There has been quite some confusion for foreign qualified lawyers who were part way through qualifying as solicitors of England & Wales when the QLTS stopped when the SQE came in in September 2021. Following a request to the SRA for clarification, we are able to set out their guidance below. We hope this will be of some assistance.

The reply by the SRA to an enquiry from a foreign qualified lawyer as to how to complete the process to qualify as a solicitor of England & Wales. She had passed her MCT on the QLTS route, but not the OSCE.

“If you have completed the MCT there are 2 routes that you can consider taking:

  1. the QLTS transitional route or
  2. the SQE qualified lawyers route.

These routes are separate and cannot be mixed. If you have passed the QLTS MCT this is not equivalent to passing the SQE1 and you will not qualify to apply for an exemption for SQE2."

QLTS Transitional Route

You can continue to qualify under the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS). If you have passed the multiple choice test (MCT). You must take and pass the SQE2. You must meet the SRA's requirements and apply for admission by 31 March 2024. [N.B. This option is now no longer available if you are not booked in for the October 2023 SQE2 exam; last date to book this was 11th September 2023]

SQE Qualified Lawyers Route

"As a qualified lawyer you will be exempt from the work experience requirement (QWE) of the SQE. We can also recognise professional qualifications and experience equivalent to the SQE1 and SQE2 in total or full components of the SQE1 and SQE2. You may wish to look at the assessment topics on the SQE website to see if they relate to your own professional and academic qualifications. This will indicate whether you may be eligible for any exemptions. Read our Application for recognition of professional qualifications and/or experience guidance. Assessment topics | SQE | Solicitors Regulation Authority SQE1 is made up of FLK1 and FLK2, SQE2 has an oral and a written assessment. Find out more about the assessment topics.

If you are already on your way to becoming a solicitor you can continue to qualify through the existing routes.”

So, in summary:

If you have passed your MCT & OSCE apply now for admission, do not delay.

If you have passed the MCT but not the OSCE

  1. Take & pass the SQE2 & apply for admission [N.B. This option is now no longer available if you are not booked in for the October 2023 SQE2 exam; last date to book this was 11th September 2023] OR
  2. Take & pass the SQE1 (you are unlikely to get exemption from this & they have said that the MCT is NOT equivalent to the SQE1), you are exempt from the QWE requirement, sit & pass the SQE2 exam, but you may apply for exemption form the SQE2 exam (see here for more on this: https://www.hunningsconsultancy.co.uk/sqe2-exemption-for-foreign-lawyers-review-advice/)

Link to the SRA page on this: https://www.sra.org.uk/become-solicitor/qualified-lawyers/qlts/started-qlts/

Link to a video about this on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY2yOY3KuJ8&t=5s

QWE Confirmation

Foreign Qualified Lawyers are normally exempt from the QWE requirement (but see below). However, if you are not qualified as a lawyer you will need 2 years full time equivalent QWE (Qualifying Work Experience) to be confirmed to the SRA by an SRA regulated solicitor. Also if you are a foreign qualified lawyer who has passed the LPC and want to have this count instead of your SQE1, would will need to have your QWE confirmed. If you don't have an SRA regulated solicitor in your organisation to confirm your QWE - we can help: https://www.hunningsconsultancy.co.uk/external-qwe-certification-service-2/ We have done this now for over 40 people. We always off a free, no obligation zoom to talk things through beforehand.

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