Nominated Officer (Outside regulated sector)

Prejudicing an investigation/Tampering with Relevant Document

Defences under PoCA 2002

Defences to Direct Invovlement Crimes - Authorised Disclosure - Reasonable Excuse - Appropriate Consent - Adequate Consideration

Defences to non-direct involvement crimes Failure to disclose - Reasonable excuse - Privileged circumstances - No training - Disclosing a suspicious activity report - Disclosing an investigation - Disclosures within undertaking or Grou[ - Disclosure between undertakings - Disclosure to your supervisory authority - Dissuading illegal conduct

Defences to Prejudicing an investigation/Tampering with Relevant Document - No Knowledge/Suspicion - Professional legal Adviser

due diligence requirements Under the MLR 2017 you are required to:

identify your client and verify their identity on the basis of a reliable independent source (such as a passport) where applicable, identify the beneficial owners of the client, take reasonable measures to verify their identity so you know who they are and, if the beneficial owner is an entity or legal arrangement, take reasonable measures to understand its ownership and control structure assess and where appropriate obtain information on the purpose and intended nature of the business relationship or transaction and identify and verify the identity of a person who purports to act on behalf of a client and verify that they are authorised to act on behalf of the client

Financial servicesEdit
  • the financial services regulatory framework including authorisation, and how it applies to solicitors' firms
  • recognition of relevant financial services issues, including the identification of specified investments, specified activities and relevant exemptions
  • application of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and related secondary legislation to the work of a solicitor
  • appropriate sources of information on financial services.

Funding options for legal servicesEdit

private retainerEdit

conditional fee arrangementsEdit

damages based agreementsEdit

fixed feesEdit

eligibility for criminal and civil legal aidEdit

third party fundingEdit

legal expenses insuranceEdit

Core knowledge areas of freehold real estate law and practiceEdit

Investigation of a registered and unregistered freehold title:

key elements and structure of freehold property transactions process of analysing Land Registry official copy entries process of analysing an epitome of title and deducing ownership issues that could arise from an investigation of title and further action required purpose and process of reporting to the client. Pre-contract searches and enquiries:

range and purpose of making searches and raising enquiries who would make the searches and raise enquiries results of searches and enquiries. Law Society Conveyancing Protocol


sources of finance for a property transaction types of mortgage. Acting for a lender:

lender’s requirements purpose of a certificate of title. Preparation for and exchange of contracts:

key conditions contained in the: Standard Conditions of Sale Standard Commercial Property Conditions. purpose of, and matters covered by, special conditions methods of holding a deposit: stakeholder agent insurance and risk basics of VAT in a contract timing for issuing certificate of title to a lender the practice, method and authority to exchange consequences of exchange. Pre-completion:

form of transfer deed and formalities for execution pre-completion searches pre-completion steps. Completion and post-completion:

methods and effect of completion post-completion steps. Remedies for delayed completion:

common law damages contractual compensation notice to complete rescission. rescission.

Core knowledge areas of leasehold real estate law and practiceEdit

Structure and content of a lease:

repair insurance alterations user and planning rent and rent review alienation options for the term of a lease Code for Leasing Business Premises. Procedural steps for the grant of a lease or underlease:

drafting the lease purpose of an agreement for lease deduction of title pre-contract enquiries and searches pre-completion formalities completion and post-completion steps. Procedural steps for the assignment of a lease:

deduction of title pre-contract enquiries and searches landlord’s consent deed of assignment and covenants for title pre-completion formalities authorised guarantee agreement completion and post-completion steps. Licence to assign and licence to underlet:

purpose of and who prepares the draft privity of contract and how the licence deals with this key provisions in the licence. Leasehold covenants:

liability on covenants in leases – leases granted before 1 January 1996 leases granted on or after 1 January 1996 Remedies for breach of a leasehold covenant:

action in debt forfeiture Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery pursue guarantors and/or rent deposit specific performance damages self-help/Jervis v Harris clause. Termination of a lease:

effluxion of time notice to quit surrender merger. Security of tenure under a business lease:

Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (Part II) – application of 1954 Act renewal lease by the tenant termination by the landlord landlord’s grounds of opposition terms of new lease availability of compensation.

Core principles of planning lawEdit

Statutory definition of “Development”

Matters that do not constitute “Development”

Matters that do not require express planning permission

Building regulation control

Enforcement: time limits and the range of local planning authority’s enforcement powers

Taxation – property Stamp Duty Land Tax and Land Transaction Tax:

basis of charge in both England and Wales for: residential property non-residential freehold property. Value Added Tax:

basis of charge: what constitutes a taxable supply differences between standard, exempt and zero-rated supplies reasons why a client would make an option to tax and the effect that has. Capital Gains Tax:

basis of charge principal private dwelling-house exemption.

