The English legal profession divided into two branches: Solicitors and Barristers. There are two main ways for overseas university graduates to become a solicitor in England. To begin with, individuals who holds a university degree but are not registered as a lawyer in their countries.
A- WHO HOLDS UNIVERSITY DEGREE BUT IS NOT REGISTERED AS A QUALIFIED LAWYER
FIRST STAGE: GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law)
This intensive conversion course prepares graduates for LPC. Candidates should complete this course which is an intense course built around the core curriculum and assessment requirements of the Qualifying Law Degree. This course would be suitable for those that have acquired career experience or academic/vocational qualifications the SRA considers to be equivalent to an undergraduate degree. The GDL is offered by many academic institutions as a one year full-time or two-year part-time course or by distance learning over two years. This course includes Contract Law, Criminal Law, Equity and Trusts, European Union Law, Land law, Public Law, Tort Law
SECOND STAGE: LPC (Legal Practice Course)
After completing GDL, candidate will have to take the LPC, which ensures candidate has the necessary skills to work in a solicitor’s office. The LPC can be delivered and studied in two stages: first stage is
Core practice areas of litigation – which covers the three essential practice areas of business law and practice, property law and practice and litigation. Alongside course skills, professional conduct and regulation, taxation as well as wills and administration of estates. And second stage is
Vocational electives-such as employment law, family law, commercial property law. The vocational electives focus on specialist areas of law and practice – you must study three from a range of subjects covering different aspects of practice.
Candidates can take the LPC as a full-time or part-time course It is a one-year, full-time (or two-year, part-time)
If candidate wants to be a barrister then he needs to complete the BPTC (Bar Proffesional Training Course) course succesfully. It is a qualifying postgraduate course allowing graduates to prepare and practise as barristers. It is the vocational stage of training, which you’re required to pass before you can go on to complete the final, practical stage of training; pupillage.
THIRD STAGE: TRAINING CONTRACT
The training contract it is a compulsory period of practical training in a law firm for graduates before they can qualify as a solicitor. It is usually for a period of two years, although it can be reduced if candidate have gained suitable and relevant previous legal experience. Training can take place after the LPC or whilst candidates are completing the LPC. Normally law firms prefer candidates to complete first the LPC.
This part of the qualification process will enable candidate, under supervision, to apply the skills and knowledge candidate have acquired during the academic and vocational stages. Trainee will be required to gain experience in at least three distinct areas of law and practice. It is normal, especially in the larger firms, for candidate to spend four six-month placements (called ‘seats’) in different departments. In smaller firms the training will not be so structured. Candidate should always be under the supervision of a qualified solicitor (although usually not the same one for the whole time), who will manage trainee’s workload, monitor their progress and help to train them.
Graduate Diploma in Law
- 1 year full-time
- 2 years part-time
Legal Practice Course
Period of recognised training
Who wants to be a barrister needs to complete Pupilage instead of training contract and apply to Bar Standard Boards.
The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) is a new system of exams that will be introduced in 2021 that all prospective solicitors will have to pass to qualify. From 2021, it will no longer be required to complete a law degree or law conversion and the Legal Practice Course . Instead, candidates must pass both stages of the SQE and complete two years of qualifying work experience.
As part of the new system, candidates must still complete two years of qualifying work experience (QWE) to qualify as solicitors, but this can now be completed in up to four separate placements at different firms and other organisations. Rules have also been relaxed about when QWE is undertaken, so it is possible to gain QWE both before and after taking some of the SQE assessments.
B- FOREIGN QUALIFIED LAWYERS
If candidate is from foreign jurisdictions which are recognised by the SRA and wants to be a solicitor in England and Wales, QLTS is a fast-track route for them. QLTS ensures that the necessary standard of knowledge and skill required of a newly qualified solicitor are met. There are two separate tests that are administered on behalf of the SRA by Kaplan
QUALIFIED LAWYERS TRANSFER SCHEME (QLTS), The QLTS assessment comprises 2 parts, The Multiple Choice Test and OSCE(Objective Structured Clinical Examination)
In order to pass the QLTS assessment, candidates must pass both the MCT and the OSCE. Candidates must pass the MCT before enrolling for the OSCE.
1-FIRST STAGE: MCT (The Multiple Choice Test)
- The Multiple Choice Test ("MCT") consists of 180 multiple-choice questions. It is a computer-based assessment
- The assessment is divided into 2 sessions of 2 hours 45 minutes each, with 90 questions in each session.
- Each of the questions on the test is followed by 5 possible answers. Candidates should choose the best answer from the stated alternatives. Each question is designed to be answered by applying fundamental legal principles to the given fact patterns. Candidates should mark only 1 answer for each question. Multiple answers will not be counted. Marks are based on the number of questions answered correctly.
2-SECOND STAGE: OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination)
The OSCE forms the practical aspect of the QLTS assessments. As a candidate, you will be examined on Parts C (transactional and dispute resolution skills), D (legal, professional and client relationship knowledge and skills) and F (professional values, behaviours, attitudes and ethics) of the SRA’s Day One Outcomes.
Candidates are examined in the 3 practice areas of:
- Property and Probate
- Civil and Criminal Litigation
OSCE is divided into 2 parts as follows:
OSCE Part 1
- Client interview
- Completion of attendance note/case analysis
- Advocacy/oral presentation
OSCE Part 2
- Legal drafting
- Legal research
- Legal writing
An assessor who has been trained in playing the role of the client assesses candidates' performance during the interviews. These assessors mark candidates purely on skills, not on the law. All other exercises are marked by solicitors and are marked on both skills and law.
FOREIGN QUALIFIED LAWYER
MULTIPLE CHOICE TEST(MCT)
OBJECTIVE STRUCTURED CLINICAL EXAMINATION (OSCE)
After completing OSCE candidates can apply to the Solicitor Regulation Authority (SRA) for admission as a solicitor of England and Wales.
On the other side, who wants to be barrister needs to complete Bar Transfer Test (BTT).