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How do you transfer to UK law?
So you are a qualified lawyer in your current country but you want to practice in England and Wales. How exactly do you go about becoming qualified here?
The answer is by way of the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme. This scheme allows certain overseas lawyers (and lawyers from Ireland and Scotland) to practice in England and Wales by proving their experience as a lawyer and passing certain examinations. These examinations are known as the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme (QLTS).
So far so simple but there are different requirements for your level of experience and different examinations to pass depending on the country that you qualified in originally.
Unless you have an exempton from part of the exam, you no longer need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Next you’ll need to book your assessments with Kaplan QLTS. The QLTS assessment is made up with a multiple choice test, an objective structured clinical examination and a technical legal skills test. Candidates will have to pass all three within five years to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales.
As you’ll only have three attempts to pass each examination, you’ll only need to book the examinations once you are confident in your knowledge. You can organise your own learning and revision, some schools provide distance learning materials and leading textbooks in each area as one option, or you can even book on revision days.
Depending on your country of qualification, you might have to give evidence that you satisfy the SRA’s English language requirements too.
Application to the roll…
Once you have passed your examinations you can apply to be “admitted to the roll” this means you will be placed on the register of qualified solicitors. As part of this process you will need to pass the SRA Suitability test to ensure that you are of suitable character. This basically means that you must show that you are honest and trustworthy; willing to comply with regulatory requirements; and won’t pose a risk to the public or the profession.
Once the SRA are satisfied that you are of suitable character and subject to having a practising certificate you will be able to act as a solicitor in England and Wales.
List of recognised jurisdictions & qualified lawyers…
You can find the most up-to-date list of recognised jurisdictions and qualified lawyers here.