Qualified Lawyers Transfer Regulations 2009

The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Regulations 2009 were replaced by the SRA Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme Regulations 2010 on 31 March 2010, in order to introduce a new Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme. View regulations with 31 March 2010 changes highlighted

The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Regulations 1990 were replaced by the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Regulations 2009 on 1 July 2009 as part of a general updating of the rules to introduce firm-based regulation and legal disciplinary practices as provided for in the Legal Services Act 2007. View regulations with 1 July 2009 changes highlighted

Regulations dated 1 July 2009, made by the Solicitors Regulation Authority Board under sections 2, 79 and 80 of the Solicitors Act 1974 with the approval of the Secretary of State under Schedule 4 to the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990, and

made, where requisite, by the Master of the Rolls under section 28 of the Solicitors Act 1974 and article 3 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (Commencement No. 5, Transitory and Transitional Provisions) Order 2009 with the concurrence of the Secretary of State and the Lord Chief Justice under article 3 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (Commencement No. 5, Transitory and Transitional Provisions) Order 2009.

1. Commencement and repeal

These regulations came into force on 1 July 2009, on which date the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Regulations 1990 shall cease to have effect.

2. Interpretation and definitions

  • 1.

    The Interpretation Act 1978 applies to the interpretation of these regulations as it applies to the interpretation of an Act of Parliament.

  • 2.

    Words and phrases not expressly defined in these regulations unless the context otherwise requires bear the same meaning as they bear in the Solicitors Act 1974.

  • 3.

    In these regulations:

    • "eligible applicant" means a person eligible to attempt a Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test who has obtained a certificate from the SRA to that effect;
    • "overseas lawyer" means a member of one of the professions listed in the Schedule to these regulations;
    • "SRA" means the Solicitors Regulation Authority;
    • "SRA's agent" means a body, firm, company or individual authorised by the SRA from time to time for the provision and assessment of the Test;
    • "Test" means the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test which is an assessment of competence in the subjects specified in these Regulations; and
    • "training contract" bears the same meaning as in the Solicitors' Training Regulations.

3. Subjects assessed

The subjects assessed by the Test are:

  • a.

    Property;

  • b.

    Litigation;

  • c.

    Professional Conduct and Accounts;

  • d.

    Principles of Common Law.

4. Eligibility

  • 1.

    A person seeking to establish eligibility under these regulations to apply for admission must provide such evidence as the SRA may require that the applicant:

    • a.

      is a person to whom any of regulations 5 to 14 applies; and

    • b.

      is suitable to be admitted as a solicitor.

  • 2.

    If the SRA is satisfied that an applicant is so eligible it must issue a certificate to that effect stating any subjects in the Test which the applicant is required to pass and in respect of applications to whom regulations 5, 9, 10 or 14 apply any other conditions which the applicant must satisfy. A person who does not hold such a certificate may not attempt the Test.

  • 3.

    In making any determination under regulations 5 to 14, the SRA shall have regard to the nature and extent of the applicant's practical experience in the law of England and Wales and any other academic or other qualification.

  • 4.

    A Certificate of Eligibility shall remain valid for a period of three years from the date of its issue.

5. Barristers qualified in England and Wales

Unless the SRA otherwise determines a member or former member of the Bar of England and Wales must have, prior to applying for admission, passed the Test in Professional Conduct and Accounts, and

  • a.

    satisfactorily completed 12 months pupillage and 12 months legal practice acceptable to the SRA; or

  • b.

    completed two years legal practice acceptable to the SRA; or

  • c.

    been employed in a way consistent with service under a training contract for such a period not exceeding two years as the SRA may determine.

6. Solicitors qualified in Scotland

Unless the SRA otherwise determines a person who has been admitted as a solicitor in Scotland must:

  • a.

    hold or be eligible to hold an unrestricted practising certificate prior to applying for a Certificate of Eligibility; and

  • b.

    pass the Test in Property;

prior to applying for admission.

7. Solicitors qualified in Northern Ireland

Unless the SRA otherwise determines a person who has been admitted as a solicitor in Northern Ireland is not required to pass any subject of the Test.

8. Advocates qualified in Scotland

Unless the SRA otherwise determines a person who has been admitted as an Advocate in Scotland must, prior to applying for admission, pass the Test in:

  • a.

    Professional Conduct and Accounts, and

  • b.

    Property.

9. Barrister qualified in Northern Ireland

Unless the SRA otherwise determines a person who has been admitted to the Bar of Northern Ireland must have prior to applying for admission:

  • a.

    passed the Test in Professional Conduct and Accounts;

  • b.

    satisfactorily completed 12 months pupillage and 12 months legal practice acceptable to the SRA; or

  • c.

    completed two years legal practice acceptable to the SRA; or

  • d.

    been employed in a way consistent with service under a training contract for such a period not exceeding two years as the SRA may determine.

