News release

SRA to consult on foreign solicitor qualification criteria in event of a no-deal Brexit

We have launched a public consultation on potential changes to rules regarding how non-UK solicitors will qualify in England and Wales in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Under current legislation, EU lawyers are able to apply for exemptions from the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), which all foreign-qualified lawyers must sit to qualify in England and Wales. However, a recently-published Government technical note made it clear that under World Trade Organisation rules it would not be possible to offer such preferential treatment to EU lawyers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Our consultation seeks views on addressing this issue by offering the right to apply for QLTS exemptions to all foreign-qualified lawyers, regardless of the country they come from. As under current rules, whether exemptions are granted depends upon a case-by-case review of that lawyer’s qualifications and experience.

Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, arrangements for solicitors from Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue unchanged. The proposals are only relevant in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Following a four-week consultation, running until 10 January 2019, the SRA will submit any final proposals for approval to the Legal Services Board.

Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: "Whatever the outcome of the negotiations it is important that we are prepared to make sure the transition to any new arrangements takes place seamlessly, with as little disruption as possible to the profession or public. Addressing how non-UK solicitors will qualify in England and Wales in the event a no-deal Brexit is part of that."

Read the consultation