QLTS Assessments – Becoming an English Solicitor
The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) provides an opportunity for lawyers from various countries around the world to qualify as solicitors in England and Wales. The scheme is administered by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), the regulatory body of the Law Society of England and Wales.
The QLTS came into force in 2011 and replaced the previous regime, the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT) exams.
Watch this video presentation to learn more about the QLTS assessments:
The QLTS comprises two assessments:
Part I – Multiple Choice Test (MCT) – this tests the knowledge and understanding of 11 legal practice areas (known as SRA Outcomes A1-A11) on English law. The MCT consists of 180 multiple choice questions, each with five possible answers. The assessment is divided into two periods of two hours and 45 minutes each, with 90 questions on each part.
To pass the MCT, you need to show to the SRA that you are able to apply fundamental legal principles to given fact patterns (not esoteric topics or the ability to cite cases or isolated facts), and find a single best answer of five alternatives.
While knowledge can be acquired by reading through MCT textbooks, application of knowledge can be achieved by practicing multiple choice questions and mock tests in a similar format to the formal assessments.
Part II – Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) – the second part of the QLTS tests five skills: Interviewing and Advocacy/Oral Presentation (known as OSCE Part I), and Online Legal Research, Legal Drafting and Legal Writing (known as OSCE Part II). The assessment runs across several days. The OSCE is conducted in the context of three legal practice areas: Business Law and Practice, Litigation (Civil and Criminal) and Property Law (Conveyancing, Wills and Probate).
The skills are assessed through various simulated legal environments known as OSCE ‘stations’ using different techniques, including actors as interviewed clients and professional legal databases and keyboard skills.
There is a single pass mark for OSCE Parts I & II combined, and you must take the two parts at the same sitting.
- You must first pass the MCT before attempting the OSCE.
- There is no restriction on the number of attempts you may take, nor a time limit for completing the two assessments within a certain time period (this is subject to the introduction of the SQE in 2021 and the cut-off date to apply for admission with the SRA)
- There is no experience requirement or training to complete, nor an English language test to take
- The assessments are closed-book – you cannot bring with you any supporting materials into the examination centre
- EU/EEA and Intra-UK lawyers (and partially qualified nationals – Morgenbesser applicants) may be eligible to obtain exemptions from some of the elements of the assessment (a separate application should be made to the SRA with a fee of £400, and for Morgenbesser applicants – £600). All other lawyers cannot obtain any exemptions.
There are no formal steps you need to follow in order to be eligible to sit the QLTS assessments (there was previously a requirement to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the SRA, but this was removed in March 2015).
Candidates should, however, hold the correct professional qualification in a recognised jurisdiction and satisfy the SRA requirements as to character and suitability before they apply for admission as solicitors.
A list of Recognised Jurisdiction is published at the SRA website. The list includes among other countries most of the jurisdictions in the USA, Australia, all EU countries, Turkey, Nigeria, Canada, South Africa, Japan, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil and Israel.
Questions about your eligibility should be addressed to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), The Cube, 199 Wharfside Street, Birmingham B1 1RN, UK
Sitting the Assessments
The assessments are administered by a sole assessment provider, Kaplan QLTS, which has been appointed by the SRA. Kaplan is not authorised to offer preparatory courses for the assessments. All the assessments are held in London, UK. The MCT is also be delivered online (computer-based assessment) in conjunction with Pearson VUE in New York, Singapore, Australia, China, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, India, Dubai, Johannesburg and other locations in the UK and mainland Europe. Spaces are subject to availability.
MCT – 8 July – 2020, 13 January – 2021. Exam fees are £565 + VAT for the July 2020 test and £588 + VAT for the January 2021 test. The registration for the July 2020 MCT is now open. The registration cut-off date with Kaplan is set for 5pm UK Time, 7 May 2020. The booking cut-off date with Pearson VUE is set for 5pm UK Time, 27 May 2020.
OSCE – Part I – 20-22, 25-27, July 2020 | Part II – 29-31 July (1 August) 2020. The fees for the May 2020 OSCE are £3,042 +VAT (Total £3,650.40).
OSCE – Part I – 10-12, 14-16, 23-25 November 2020 | Part II – 18-20 (21) November 2020. The fees for the November 2020 OSCE are £3,042 +VAT (Total £3,650.40). The registration cut-off date with Kaplan for the August 2020 OSCE is set for 5pm UK Time, 17 June 2020.
Note that spaces are limited and subject to availability so candidates are advised to book early to guarantee a place.
MCT assessment results are normally released within 2-3 weeks after the assessment date. OSCE results are usually published 12-14 weeks after the assessment. Once you have passed the two assessments and fulfilled any other outstanding requirements as set by the SRA, you may apply for admission to the Roll of Solicitors of England and Wales and get your practising certificate.
QLTS School offers preparation courses for the two elements of the assessment: MCT and OSCE. Our courses combine comprehensive textbooks, video tutorials, online resources and tutor support.