Many law students and graduates wish they could practice law in any jurisdiction or country without earning any additional qualifications. Law school is challenging enough, and any other requirement for lawyers is met with grim faces.
However, laws differ by country, so the need for lawyers to demonstrate practical knowledge of the country or jurisdiction in which they wish to practice is absolutely crucial. It is for this reason all foreign lawyers looking to practice in England and Wales must earn the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) qualification.
Read on to learn how you to acquire the QLTS qualification.
1. About QLTS
The QLTS qualification enables lawyers from other countries (jurisdictions), including barristers in England and Wales to secure admission into the Solicitors Regulation Authority and, subsequently, earn the legal right to practice law in England and Wales.
2. First Things First
Before you start thinking of practicing law in the UK, you must determine whether the SRA accepts applicants from the country in which you are currently certified or licensed to practice law.
As of April 2015, SRA accepts applicants from 105 countries worldwide, including the US and many EU countries.
Interestingly, the SRA lists only 38 US states (out of 50) from which certified lawyers can apply. So if you are American, be sure to keenly study the list and identify whether you state is listed.
3. Obtain Certificate of Eligibility
After confirming that you’re eligible for the QLTS qualification, you must apply to the SRA for a certificate of eligibility.
It is important to note in the near future, applicants will not need to obtain a certificate of eligibility, since the SRA’s proposal to scrap this and other QLTS regulations has been approved by the Legal Services Board.
4. Register for QLTS Assessments
Through the QLTS assessments, the SRA is able to identify whether you meet the standard of knowledge and skill required of a newly qualified solicitor in England and Wales.
To register for QLTS assessment, you must submit a booking request to Kaplan QLTS, which is the only organization that is authorized by the SRA to assess QLTS candidates. The booking request contains your:
- Email address
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Postal address
- Jurisdiction in which you are qualified
You will also be able to select the date on which you would like to be assessed. Unless exempted by the SRA, all candidates must first pass the multiple choice test (MCT) before sitting the objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). The Assessment fees are payable at this stage, and assessment dates are set by Kaplan. The cost of the assessment are subject to change, but at present are £500 and £3,510 respectively.
5. Preparing for Assessment
Although it is not mandatory to seek training before sitting the QLTS examinations, it is important to do so to enhance your chances of passing. Kaplan, being the assessment organization, is not authorized to provide training. So unless you can self-study, you will have to find a reputable training provider. Some providers include:
6. Taking the Exam
You will sit your exams on the date you chose when submitting the booking request. The exam center is in London.
You will receive your examination results a few weeks after completing your examinations.
After passing all the QLTS assessments, apply to the SRA for admission to the Roll of Solicitors of England and Wales.
That is all you need to do to legally practice law in England and Wales. If you have any questions about this process, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section below.