A revised Rule 28 IPREE came into force on 1 April 2016. Under the new rule, trainees must register for the EQE within 2 months of joining the profession if they want their entire periods of training to count towards the “periods of professional activity” required before they are eligible to sit the EQE papers. (More precisely, they must register within 2 months of commencing “their professional activities or employment as defined in Article 11(2) REE”; for many people these periods will be equivalent.)
There is a transitional period of “at least one year” from 1 April 2016 during which candidates may register for the EQE for free. It also appears that, at least during the transitional period, candidates may request to have previous periods of professional activity that are longer than 2 months taken into account.
The revised Rule 28 explicitly states that no prior registration is necessary for the 2017 EQE. However, it would seem that current trainees who will only be eligible to sit an EQE paper for the first time in 2018 should register by 31 March 2017 if they want to make sure their previous activity is counted (and they want to register at no cost).
The second paragraph of the revised rule suggests that, once the transitional period has expired, epi student members will be entitled to pay a lower registration fee than trainees who are not epi student members.
The Informals Committee is unsure what constitutes “registration” for the purposes of the new Rule 28 IPREE. According to Article 11 REE, “Candidates shall be registered for the examination on request”. However, it is not clear whether there will be a new registration form or other procedure to effect registration. The Informals Committee hopes that the EPO will issue further information about this in due course and encourages trainees to check the EQE page over the coming months.
The Informals Committee urges trainees and trainers alike to review the revised Rule 28 and to make sure that they consider the impact of the revised rule on people who are already in the profession and anyone who joins it in the future. If it is not already standard practice in your office, it might also be worth making epi registration part of your “new starter checklist” or training log.