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New QLTS scheme produces first successes

A scheme aimed at opening the solicitor qualification to international lawyers whilst ensuring that the requisite standards are met, has produced its first admissions to the roll. The SRA's Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), which has been operational since September 2010, opened up a route to admission for internationally qualified lawyers previously not eligible to apply. The new jurisdictions include the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russian, China) as well as smaller jurisdictions such as Ghana, Cameroon and Uzbekistan. Indian qualified lawyers were eligible under the previous scheme as well as the new.

Kaplan QLTS, part of education and training provider Kaplan, was appointed as the sole assessment organisation to provide the QLTS assessments.

The new scheme replaces the experience requirement required under the predecessor QLTR scheme, with robust practical assessments known as Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (or OSCEs). OSCEs have been used by the medical profession for decades and the SRA and Kaplan have built on this expertise to develop robust, practical assessments which are particularly effective at testing lawyers' client-facing skills.

So far, nine of the 24 starting candidates have completed the three parts of the assessment since in it was introduced in February, and three of those have now been admitted to the roll. This means that as well as being a scheme which the SRA as a regulator can have confidence in, its is also a swift route to qualification for lawyers with the necessary knowledge and skills.

One of these, Leopoldo Dal Bianco, from Argentina, said: "For foreign lawyers coming into the UK, it is a must. I believe most employers will view it well. It is a very thorough and demanding exam."

Yve Schelhaas, Director of Education and Training added: "QTLS is a valid and reliable route to qualification which consumers, candidates and employers can have confidence in. It is open and transparent and presents great opportunities for lawyers qualified throughout the world who are able to meet our requirements."  

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