Wills and IntestacyEdit

Validity of wills and codicils:

testamentary capacity duress and undue influence formal requirements. Personal Representatives:

the appointment of executors renunciation and reservation of power. Alterations and amendments to wills:

effect of alterations made to wills both before and after execution use of codicils. Revocation of wills:

methods of revocation effect of marriage and divorce of a testator. The interpretation of wills:

effect of different types of gift failure of gifts. The intestacy rules:

Section 46 of The Administration of Estates Act 1925 the statutory trusts. Property passing outside the estate:

joint property life policies pension scheme benefits trust property.

Probate and Administration PracticeEdit

Grants of representation:

need for grant the relevant provisions of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules application procedure valuation of assets and liabilities excepted estates methods of funding the initial payment of Inheritance Tax burden and incidence of Inheritance Tax. Administration of estates:

duties of personal representatives liabilities of personal representatives and their protection the sale of assets to raise funds to pay funeral expenses, tax, debts and legacies distribution of the estate. Claims against estates under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975:

time limit applicants ground.

Taxation – wills and the administration of estatesEdit

Inheritance Tax:

lifetime transfers that are immediately chargeable and those that are potentially exempt transfers on death exemptions and reliefs the scope of anti-avoidance provisions. Income and Capital Gains Tax in respect of the period of the administration of an estate:

the personal representatives’ liability to Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax the beneficiaries’ liability to Capital Gains Tax on inherited assets.

Solicitors AccountsEdit

Client money:

definition requirement to pay client money into a client account circumstances in which client money may be withheld from a client account repayment accounting entries required. Client account:

meaning and name of account obligation not to use client account to provide banking facilities withdrawals and accounting entries required. Requirement to keep client money separate from money belonging to the authorised body


requirement to pay interest on client money accounting entries required. Breach of the SRA Accounts Rules:

duty to correct breaches of SRA Accounts Rules promptly on discovery accounting entries required. Requirement to keep and maintain accurate records in client ledgers, including requirement to carry out reconciliation of client accounts and to keep a record of bills to include:

disbursements using the agency and principal methods transfers submission, reduction and payment of bills including the VAT element accounting entries required. Operation of joint account; operation of a client’s own account

Third-party managed accounts

Obtaining and delivery of accountants’ reports; storage and retention of accounting records

Core principles of land lawEdit

Nature of Land:

distinction between real property and personal property how to acquire and transfer legal and equitable estates how to acquire and dispose of legal and equitable interests in land methods to protect and enforce third party interests different ways in which land can be held legal formalities required to create and transfer interests and estates in land. Title to Land:

registration of title to land: estates that can be substantively registered how to protect interests interests that override registration and interests that need to be protected on the register core principles of unregistered title to land: role of title deeds Land Charges continuing role of doctrine of notice.

Co-ownership and TrustsEdit

differences between joint tenants and tenants in common in law and in equity rule of survivorship severance of joint tenancies solving disagreements between co-owners by reference to sections 14 and 15 of Trusts of Land & Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. Proprietary Rights:

essential characteristics of easements methods for creation of easements rules for the passing of the benefit and burden of freehold covenants mortgages, including enforceability of terms, priority of mortgages, lender’s powers and duties, and protection of mortgagors and other third parties with an interest in the land. Leases:

relationship between landlord and tenant in a lease essential characteristics of a lease including the difference between a lease and a licence privity of contract and privity of estate rules for the passing of the benefit and burden of leasehold covenants and enforceability purpose and effect of an alienation covenant remedies for breach of leasehold covenants (including forfeiture) different ways a lease can be terminated.

Core principles of trust lawEdit

Creation and requirements of express trusts:

the three certainties of intention, subject matter and objects: fixed interest trusts discretionary trusts formalities to create express inter vivos trusts constitution of express inter vivos trusts and exceptions to the rule that equity will not assist a volunteer. Beneficial entitlement:

fixed, discretionary, vested, contingent interests the rule in Saunders v Vautier. The distinction between charitable trusts and non-charitable purpose trusts

Resulting trusts:

how they arise and when they are (or are not) presumed. Trusts of the family home:

establishment of a common intention constructive trust: legal title in the name of both parties/sole party express declaration or agreement as to equitable ownership direct and indirect contributions requirements to establish proprietary estoppel. Liability of strangers to the trust:

establishing recipient liability establishing accessory liability. The fiduciary relationship and its obligations:

duty not to profit from fiduciary position trustees not to purchase trust property fiduciary not to put himself in a position where his interest and duty conflict. Trustees:

who can be a trustee; appointment, removal and retirement of trustees trustees’ duty of care trustees’ duty to invest (and powers in relation to investment) trustees’ statutory powers of maintenance and advancement. Trustees’ liability:

breach of trust measure of liability protection of trustees limitation period. The nature of equitable remedies and the availability of tracing in equity.