10. Certain overseas lawyers

  • 1.

    An overseas lawyer who has qualified in one of the professions listed in the Schedule to these regulations by passing the qualifying examinations required of a person who has not previously qualified for admission in any other jurisdiction must, prior to applying for admission, pass the Test in such subjects as are specified in the Schedule unless in any individual case the SRA grants a waiver.

  • 2.

    An overseas lawyer to whom paragraph (1) of this regulation applies may also be required to complete such a period of experience in legal practice, not exceeding two years, as the SRA may determine, prior to applying for admission.

  • 3.

    Paragraphs (4) and (5) of this regulation apply to overseas lawyers who have not passed the qualifying examinations required of a person who has not previously qualified for admission in any other jurisdiction for qualification in one of the professions listed in the Schedule to these regulations.

  • 4.

    An overseas lawyer to whom paragraph (3) applies must apply to the SRA who will determine whether the overseas lawyer is an eligible applicant and if so:

    • a.

      which subjects (if any) the overseas lawyer must pass in the Test prior to applying for admission; and

    • b.

      whether the overseas lawyer must complete a period of employment consistent with service under a training contract before applying for admission and if so, for how long the overseas lawyer must be employed.

  • 5.

    For the avoidance of doubt, if the SRA determines that an overseas lawyer to whom paragraph (3) applies is not an eligible applicant, that overseas lawyer must complete the academic and vocational stages of training in accordance with the Solicitors' Training Regulations.

11. European Community lawyers

  • (1)

    Any lawyer seeking to establish eligibility pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC or any legislation implementing that Directive in the UK, who in accordance with that legislation is required by the SRA to pass an aptitude test, shall be required to pass the Test in such subjects as the SRA shall determine.

  • (2)

    Any lawyer seeking to establish eligibility pursuant to Directive 98/5/EC or any legislation implementing that Directive in the UK shall be exempt from an aptitude test if they can prove to the SRA that they have met the requirements of the Directive and in particular that they have:

    • (a)

      effectively and regularly pursued for a period of at least three years an activity in the United Kingdom in the law of the United Kingdom including Community Law in accordance with article 10.1 of the Directive; or

    • (b)

      effectively and regularly pursued a professional activity in the United Kingdom for a period of at least three years but for a lesser period in the law of the United Kingdom , under the conditions set out in article 10.3 of the Directive.

12. Solicitors and barristers qualified in Republic of Ireland

Notwithstanding regulation 11, unless the SRA otherwise determines:

  • a.

    a person who has been admitted as a solicitor in the Republic of Ireland is not required to pass any subject in the Test;

  • b.

    a person who has been admitted to the Bar of Ireland must pass the Test in:

    • i.

      Professional Conduct and Accounts,

    • ii.

      Property.

13. Distinguished specialist practitioners

A lawyer:

  • a.

    qualified in any jurisdiction outside England and Wales; and

  • b.

    having at least 10 years practising experience; and

  • c.

    able to demonstrate by references acceptable to the SRA , publications or other evidence acceptable to the SRA that he has substantial experience and an acknowledged international reputation as a distinguished specialist practitioner in one or more fields of practice commonly undertaken by solicitors in England and Wales,

shall be required to pass the Test in such subjects as the SRA shall determine prior to applying for admission in England and Wales.

14. Academic lawyers

A person who has taught on courses forming part of the process of qualification as a solicitor for 10 years full-time or a commensurately longer period part-time must have prior to applying for admission:

  • a.

    passed the Test in such subjects as the SRA shall determine; and

  • b.

    undertaken legal practice acceptable to the SRA and which, unless the SRA otherwise determines:

    • i.

      amounts in total to the equivalent of 2 years full-time employment;

    • ii.

      is undertaken over a total period not exceeding 6 years immediately preceding the date of application for admission;

    • iii.

      is undertaken for at least half of the time in blocks of not less than 2 months.

15. Time of holding the Test

The Test will be held at such times as the SRA may determine.

16. Review of decisions on eligibility

  • (1)

    A person seeking to establish eligibility under regulation 4 may within one month of receiving notification from the SRA of any decision ask for the application to be reviewed

  • (2)

    Where in the case of an applicant seeking to establish eligibility other than pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC or Directive 98/5/EC the SRA has:

    • (a)

      refused the initial application on the ground that the applicant is not suitable to be admitted as a solicitor, and

    • (b)

      has refused to reverse that refusal on a review;

  • the applicant has the right, within three months of receiving notification from the SRA of its decision on the review, to appeal to the High Court under regulation 4 of the Solicitors' Admission Regulations.
  • (3)
    • (a)

      Where in the case of an applicant seeking to establish eligibility pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC the SRA:

      • (i)

        fails to take a decision on the initial application and notify it to the applicant within four months of receipt of all the relevant documents; or

      • (ii)

        refuses the initial application; or

      • (iii)

        refuses to reverse that refusal on a review ;

        the applicant has the right, within three months of receiving notification or deemed notification of the SRA's decision, to appeal to the High Court under regulation 36 of the European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007.

