If you are a legal professional and you are thinking about transferring your practice or entering a new regulatory environment; whether new to the UK or to the Bar or solicitor profession generally, then we can help you with this process. Navigating the different guidance, rules and application forms can be difficult, but with our support the process will be much more efficient and stress free.
Transferring to the Bar of England and Wales
This is even more complex now that the Bar Standards Board (“BSB”) have changed the requirements from the Bar Transfer Test (“BTT”) with effect from August 2021.
The BSB now offers a specific process for foreign qualified lawyers and other qualified legal professionals to transfer to the Bar of England and Wales. This includes: lawyers qualified in another jurisdiction; legal academics; and, qualified solicitors.
An application will need to be submitted to the BSB, which will be assessed based on your subjective experience and qualifications, and the BSB will set out what, if any, training requirements you are required to undertake. It may be that certain Bar Training Course modules and examinations need to be undertaken and/or a period of vocational training, called Pupillage, needs to be completed.
As a positive, this means that it is no longer relevant or necessary to pay for and attend preparation courses by academic providers. The downside is that your application needs to be very detailed and the better prepared you are, the better your chances of success.
The application form, along with the guidance, is available on the BSB website here. In order to complete the form, you will need to provide quite extensive supporting evidence for your experience, including: certifications, references and other similar documentation.
Transferring to become a Solicitor of England and Wales
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (“SRA”) also has a process to be followed if the applicant is already a qualified lawyer. This process has undertaken changes in recent months and the Qualified Lawyer Transfer Scheme (“QLTS”) no longer exists after 1 September 2021. Moving forward an applicant will need to meet the following to become a solicitor:
- Hold a degree or hold an equivalent qualification or experience;
- Pass the SQE assessments (SQE1 and SQE2), unless you have an exemption; and
- Meet the SRA character and suitability requirements.
Depending on your qualifications and professional experience, you may be exempt from undertaking the SQE and any additional work-based training. In order to obtain an exemption an application will need to be completed and supporting evidence and documentation will need to be submitted. The type and nature of the exemption will again be subjective to your circumstances and will require detailed evidence to be submitted. Further details on the various SRA schemes can be found here.
Like the new BSB approach, this now negates the need to pay for and attend a QLTS preparation course; although SQE courses are now frequently being advertised – these may be too extensive for your needs. Our advice is that before you commit to the time and cost of any courses, consider your particular circumstances, the likely requirements you would have to undertake and any exemptions for which you may qualify.
Beyond Compliance has experience of assisting transferring lawyers with the application process and appeals – and all of the applicants we have assisted have been successful in their application. Additionally, one of our own Consultants has successfully been through the process of transferring to the Bar of England and Wales in recent years.
If you wish to discuss the support and guidance we can provide or if you have any further questions, please contact us to discuss it further at email@example.com or 0121 288 5227.