Course Considerations: CLC vs. SQE Unpacked

In a previous article we discussed which route to legal qualification might be right for aspiring legal professionals by taking a high-level view of CLC and SQE. In this article we will take a closer look at the qualification routes to see what is required to be successful in each and to consider the differences.

At Law Training Centre there are 3 CLC courses offered and 10 SQE Prep courses offered, with the wide range of course variations created to match the level of understanding of the learner when starting the course.

Looking at figures from 2020 to date, Law Training Centre has an overall average first time CLC pass rate of 78% based on over 2,000 enrolled learners.  SQE is still in its infancy and requires the completion of both SQE1 and SQE2 to qualify, and so far, 100% of Law Training Centre candidates who completed the SQE2 Just Mocks courses and reported their results, passed. Law Training Centre, as specialists within both pathways, are therefore in a good position to take us through the main differences to be found between the qualification routes.

Work experience

Each route requires more than just theory to be successful. Hands on practical work experience is a requirement for both, however this does vary depending which course you choose. For CLC there is a requirement for 1,200 hours of supervised work, either full time or part time, within a period of 24 months to be completed.  This must be within 36 months of the application for a CLC licence. The work must be for a business that is licensed to provide conveyancing services and is regulated by a statutory regulator (eg SRA, CILEX Regulation or CLC) or a Government body, Local Authority, Utilities Company, or national charity (when the work of the licence applicant has been supervised by an Authorised Person in their capacity as in-house legal counsel).

The SQE’s two-year (full time or equivalent) work experience requirement is called ‘Qualifying Work Experience’ (QWE) and is quite flexible. QWE can be undertaken at up to four different organisations and these do not have to be law firms or specialise in legal services such as conveyancing.  Law firms, law clinics and in-house legal departments will all satisfy the SRAs’ requirements, and the work can be contentious or non-contentious or both. QWE can also be completed before, during or after takin the SQE assessments.


CLC is flexible and largely utilises an open-book style method of assessment.   At Level 4 all assessments apart from the Accounts unit are course work based allowing for learners to use their notes and resources to complete their attempts.  The Accounts units at Level 4 and Level 6 are not open book, but do allow some resources for use, such as the CLC Accounts Code and Guidance.  All other Level 6 assessments are exam based with problem-based questions to which written essay style questions are provided as answers, learners are able to use their notes and manual to assist in their attempts.

Additionally, learners can study and take the assessment one unit at a time as there are no assessment windows to wait for, and they have the option of handwritten or online assessments.  So, for example you can take the test online in an office at work or at home, in a private room with a clear desk (checked via a scan with the laptop camera or external webcam) or take it at work as a handwritten assessment with an invigilator from the firm.

SQE is quite different in that all assessments are exam based, they are not open book, so memory based, all subjects are examined in the same assessment window, and there are set assessment windows each year.


CLC has an automatic free resit which can be completed as soon as the candidate is ready to re-sit.

The SQE has a payment required to re-sit and there will be a delay waiting on the next assessment window (SQE1 every 6 months, SQE2 every 3 months). Law Training Centre do provide a unique ‘Passplus Guarantee’ with their SQE1 and SQE2 Full Prep Courses which guarantees course access and support to continue learning towards a resit, should candidates need it. The Passplus Guarantee provides up to a maximum period of 12 months of additional course access, allowing the candidate to choose from a number of exam windows following the receipt of their SQE result.

As shown above, there are some significant differences to the qualification requirements, style of assessments and ability to complete if success is not initially achieved. Fortunately, Law Training Centre specialise in both CLC and SQE qualifications with experienced tutors (including seasoned lawyers) available to help guide learners towards a successful outcome, and ultimately a rewarding career as a legal professional.

To discuss these qualifications in more detail and review the range of courses available, please contact the Student Support Team at Law Training Centre by email to and they will be happy to advise, or visit the Law Training Centre website at which has further details on all of the courses including an in-depth course comparison guide.

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