    • (b)

      Once the deadline in (a)(i) above has passed without the SRA issuing a certificate of eligibility or notifying the applicant of refusal, the application is deemed, for the purpose of an appeal under regulation 36 of the European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007, to have been refused and refusal notified to the applicant on that date.

  • (4)
    • (a)

      Where in the case of an applicant seeking to establish eligibility pursuant to Directive 98/5/EC the SRA:

      • (i)

        fails to take a decision on the initial application and notify it to the applicant within four months of receipt of all the relevant documents; or

      • (ii)

        refuses the initial application; or

      • (iii)

        refuses to reverse that refusal on a review;

        the applicant has the right, within three months of receiving notification or deemed notification of the SRA's decision, to appeal to the High Court under regulation 35 of the European Communities (Lawyer's Practice) Regulations 2000.

    • (b)

      Once the deadline in (a)(i) above has passed without the SRA issuing a certificate of eligibility or notifying the applicant of refusal, the application is deemed, for the purpose of an appeal under regulation 35 of the European Communities (Lawyer's Practice) Regulations 2000, to have been refused and refusal notified to the applicant on that date.

17. Misbehaviour of prospective solicitor

  • (1)

    If the SRA at any time is not satisfied as to the suitability to become a solicitor of any person whom it has certified eligible under regulation 4 it may on such terms as it determines:

    • (a)

      prohibit an attempt at the Test; or

    • (b)

      refuse to recognise periods of employment as consistent with service under a training contract.

  • (2)

    If the SRA imposes a prohibition or other sanction under paragraph (1) the unadmitted person may within one month of receiving notification from the SRA of its decision, ask for the matter to be reviewed.

  • (3)

    If the unadmitted person has been certified eligible other than pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC, he or she has the right to appeal to the High Court under regulation 5 of the Solicitors' Admission Regulations within three months of receiving notification from the SRA of its decision on a review under paragraph (2).

  • (4)

    Where in the case of an applicant who has been certified eligible pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC, the SRA:

    • (a)

      prohibits an attempt at the Test under paragraph (1); or

    • (b)

      refuses to lift that prohibition on an application for review;

      the applicant has the right, within three months of receiving notification of the SRA's decision, to appeal to the High Court under regulation 36 of the European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2007.

  • (5)

    An unadmitted person may make up to three applications to the SRA to remove a prohibition or other sanction after intervals of not less than twelve months from the final determination as to the imposition of the prohibition or sanction, or from the final determination of the unadmitted person's previous application for review, as the case may be.

  • (6)

    The unadmitted person has the right to appeal to the High Court under regulation 5 of the Solicitors' Admission Regulations within three months of receiving notification from the SRA of its decision on an application for the removal of a prohibition or sanction under paragraph (5).

18. Forms and fees

  • 1.

    A person wishing to attempt the Test must give notice to the SRA's agent in the prescribed form and pay the prescribed fee.

  • 2.

    A person wishing to make an application or give notice to the SRA in accordance with these regulations must do so in the prescribed form and pay the prescribed fee.

  • 3.

    When at the time of the making of an application or giving of a notice no form has been prescribed by the SRA or the SRA's agent the application or notice must be in writing, signed by the applicant or the person giving it and give such information as is necessary to enable the SRA or the SRA's to deal with the application or to comply with the regulation under which the notice is given.

  • 4.

    Whether or not the application is made or notice given on a prescribed form the SRA may require the applicant or the person giving notice to furnish such further information as it considers necessary.

  • 5.

    The SRA may require any application to be supported by such evidence as it considers necessary and it may require facts relevant to any application to be deposed to by statutory declaration and may require the attendance of the applicant for interview.

19. Admission as a solicitor

Admission as a solicitor takes place under Part 3 of the Solicitors' Admission Regulations.

Schedule

Lawyers of the following Courts who wish to be admitted as solicitors in England and Wales are not required to pass any Heads in the Test if they have passed the qualifying examinations required for admission to such Courts of a person who has not previously qualified for admission in any other territory:

territory1 Eligible profession1
Hong Kong Solicitor
Isle of Man Advocate
Singapore Advocate and Solicitor

