New scheme for foreign lawyers to requalify in England and Wales
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has launched a new scheme for foreign lawyers to requalify as a solicitor in England and Wales. The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) will strengthen the procedures for assessing internationally and UK qualified lawyers as well as opening up a route to admissions to internationally qualified lawyers previously not eligible to apply.
From 1 September, candidates applying to transfer will be considered under the new QLTS rules. As part of this, international applicants will need to show they have met the English language requirement. QLTS assessments are due to start in the New Year, and will include practical exercises which will replace the previous Qualified Lawyer Transfer Regulation (QLTR) experience requirement.
The aim of the new scheme is to ensure that all applicants satisfy the ‘Day One’ outcomes, which are the standard for lawyers qualifying through the domestic route.
Antony Townsend, SRA Chief Executive said: 'The public need to have confidence in their solicitor wherever he or she may originally have qualified. This is the first fundamental change in the system of assessment of international lawyers for 20 years.
'We have seen a year-on-year increase in the number of applications which has now reached around 26% of newly authorised solicitors annually. This system will ensure that everyone has a clear standard to achieve. We have also substantially increased the diversity of the eligible jurisdictions so we are opening up access to the profession while at the same time making sure that standards are met.'
Kaplan QLTS, part of education and training provider Kaplan, has been appointed as the sole assessment organisation to provide the QLTS assessments following a rigorous tender exercise last month.
Peter Anderson, MD of Kaplan’s legal training business, said: 'We are delighted to have been selected by the SRA to be the sole assessment organisation for the QLTS. We look forward to applying the rigorous intellectual approach of our academics and our relentless focus on quality to develop an assessment system that will safeguard the SRA’s strict standards. We will also use our significant expertise in supporting students around the world to create a positive experience for all applicants.'