Foreign lawyers to be charged £3,000 to gain English qualification

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  • It is about time that foreign lawyers were not just waived through into the English legal profession. Most other countries have far more stringent requirements on overseas lawyers. Also, it never ceases to amaze how little English law foreign lawyers know even if they have been practising for some time here

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  • That's one way of looking at it. Another would be to describe it as a bit of a protectionist racket. Scottish lawyers for example often choose to move to England to practice areas of law like Corporate, Tax or Employment which are identical in both jurisdictions. They (or their firms) will now have to pay an extra £2800 for them to cross qualify.

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  • I totally agree with Nigel savage. I'm not sure that a monopoly for the QLTS is a good idea at all for the fees which are exorbitant for someone who is already qualified in his/her own country,

    It's true that foreign lawyer generally don't know much of English law, but they get a basic knowledge of common law principles, English law basics, and can also advise someone regarding their own national background and experience.

    Furthermore they often advice clients on international matters which necessitate European law or International law skills that they generally have.

    I hope this would change because the fees are really prohibitive. I'm also convinced that the integration of foreign lawyers was also a key for English law influence and for the specific position of London in the competition between European capitals to be the first international legal hub in Europe.

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  • Continues to amaze me how English lawyers practise as lawyers without law degrees!

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  • Foreign lawyers don't need to have a detailed knowledge of English law to be effective in the UK.

    Large firms and companies increasingly prefer foreign lawyers because they are after people who are efficient, capable of marshalling evidence and fluent in English as well as other languages.

    In any event, the implication that all English-qualified lawyers have a detailed knowledge of English law is nonsense and simply another example of a misguided sense of superiority.

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  • Amazing, isn't it! Especially the fact that on average they produce much better results than their foreign qualified counterparts and are so much more client orientated instead of getting lost in some academic discussion.

    As to the price - In Germany it will cost you around EUR5000 pay for the tuition in order to do the transfer test (which cost hardly anything). and its almost impossible to pass without the tuition. So really the end result is the same.

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  • Fortunately, for those of us already holding a QLTT linked Certificate of Eligibility from the SRA (fka the Law Society), we can continue sitting the QLTT (e.g., with BPP) until said Certificate expires. Such Certificate is valid for three years from its issue date but, as said, must have been applied for under the old regulations, i.e, QLTT as opposed to QLTS.

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  • Reality is that someone finally woke up to the fact that a rising B&F star from Clifford & Overy in Budapest, rolling in (with every right and every welcome) to London to make that big London coin will barley wince at paying 4x the old price. Hec, he'd pay ten times the old price if he had to. Well, wouldn't you, if you were him?

    If I were a cynic I'd be surprised that noone at "the regulator" thought of this "inevitable ... step change" years ago. But there were so many coming then, weren't there ..

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  • In response to "Foreign lawyers don't need to have a detailed knowledge of English law to be effective in the UK.", this misses the point. Of course we foreign lawyers don't need English law at all to be effective in the UK. But we do need it to properly practice Engligh law.

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  • If the spelling and grammar demonstrated by some of the previous contributors are anything to go by, some competency requirements in the English language prior to qualifying would not be a bad idea!

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  • I am thankful to those that have already responded to some of the myopic views expressed here. To my friend who pointed out his amazement at the fact that there are English lawyers who practise law without law degrees, may I add that many practise law and even head departments in law firms without degrees at all.

    There are many with less than 5 GCSE's who head teams in firms. Some are currently enrolled in ILEX programmes without having passed English at GCSE level. Those of us with dual jurisdiction qualification as well as English law firm experience cannot be deceived.

    From my experience so far, the English language competency requirements suggested in the last post wouldn't be a bad idea for English candidates as well.

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  • Hmm, the fact that Kaplan is effectively the monopoly provider raises a few novel legal points:
    i. that the resulting dominance is abused through fees that are not fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory;
    ii. that the high fee is a barrier to freedom of establishment as defined under the TFEU - it being noted that the relevance of Directive 98/5/EC is limited insofar as it requires a continuance presence of 3 years, whereas the QLTS grants instant access to the legal professional title(s) of England & Wales.

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  • I love english but i am very glaid plz suggest me how i can improve me english

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  • for foreign lawyers QLTS is harsh rules it must be changed.in everywhere in the world the basic and fundamental laws are like same and every lawyer in the world are well awear of it.if one lawyer is qulified in his own contry alow to partic then why he/she is not aloowed in uk?so harsh qlts

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  • The actual cost is in fact of the QLTS is in fact GBP 4,730.00

    Let me demonstrate:

    Exams: GBP 3,230.00
    Course: GBP 1,300.00
    Certiicate of Eligibility: GBP 200.00

    That comes to a lovely total of GBP 4,730.00

    And you say, "Oh I don't need to do the course". But you do. You do, because this is a new exam and you have no idea what they are looking for and there are no "black market" course materials flying around.

