Exams and Examiners


RefCom is responsible for maintaining the syllabus, exam procedure and examiner list for all levels of refereeing.

The Home Countries are responsible for scheduling Level 1&2 referee training and examinations.

REFCOM/BF is responsible for scheduling Level 3 upwards (including FIE) referee training and examinations.


There are four levels of refereeing qualifications, starting at the basic level 1 and up to level 4 (Senior National referee). The exams all feature theory and practical assessments both of which will take up to a day to complete. There is an additional oral examination for levels 3 and above. Full information into the exam structures can be seen here.

Many candidates that take the level 1 refereeing theory exam do so purely to improve their own understanding of the current rules and regulations, without any desire to participate as a qualified referee, thus may never progress to the practical part of the course, which is why it is held over two days. 

Latest News 

Level 1 & 2 Foil & Epee Referee Course


Start Date: 23 November 2018
End Date:  24 November 2018

Yorkshire Fencing are holding a refereeing course for those who wish to qualify for Level 1 or 2 in foil and epee .
This course is in two parts, a knowledge seminar and then practical assessments at the Yorkshire Youth league on the 24th November 2018. 

Course Dates
Seminar : 23rd November 6pm till 9.30pm

Practical Assessments:
Yorkshire Youth League
Venue: Rossett Sport Centre, Harrogate. Yorks HG2 9JP
Cost: £15 for 1 weapon £20 for both

For further information, contact Karina Brown 

Further details see the Upcoming Courses page of the website 



18.04.2017 - Referee Working Group to Review L3&4 exams and examiners register 

British Fencing is please to announce the appointment of five new members to the Referee Working Group.  The recruitment process saw a number of highly qualified individuals apply for the group which will review the level 3 and 4 syllabus plus the examination process.  They will also conduct a full review of the examiner register in line with the agreed Referee Committee policy – minutes 22.02.2014.  The first meeting of the new group will be held during the British Fencing Championships 2017 on Saturday 22 April.


Julian Rose (Level 4 Examiner, Pathway Member and active FIE qualified referee) has been appointed to chair the group and Adrian Speakman (Level 4 Examiner, Pathway Member and active FIE qualified referee), Chris Lennon (Level 3 Examiner, Pathway Member and newly qualified FIE referee), Luke Deamer (Level 3 Examiner, Pathway Member and newly qualified FIE referee) and Peter Huggins (England Fencing Lead Referee Educator for the syllabus and domestic level 3 and 4 referees) all join the group.


Level 3 Foil and Epee Exams To Be Held At The Birmingham International 

British and England Fencing are pleased to announce that Birmingham International is offering to host a Level 3 exam in foil (Saturday 15th April) and epee (Sunday 16th April) during their competition.

If you would like to take your level 3 exam in either foil or epee please contact me as soon as possible, as exam places will be very limited and accepted on a first come first served basis. Unfortunately we were unable to source an available L3 sabre examiner for that weekend.

Information for the candidates:

  • The exams will start each day with a seminar at 10:00 a.m.
  • Candidates will be expected to discuss the extent of their refereeing experience. Completed log books are highly recommended (attached here)
  • Candidates should read the pre-course reading material on the British Fencing website. (attached here)
  • Only candidates who pass their theoretical exam will be allowed to sit their practical exam.
  • The theoretical exam will cover predominantly the technical rule book, but may also cover questions from the material and organisational rules.
  • The pass mark for the theoretical exam is 80%.
  • Candidates will be required to referee until the end of the competition in order for them to be properly assessed.


Referee Working Group L3 & 4 exam

Following an internal review of the Level 3 and 4 refereeing exams held at the 2016 Senior National Championships, British Fencing are seeking applications from those interested in becoming part of a Referee Working Group to redevelop the current syllabus and exam structure to reflect the current requirements for both national level domestic referees and those engaged within the international circuits.

The application form can be found here 

The selection policy and procedure can be found here 


Referees that wish to become L1 and 2 examiners should ideally hold a weapon specific referee qualification at that level or above and will then need to approach their home country who will then inform British Fencing.

Level 1, and to a degree, level 2 are a foundation course leading to an introductory qualification providing a basic but good insight into the skill set of refereeing.

Once accepted onto the register those holding L1&2 will be able to assist a more senior examiner but not examine as an independent examiner.

Level 3 are appointed by consultation between the Home Country lead examiner and British Fencing following nomination from the home country and level 4 examiners are directly appointed by British Fencing.

All appointments are for a 3-year tenure and subject to an activity and competency review throughout this period.


When agreeing to run a examination course, the advisory guidelines for remuneration is in line with the standardised cost British Fencing coaches charge (£100-125 per day plus reasonable travel expenses). 

Further information can be found here

The Examiners Register as of November 2017 can be found here


Below are some useful links to documents for use during exams.

Pre-Course Reading Matter  (updated 13.06.2017)

FIE TEchnical Rules December2016

Offenses and Penalties December 2015

Refereeing hand signals

Code of conduct

Refereeing assessment forms

Referees log book