The SRA will pilot overseas testing of foreign lawyers wanting to become English solicitors for the first time next year, with a multiple choice test (MCT) to be held in New York in January.
The MCT is the first stage in a three-part testing process which forms the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheem (QLTS) and enables foreign lawyers to requalify as English solicitors.
Lawyers must pass the MCT before advancing to the skills test stages of the transfer process, which must be sat in the UK.
The QLTS, which was launched in August 2010, has opened up the possibility for lawyers from many jurisdictions to requalify in England and Wales.
SRA international adviser Alison Hook said that the growing interest in the QLTS led to the decision to launch the MCT in America.
“In the past, requalification was only an option for common law or EU lawyers,” she told The Lawyer. “Since the new scheme began running in 2011, lawyers from Latin America, China, Korea and Russia have all taken advantage of this option and nearly 2,000 foreign lawyers have applied. Despite the interest from emerging markets, the largest number of applicants is still from the United States.”
The MCT will be administered by Kaplan, which was appointed by the SRA in 2010 as the sole provider of the transfer tests following an open tender.
Candidates wanting to sit the MCT in New York will be charged £500.