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Suzanne Townley

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

SQE to replace QLTS for foreign qualified lawyers

SQE to replace QLTS for foreign qualified lawyers


Foreign qualified lawyers will have the same route to entry as domestic lawyers

The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) will replace the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) from September 2021. For the first time, foreign qualified lawyers wishing to requalify as a solicitor in England and Wales will take the same test as domestic candidates. 

The SQE will be open to all foreign qualified lawyers, unlike the QLTS which is only open to those qualified in jurisdictions recognised by the SRA.

The Law Society said that the introduction of ‘a single, final, centralised qualification exam’ will bring the regime in England and Wales in line with most other jurisdictions.

The option to register to requalify via the QLTS will remain open until 5pm UCT+1 on 20 April 2021. Candidates will then be required to book a place in a test centres by 5pm UCT+1 on 26 May 2021. The multiple-choice test will take place on 7 July 2021.

Those who have already passed the QLTS multiple-choice test may complete their qualification by sitting the second part of the QLTS and applying to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for admission to the roll by 31 August 2022. 

Alternatively, they may qualify by taking the second part of the SQE (SWE2) by 31 August 2023. The first sitting of SQE2 will be in April 2022. 

If a lawyer cannot secure a place to attempt the QLTS multiple-choice test in July, or fails the test, they cannot progress through the QLTS and will instead be required to requalify via the SWE. The first sittings of the SQE will start in November 2021.

Certain foreign qualified lawyers may be exempt from some of the requirements of the SQE. The Law Society has confirmed that the SRA ‘will not require candidates to complete any preparatory courses before sitting the SQE, nor to have any specific university degree.’

For more information, visit the Law Society’s website here.