This morning, all candidates enrolled for the March 2020 Pre-EQE or any of the main EQEs (papers A, B, C and D) received a communication from the Supervisory Board of the EQEs, updating them on the situtation regarding the cancelled exams. In short, it is mixed news.
The Supervisory Board has unanimously decided that:
- No European qualifying examination (pre-examination or main exams) will be held in 2020;
- anyone who so wishes will be allowed to enrol for the 2021 main examination, provided that the conditions in Article 11 REE are fulfilled (see below for those conditions);
- candidates who enrolled for a main exam in 2020 are considered to be enrolled for the same exam in 2021, i.e. all fees are carried over to 2021. A candidate may enrol for an additional exam, but that will be subject to the normal fees [Joel: this shouldn’t include another registration fee, because your registration fee from 2020 will be carried over]. If a candidate withdraws, fees will be refunded accordingly.
- Due to the exceptional circumstances, (and to provide some sort of continuity for candidates?), 2021 main examination answers will be marked on the basis of the legal texts and documents in force on 31 October 2019 or 31 October 2020, which ever gives you the higher mark! [somewhat nice?]
I am sure you and your colleagues have had a good chin-wag about the details of the communication, and what it means for you, especially if you were due to sit the pre-eqe in March 2020. However, from what I can gather, anyone who so wishes can enrol for the 2021 main examination, so long as you satisfy all the requirements in Article 11 REE, which include (citing the points of contention here and not the obvious ones you will have already satisfied, such as the university level scientific qualification):
- (2)(a)(i) completed a full-time training period of at least three years; or
- (2)(a)(ii) worked full-time for a period of at least three years in the employment of a natural or legal person whose residence or place of business is within a contracting state;
- (7) …if such a pre-examination is held, candidates who apply to be enrolled for the [main] examination must have obtained a pass grade in the pre-examination
However, looking at Article 1 REE:
- (2) The period between two examination shall not exceed twenty-five months
- (7) if a pre-examination is held, the provisions of this regulation shall apply mutatis mutandis.
It is not explicitly clear if the pre-exam will be determined to have been held if it is held again in 2021 within the 25 months, but I think we should attempt to understand the intention of the EPO and epi when they made this decision. Passing the pre-EQE doesn’t give the candidate any right to practice, only to sit the main exam. Whereas passing the main EQEs allows a candidate to go out and act as an EPA, without any consequence if they are ill prepared.
In other words, if you planned to sit the pre-exam in 2020 and planned to sit one or more main exam papers in 2021, and you satisfied all requirements for both, you can move on as planned – without having sat the pre-eqe [Joel: that’s my opinion anyway] and the pre-examination is deemed to be not held [because let’s face it – it wasn’t and they said in decision 1 above!]. Article 1 seems to me to just make sure that the Exams take place, where possible, so that we can have a chance at passing and limits the EPO to 25 months to make that happen.
CIPA recently weighed in on the Supervisory Boards communication, via a industry wide email on 22 April 2020:
CIPA is pleased that the Supervisory Board of the EQE has acted quickly, under challenging circumstances, to provide clear directions about the status of the 2020 and 2021 examinations. Whilst it caused great disappointment for candidates preparing to take the 2020 examinations, it was the right decision to cancel these in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Richard Mair, CIPA President
“The certainty now afforded to candidates over the 2021 examinations is most welcome, as is the decision to allow candidates who have been disadvantaged by the cancellation of the pre-examination to enrol directly onto the 2021 full EQE. CIPA has also been working to secure a larger venue than usual for 2021 to reduce the likelihood of any UK candidates having to travel to Munich to sit the examinations due to the large number of candidates involved.”
If anymore information comes to light, we will follow up, or update this post.
- Decision of the Supervisory Board: here.
- Communication frm the Supervisory Board of the EQE: here.
- Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives: here.
- Implementing provisions to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination: here.