2. Lawyers of the following Courts who wish to be admitted as solicitors in England and Wales and who have passed the qualifying examinations required for the admission to such Courts of a person who has not previously qualified for admission in any other territory are required to pass the Professional Conduct and Accounts Head of the Test:

territory2 Eligible profession2
Alberta Barrister and Solicitor
Anguilla Barrister and Solicitor
Antigua and Barbuda Barrister and Solicitor
Australian Capital territory2 Solicitor
Barrister
Bahamas Counsel and Attorney
Barbados Attorney at Law
Belize Attorney at Law
Bermuda Legal Practitioner
British Columbia Barrister and Solicitor
British Virgin Islands  Barrister and Solicitor
Cayman Islands Attorney at Law
Dominica Barrister and Solicitor
Grenada Attorney at Law
Guyana Attorney at Law
Hong Kong Barrister
*India Advocate
Solicitor
Jamaica Attorney at Law
Malaysia Advocate and Solicitor
Manitoba Barrister and Solicitor
Montserrat Barrister and Solicitor
New Brunswick Barrister and Solicitor
Newfoundland Barrister and Solicitor
New South Wales Solicitor
Barrister
New Zealand Barrister and Solicitor
Northern territory2 Barrister and Solicitor
Northwest Territories Barrister and Solicitor
Nova Scotia Barrister and Solicitor
Ontario Barrister and Solicitor
Papua New Guinea Lawyer
Prince Edward Island Barrister and Solicitor
Queensland Solicitor
Barrister
Saskatchewan Barrister and Solicitor
South Australia Barrister and Solicitor
St Lucia Barrister and Solicitor
St Kitts and Nevis Barrister
St Vincent and the Grenadines Barrister at Law
Tasmania Barrister and Solicitor
Trinidad and Tobago Attorney at Law
Turks and Caicos Attorney at Law
Victoria Barrister and Solicitor
Western Australia Barrister and Solicitor
Yukon territory2  Barrister and Solicitor
Zambia Advocate

3. Lawyers of the following Courts who wish to be admitted as solicitor in England and Wales and who have passed the qualifying examinations required for the admission to such Courts of a person who has not previously qualified for admission in any other territory are required to pass the written Heads of the Test in Property, and Professional Conduct and Accounts:

territory3 Eligible profession3
Ghana Legal Practitioner
*Israel Advocate

Lawyers of the following Courts who wish to be admitted as solicitors in England and Wales and who have passed the qualifying examination required for the admission to such Courts of a person who has not previously qualified for admission in any other territory are required to pass the written Heads of the Test i.e., Property, Litigation, and Professional Conduct and Accounts:

territory4 Eligible profession4
Alabama Attorney at Law
Alaska Attorney at Law
Arizona Attorney at Law
Arkansas Attorney at Law
California Attorney at Law
Colorado Attorney at Law
Connecticut Attorney at Law
Delaware Attorney at Law
District of Columbia Attorney at Law
Florida Attorney at Law
Georgia Attorney at Law
Hawaii Attorney at Law
Idaho Attorney at Law
Illinois Attorney at Law
Indiana Attorney at Law
Iowa Attorney at Law
Kansas Attorney at Law
Kentucky Attorney at Law
Louisiana Attorney at Law
Maine Attorney at Law
Maryland Attorney at Law
Massachusetts Attorney at Law
Michigan Attorney at Law
Minnesota Attorney at Law
Mississippi Attorney at Law
Missouri Attorney at Law
Montana Attorney at Law
Nebraska Attorney at Law
Nevada Attorney at Law
New Hampshire Attorney at Law
New Jersey Attorney at Law
New Mexico  Attorney at Law
New York   Attorney at Law
Nigeria Barrister and Solicitor
North Carolina  Attorney at Law
North Dakota Attorney at Law
Ohio Attorney at Law
Oklahoma Attorney at Law
Oregon Attorney at Law
Pennsylvania Attorney at Law
Rhode Island Attorney at Law
South Carolina Attorney at Law
South Dakota Attorney at Law
Tennessee Attorney at Law
Texas Attorney at Law
Utah Attorney at Law
Vermont Attorney at Law
Virginia Attorney at Law
Washington Attorney at Law
West Virginia Attorney at Law
Wisconsin Attorney at Law
Wyoming Attorney at Law

Lawyers of the following Courts who wish to be admitted as solicitors in England and Wales and who have passed the qualifying examinations for the required admission to such Courts of a person who has not previously qualified for admission in any other territory are required to pass the written Heads of the Test, Property, and Professional Conduct and Accounts and the oral test in the Principles of Common Law:

territory5 Eligible profession5
Botswana Attorney and Advocate
Namibia Attorney and Advocate
South Africa Attorney and Advocate
Zimbabwe Legal Practitioner

Lawyers of the following Courts who wish to be admitted as solicitors in England and Wales and who have passed the qualifying examinations required for the admission to such Courts of a person who has not previously qualified for admission in any other territory are required to pass all four Heads of the Test:

territory6 Eligible profession6
Bangladesh Advocate
Pakistan Advocate
Quebec Avocat
Sri Lanka Attorney at Law
Switzerland Rechtsanwalt

* Applicants qualified in India and Israel may also be required to pass the Principles of Common Law Head of the Test depending on whether their law degree was taught in English.