20 September 2021
A qualified lawyer is someone who holds a legal professional qualification which allows them to practise in England and Wales or another jurisdiction.
This includes UK lawyers such as Barristers, CILEX Practitioner or Chartered Legal Executive, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Scottish solicitor.
All qualified lawyers need to do the following to become a solicitor of England and Wales:
- have a degree in any subject that is equivalent to a UK degree or level 6 qualification, or other qualification and/or experience equivalent to this
- pass the SQE1 and SQE2 assessments, unless your qualification has an agreed exemption or you wish to apply for an individual one
- meet our character and suitability requirements.
You are not required to do qualifying work experience, as we will recognise your existing qualification and experience. You also no longer need to be in one of our recognised jurisdictions.
If a qualified lawyer is granted an exemption from SQE2, we may also require them to demonstrate their English or Welsh language competence.
Find out more in our approach for qualified lawyers.
Some qualified lawyers may not have some of these requirements, these are:
- Barrister of England and Wales
- CILEX Practitioner or Chartered Legal Executive
- Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland solicitor
- Scottish solicitors
Jurisdictions where there is political unrest
Qualified lawyers in jurisdictions where there is political unrest, for example, Syria or Afghanistan, may want to come to England and Wales to practise law. We welcome applications for admission from lawyers from these jurisdictions and are happy to discuss an individual’s circumstances.
We recognise that access to certain documentation or evidence, such as a certificate of good standing, can be difficult, but alternative documentation can be used to support an application. We make our decisions on a case-by-case basis, using the available evidence.
There are also a number of different ways of practising here, in addition to becoming a solicitor of England and Wales.
Please contact our QLTS team so we can provide more detail and arrange to discuss your situation, if that would be helpful.
Pathways to qualification
Find your pathway to qualification and what you need to do next.