Foreign lawyers to be charged £3,000 to gain English qualification

The cost of cross qualifying as an English lawyer has more than trebled following the introduction of the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme (QLTS).

Kaplan Law School, which has been appointed as the sole assessment organisation, plans to charge foreign lawyers who want to practice in England and Wales a whopping £3,230. Under the old regime, known as the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Test (QLTT), the exams cost around £800.

Kaplan’s managing director Peter Anderson said: “The QLTS represents a step change when benchmarked against the QLTT that preceded it. It’s inevitable that such an extensive range of assessments, necessary to produce valid and reliable results that adequately protect the consumer and the standards of the profession, is more expensive than its predecessor.”

Under the new regime candidates will be required to complete a range of assessments that will include an extensive multiple choice test, and objective structured clinical examination involving one and a half days of one-to-one assessments with specially trained assessors and clients and a technical legal skills test involving a further one and a half days of on-line research, writing and drafting.

But College of Law chief executive Nigel Savage claimed the hefty cost of the QLTS was down to Kaplan being a monopoly provider. He said: “It’s the downside of regulators dispensing monopoly provision. Legal education and training should be subject to competitive forces. If we have a market for the domestic qualification we should have one for the overseas version too.”