Many of you taking or intending to take the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) assessments may be a bit in the dark of the documents required to ultimately get admitted to the roll of solicitors in England and Wales, primarily because no eligibility checks are carried out prior to taking the assessments. This could lead to a situation where you’ve cleared the QLTS assessments but do not have the necessary documents to meet the eligibility criteria set out by Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
In this note, I’ve set out a brief roadmap of the admission process (applicable to foreign lawyers living outside the UK) so that you know the paperwork, costs, and timeline involved for the last mile in your journey towards becoming an English solicitor.
After You’ve Cleared the QLTS OSCE
Once you’ve cleared the QLTS Assessments (both the MCT and OSCE), you can apply to the SRA for admission to the roll of solicitors. Note that Kaplan will directly intimate the SRA of the results of your QLTS assessments, and you do not need to send any evidence of this.
The Paperwork Involved
1. Form AD-1: You will have to fill Form AD-1 which can be accessed here. The form may be used to apply for admission to the roll of solicitors as well as for your first practising certificate.
2. Certificate of Good Standing: You will need to submit a certificate of good standing from all jurisdictions where you have been admitted. Note that you need to be a qualified lawyer in one of the recognised jurisdictions in order to be eligible to apply for admission.
The certificates must be less than three months old and confirm (i) your date of admission, (ii) that you are in good standing, (iii) that you have not been subject to any disciplinary proceedings, (iv) that there are not any pending disciplinary proceedings against you, and (v) that you are currently entitled to practice.
This is the key tick-in-the-box not just owing to the logistics involved but because some are simply not eligible to apply to the SRA. In addition, many in-house counsel are not registered with any bar association and therefore may not be in a position to apply to the SRA. For instance, Indian lawyers working in-house are not eligible to register with the relevant state Bar Council which puts them in a tight spot.
3. Criminal Records Check: You must provide original criminal records check from any country you have lived in, for 12 months or more during the last five years. The checks must be less than three months old and include an official translation if not in English.
In my case, I obtained a certificate of good conduct from both the UAE and India since I had moved to the UAE about two years ago and was living in India during the last five years. Getting the good conduct certificate from the Indian consulate in Dubai was a bit of a logistical nightmare as there was running around to do.
4. Proof of Name and Address: You have to provide separate identification documents for each of proof of name and address. For example, as per the notes to Form AD-1, if you provide your driving license as proof of your name you must provide another form of identification for your address, such as a utility bill.
The fee for admission is £100. If you have applied for a practising certificate, then there is an additional fee ranging from £146 to £318, depending on the starting date of your practising certificate.
For ways to make the above payment, please check the details in the SRA website here. If you are making the payment via wire transfer, you will have to fill up a ‘methods of payment’ form which can be accessed from the same link above.
It takes about a month to hear back from the SRA on your admission provided you do not have any character or suitability issues.
Disclaimer: This note is only intended to provide with you an overview of the process involved for applying to the SRA for admission to the roll of solicitors. I advise you to access the SRA website at the time of applying for admission to make sure that you have the most up-to-date information which applies to your case.