    Can I just say that, taking into account the prevailing exchange rate at the time, GBP4,730 was nearly my entire after-tax salary for an entire year in my first year as a Queensland Articled Clerk.

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  • As a New Zealand qualified lawyer, and having just been through the QLTS scheme, my personal opinion is that it is nothing more than a very expensive protectionist racket which is run by a monopoly and a very bureaucratic and inefficient government agency called the SRA (it takes them 10 weeks to process the application for admission, and its near impossible to get them to answer the phone, or help you once they do - plus the fee).

    The problem is the imposition of the QLTS assessments are compulsory for "non-EU lawyers" no matter what your previous background, education or experience. The QLTS is applied too broadly. To the SRA it doesn't seem to matter that there might be a difference between Polish law, Scottish law or German law, for example, which are very different from English law, - and New Zealand law, Canadian law and Australian law, which are about as close to English law (at least as far as the common law goes), as anywhere in the world.

    There were a number of people in my classes who had over 5 years or more practicing experience, a Master's or PhD in the law from credible EU or UK universities. Many of us are working in large commercial law-firms, practicing in fields of international arbitration or other international level work, for example at EU Commission. In these roles English inheritence tax law, police powers of arrest etc) are entirely irrellevant. In many cases I work on, English law is not even applicable due to choice of law of the parties and they don't go to court here but to private tribunals. When English law is applicable, it is generally the common law of contract, Many issues in this field are novel and even partners don't know the answers. What's more, I doubt if many of the, particuarly senior partners I work with (who are excellent lawyers) could pass the "legal research" requirement in the QLTS because they inevitably get someone else to do this for them.

    What's more, having practised as a barrister & solicitor in all levels of Courts of New Zealand for 4 years, arguing all manner of legal disputes for 100s of clients, taught me how to be a lawyer far better than any farcial test such as the QLTS or the LPC would ever do.

    I admit there needs to be some criteria to assess those who are truely incompetent but there should be some level of screening before this expensive testing process is simply lumped on "non-EU" lawyers. My position may not be the norm, but my position is very common for antipodean lawyers who have immigrated here for work. Very few of us are working in the local community law centre and we wouldn't be hired for the jobs we are in unless these thought we were competent lawyers (and better than the next 100 people who have applied for the same job). Law-firms are now forced to consider whether it is worth fronting up with >£5,000 for a process that takes about 12 months to complete before deciding whether it is worth hiring an foreign lawyer. When competing for jobs, it's not a level playing field, but I guess that was the objective of the reforms.

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  • I don't dispute the fact that foreign lawyers must be required to satisfy stringent requirements, i.e. qualify the QLTS assessments, in order to be able to practice law in the UK.

    What I do take issue with is that the price a foreign lawyer has to pay is exorbitant. I would like to highlight that a foreign applicant is required to pay:

    (a) an application fee to the SRA;
    (b) an application fee at each level of assessment to Kaplan (there are 3 assessments); and
    (c) fee to subscribe to institute's that offer books/study material (This is not required by the SRA. However, given that candidates are tested on 11 subjects, most applicants may subscribe to these.)

    The cost of qualifying in the UK is between GBP 3000-4000.

    I can live with being subject to the same standards as a UK lawyer in order to qualify but I'm appalled that no one has taken issue with the price that a foreign lawyer must pay in order to practice in the UK.

    GBP 3000-4000 is a pretty big sum of money for someone to afford in the UK. Imagine the plight of applicants from jurisdictions with a much weaker currency.

    I am a prospective QLTS applicant and can very much afford it. However, I know that the price one must pay to qualify highly jeopardizes the chances of bright young lawyers in many other jurisdictions to qualify in the UK.

    Its just sad!

    I wish I had the ability to change things. Unfortunately, my only option is to express my views and that too, rather late (this article is dated September 28, 2010).

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  • I note that although there is only a single approved examiner, there are NO approved training providers for the QLTS.

    Thus opening the door for every charlatan...

    ...though oddly, neither the CoL or BPP seem to yet be offering training ?

    Perhaps they are not expecting this replacement scheme to last for very long...

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  • Its not fare to pay the high fee for nothing. where university provide full tutions ,materials, conduct exam and they charge much less comparing to kaplan. kaplan should not take advantage and there shold be some one to compete them. or foreign lawyer dont need kaplan they are more capable to sit and pass the exam. they should kick out.

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  • Kaplan law school need to advert their minds to the fact that they are foreign lawyers who actually trained in England but returned to their country to be admitted to their Native Bar. Such a lawyer could not be classified as "knowing little or nothing" about English law from where they got their LLB, LLM etc. what should be done is to allow them sit for the Bar exams with English lawyers and they could be- surprise !surprise!!

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  • im a pakistani lawyer nd wana start prctise in england .how can i start law practise in england.

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