The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme or QLTS is an alternative route for foreign qualified lawyers to qualify in England and Wales as solicitors.
Only foreign qualified lawyers from recognised jurisdictions are eligible to use the QLTS route in order to qualify in England. The list of recognised jurisdictions may be found on Solicitor Regulation Authority website https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/qlts/recognised-jurisdictions.page
The QLTS consists of two separate stages to test the candidates.
Multiple Choice Test (QLTS MCT)
At the first stage, the QLTS candidates need to pass a computer-based multiple choice test (MCT). MCT consists of 180 multiple choice questions, with five possible answers each. The candidates are given a short fact pattern to choose the answer by applying their knowledge of English law. The test consists of two sessions (2 hours 45 minutes each) with 90 questions per session. There is one hour break between the QLTS MCT sessions. The qualified overseas lawyers will be tested in the following areas of law:
- English Legal Method (e.g. The Legal System of England and Wales)
- Constitutional law, judicial review and Human Rights
- Professional conduct, including the SRA Accounts Rules and regulatory and fiscal frameworks
- Contract law
- Criminal law
- Property law
- Trust law
- Business structures (companies, partnerships and sole traders)
For more details please see Part A Day One Outcomes
The mark is generated out of the number of questions answered correctly. Accordingly to the QLTS Kaplan, which is the only authorised assessment provider of the QLTS exams, no negative marking is applied for the MCT marking purposes. Only those foreign qualified lawyers, who received the overall pass mark for the MCT, will pass the test and become eligible for the next stage, which is called the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).
The pass rate varied from 44% to 59% in the past five years. The MCT sample questions may be found on QLTS Kaplan website
The best way to prepare for the test is actually to practise answering multiple choice questions. There are several training providers from whom qualified lawyers may purchase an online access to the bank of questions: BPP Law School, City Law School, QLTS School and BarBri QLTS.
Usually it does not take very long to prepare for the MCT and the preparation should be largely focused on practising to answer multiple choice questions from the training provider, which many candidates who passed the MCT find really similar to the actual exam questions. The actual prep time period, depends on your availability. Some people get ready for the QLTS MCT in two month, for the others is about 4-6 months.
Objective Structured Clinical Examination (QLTS OSCE)
The MCT is a sort of threshold, which the QLTS candidates need to pass in order to get eligible to rather tough, but exiting QLTS OSCE exam. At this second stage candidates are assessed on five main lawyer’s skills in five practice areas and additionally professional conduct and ethics.
|Client Interview and Case and Matter Analysis / Attendance Note||Business Law|
|Advocacy / Presentation or Persuasive oral communication||Property Law|
|Legal Research||Probate or Wills and the Administration of Estates and Trusts|
|Written Advice or Legal Writing||Criminal Litigations|
|Legal Drafting||Civil Litigations|
The best thing about this exam is that it is made in a way, the is very similar to actual legal practice conditions. So, for example, you will have to handle an interview with a client, who is an actor specifically trained by the QLTS Kaplan. This client will perform a specific role that quite often might make it difficult to deal with the actor. So, foreign qualified lawyers need to employ all the skills they have acquired in practice in order to pass the exam.
Approximately 1000 people take the OSCE annually. It is arranged in London by the QLTS Kaplan.The exam is definitely expensive,but at the same time, the way it is organised gives ample proof that the test is worth the money. The pass rates vary from 82.5% in 2014 to 51% in 2017. However, each year it becomes more and more difficult to pass it, as the exam is competitive and top international lawyers from all over the World are competing for the same objective.
Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)
Soon the QLTS will be even more exciting, because since September 2020 the foreign lawyers, who have not yet cleared the QLTS MCT, would have to compete along with domestic candidates, as the authorities are introducing a single exam for all - Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), also known as a super-exam. The SQE apparently will be very similar to the QLTS. It also will consist out of two parts one of which will be a computer-based and another one real-time skills based assessment.
Of course many things are still very unclear as to the SQE and the new super-exam will greatly change the domestic route of qualification as a solicitor of England and Wales. The change will definitely have its impact on the foreign qualified lawyers as it literally will have the OSCE competition to include domestic candidates with at least two years of practical legal experience. However, those who cleared the QLTS MCT, apparently until 2024 will be eligible to qualify via the QLTS OSCE, without competing with the locals.