SRA launches new Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme
Today sees the launch by the Solicitors Regulation Authority?s (SRA) of the new Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS).
Designed to strengthen the procedures for assessing internationally qualified lawyers, and other lawyers qualified in the UK, who wish to practise as solicitors in England and Wales, it is hoped that it will open up the route to admissions to internationally qualified lawyers previously not eligible to apply.
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.
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.?
However, as Legal Futures revealed yesterday, there is still no sign of a resolution to the Law Society of Ireland?s judicial review of the new Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS). This will mean that as of today Irish solicitors will no longer benefit from the automatic exemption whichh they have previously enjoyed.