Initiated by the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) in September 2010, the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) allows qualified lawyers from certain foreign countries the right to practise law in England and Wales. Essentially a ‘fast track’, this scheme consists of two assessments – one multiple-choice test and one practical examination – which ensures that a lawyer qualified in another jurisdiction has the required knowledge and skills of a newly qualified solicitor in England and Wales.
What is the QLTS format?
The QLTS consists of two tests – the Multiple-Choice Test (MCT) and the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
The MCT tests Day One Outcome A which consists of the core knowledge and comprehension of laws in England and Wales. The MCT covers knowledge of the legal system of the two countries; the institutions of the EU and the sources of EU law; knowledge of constitutional law and judicial review processes; regulatory and fiscal frameworks within which business, legal and financial services transactions are conducted; and an understanding of torts, property law, contract law, criminal law and human rights.
The OSCE tests interviewing, advocacy and oral presentation, in addition to legal research, drafting and writing, all of which are tested within the framework of three areas of legal practise: Business Law and Practice, Civil and Criminal Litigation, and Property Law including Conveyancing and Wills and Probate.
QLTS Assessment Rules
Although the MCT must be passed before attempting the OSCE, there are no restrictions on the number of assessment attempts an applicant may make, nor is there a time limit for completing the two assessments. In addition, English language requirements have been abolished, although the applicant should ensure that his or her level of English is appropriate.
The costs for the QLTS are broken down as follows:
- Application for a certificate of eligibility = £200
- MCT = £500 + VAT
- OSCE = £2,925 + VAT
- Cost of admission after passing the tests = £100
Admission to the Roll of Solicitors
Once the QLTS assessments have been passed, the qualifying lawyer will be eligible for admission to the Roll of Solicitors of England and Wales. Whilst doing this, the SRA will conduct a few checks, including financial, good character and a suitability check in the form of a Certificate of Good Standing from the applicant’s home professional body or regulator. The Certificate of Good Standing must be requested no more than three months before the candidate’s admission application is submitted to the SRA. Finally, a criminal background check by way of a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is also required.
As soon as the checks are complete and the results are satisfactory, the applicant’s admission to the Roll of Solicitors of England and Wales is submitted and receipt of the practising certificate follows.
The QLTS allows qualified lawyers from international jurisdictions to fulfil criteria allowing the right to practise law in England and Wales. Assessed objectively through a show of practical examinations, the QLTS offers international lawyers the possibility to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales in as little as six to nine months.