Core principles of criminal liabilityEdit

The core principles of criminal liability relating to the specified criminal offences listed below:

Specified criminal offencesEdit

offences against the personEdit
assault and batteryEdit
s. 47 Offences Against the Person Act 1861Edit
s. 20 Offences Against the Person Act 1861Edit
s. 18 Offences Against the Person Act 1861Edit
theft offencesEdit
s. 1 Theft Act 1968Edit
s. 8 Theft Act 1968Edit
s. 9 Theft Act 1968Edit
s. 10 Theft Act 1968Edit
criminal damageEdit

Criminal damage in English law

simple criminal damageEdit
aggravated criminal damageEdit
=voluntary manslaughter=Edit
=involuntary manslaughter=Edit

(unlawful act manslaughter, manslaughter by gross negligence)



by false representationEdit

section 2

by abuse of positionEdit

section 3

by failing to discloseEdit

section 4

Definition of the offenceEdit
actus reusEdit
mens reaEdit
General defencesEdit
self-defence/defence of anotherEdit
Partial defencesEdit
loss of controlEdit
diminished responsibilityEdit
principal offenderEdit
joint enterpriseEdit
Inchoate offencesEdit
Attempt to commit an offenceEdit

Section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act creates the offence of attempt:

(1) If, with intent to commit an offence to which this section applies, a person does an act which is more than merely preparatory to the commission of the offence, he is guilty of attempting to commit the offence.


Advising clients, including vulnerable clients, about the procedure and processes at the police stationEdit

Rights of a suspect being detained by the police for questioning:

right to legal advice right to have someone informed of arrest reviews and detention time limits under PACE 1984, Code C. Identification procedures:

when an identification procedure must be held different types of identification procedure procedure for carrying out an identification procedure PACE 1984, Code D. Advising a client, including vulnerable clients, whether to answer police questions:

right to silence adverse inferences. Procedure for interviewing a suspect under PACE 1984:

role and appropriate conduct by defence legal representative/ solicitor including representation of vulnerable client role of appropriate adult and who can be an appropriate adult.

The procedures and processes involved in criminal litigationEdit

Bail applications:

the right to bail and exceptions conditional bail procedure for applying for bail further applications for bail appeals against decisions on bail absconding and breaches of bail. First hearings before the magistrates’ court:

classification of offences applying for a representation order procedural overview – what will happen at the hearing the role of the defence solicitor at the hearing. Plea before Venue:

procedure on defendant entering plea advising the client on trial venue. Allocation of business between magistrates' court and Crown Court:

procedure ss. 19–20 and s. 22A Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 sending without allocation s. 50A Crime and Disorder Act 1998. Case management and pre-trial hearings:

Magistrates' court case management directions Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing disclosure – prosecution, defence and unused material. Principles and procedures to admit and exclude evidence:

burden and standard of proof visual identification evidence and Turnbull guidance inferences from silence ss. 34, 35, 36, 37, 38 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 hearsay evidence: definition grounds for admitting hearsay evidence confession evidence: definition admissibility challenging admissibility ss. 76 and 78 PACE 1984 character evidence: definition of bad character the 7 gateways s. 101(1) Criminal Justice Act 2003 procedure for admitting bad character evidence court’s powers to exclude bad character evidence exclusion of evidence: scope and application of s. 78 PACE and the right to a fair trial. Trial procedure in magistrates’ court and Crown Court:

burden and standard of proof stages of a criminal trial, including submission of no case to answer modes of address and Court room etiquette difference between leading and non-leading questions competence and compellability special measures solicitor’s duty to the court. Sentencing:

role of sentencing guidelines determining seriousness (aggravating and mitigating facts) concurrent and consecutive sentences mitigation types of sentence: custodial sentences suspended sentences community orders Newton hearings. Appeals procedure:

appeals from the magistrates’ court: procedure for appeal against conviction and/or sentence powers of the Crown Court appeal to the High Court by way of case stated appeals from the Crown Court: grounds of appeal procedure for making the appeal powers of the Court of Appeal. Youth court procedure:

jurisdiction and grave crimes allocation youths jointly charged with adult sentencing: role of the Sentencing Children and Young People – definitive guidelines referral orders detention and training orders youth rehabilitation orders.