If you are a foreign qualified lawyer and you are after a legal job in London, the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) is definitely an option you should be considering. The QLTS is the way for international lawyers to qualify as Solicitors of England and Wales.
The QLTS is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), and ensures that a lawyer qualified in another jurisdiction has met the standard of knowledge and skills required of a newly qualified solicitor of England and Wales, through two separate tests, the MCT (i.e. Multiple Choice Test) and the OSCE (i.e. the Objective Structured Clinical Examination).
The tests are administered on the SRA’s behalf by Kaplan QLTS, and are held twice a year in London and in various locations around the world through a partnership with Pearson Vue. Locations include New York, China, Scotland and others in mainland Europe.
The cost of the QLTS can be roughly broken down as follows:
• MCT = £500 (+Value Added Tax (VAT))
• OSCE = £2,925 (+VAT)
• Cost of admission application after passing the tests = £100
TOTAL: 3,500 £.
The MCT must be completed before the OSCE is attempted, but there is no time limit for completion of the full assessment (i.e. once a candidate has completed the MCT there is no time limit to complete the OSCE).
Also, the SRA regulated that there is no limit on the number of attempts.
Intra-UK candidates and foreign lawyers qualified in an EEA country can apply to the SRA for exemptions on one or more of the outcomes tested.
Part 1 – The Multiple Choice Test (MCT)
Kaplan, the test administrator, explains that the Multiple Choice Test (MCT) part of the QLTS consists of 180 multiple choice questions delivered online, divided into two 3hour sessions of 90 questions each with 5 possible answers. That makes 1 question every 2 minutes!
No material is permitted into the exam room and late comers will not be let into the test room.
The first document you need to familiarise with is Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Day One Outcomes, and specifically Part A, that lists the core knowledge and understanding of the Law applied in England and Wales (see Appendix A), namely:
A1- English & European Law; A2-Constitutional Law; A3-Professional ethics and SRA Accounts; A4-Financial Regulation Authority; A5- Law of Contracts; A6-Law of Torts; A7-Criminal Law; A8-Property Law; A9-Equity & Trust; A10-Human Rights; A11-Business Law.
Part 2 – Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
The OSCE is a practical legal skills assessment that will test Outcomes C, D and F of the SRA’s Day One Outcome (see appendix B). Candidates will be tested in the practice areas of Business, Property and Probate and Civil and Criminal Litigation, and in each practice area they will be tested for the following skills:
Interviewing; Advocacy; Online Legal Research; Legal drafting; Legal writing.
If you are considering studying for the QLTS you have already realised there is not much information about the test itself. In fact QLTS candidates acknowledge that the content of the assessments is confidential and it can’t be disclosed or discussed with any 3rd party.
First of all the exams take place a couple of times per year.
Normally the MCT (the multiple choice part of the exam) is in February, and then in June/July.
The OSCE is usually around June and at the end of November.
Kaplan, the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme administrator, publishes on its website the results of the past exam sessions.
The pass mark is set by the SRA for each session; hence it is not easy to predict the pass mark for the next exam.
The pass mark for the MCT typically ranges around 55%-60%: as the test is made of 180 questions, you’ll normally have to answer correctly to at least 100 questions (55% of 180).
The results of the last 8 sessions of the MCT are shown in the table below:
No marks are deducted for incorrect answers, and multiple answers will not be counted.
For detail on how the pass mark is set and the marking process, please refer to Kaplan Marking and Moderation Policy.
MCT Results are usually published by Kaplan within 4 weeks of the exam date.
The Pass Mark for the OSCE in the last sessions has constantly been over 60%, with a pass rate ranging from 70% (in November 2015) to 82.5% (in November 2014).
|OSCE Part 1(22 Nov 2014) + Part 2 Dec 2014
|OSCE Part 1(26 Nov 2014) + Part 2 Dec 2014
|OSCE Part 1 (16-18 Nov 2015) + Part 2 Nov 2015
|OSCE Part 1 (22-24 Nov 2015) + Part 2 Nov 2015
Registration & Booking
The Multiple Choice Test is offered through Pearson Vue in a number of locations across the world. To register for the Multiple Choice Test candidates need to submit a registration form to Kaplan. Candidates will then receive an acknowledgment from Kaplan which will contain a candidate number, and subsequently Pearson Vue will contact them within 21 days to begin the registration process.
Registering for the OSCE
Candidates registering for the first time will need to submit a registration form.
All other candidates can complete a booking request.
In any case remember that candidates sitting the QLTS for the first time must register with Kaplan before they can book any of the assessments, using the registration form.
There are essentially two ways of preparing for the QLTS: self-study or via a course provider.
We can’t suggest that one way is better than the other; it really depends on your personal circumstances, needs and skills.
This is the cheapest solution. You can find a list of the books you can buy and study on Pass the QLTS.
There are many options available but the Oxford University Press (OUP) Concentrate Books are in my opinion the best choice for the MCT preparation. They cost between 10 and 12 £ and can be ordered easily via Amazon.
The second option is to subscribe to one of the course provided by the specialised schools.
The three main options (according to our friend Google) are listed in the table below together with the average price. When choosing a course, remember to compare the features and not only the price.
MCT practice questions
Course handbook with free updates
(Partnership with City University London)
Practice questions interactive lectures
Online mock test
For any other information or suggestion on the QLTS, get in touch or subscribe to our newsletter to receive our updates.