The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has launched a public consultation on potential changes to rules regarding how non-UK solicitors will qualify in England and Wales in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Under current legislation, EU lawyers are able to apply for exemptions from the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), which all foreign-qualified lawyers must sit to qualify in England and Wales. However, a recently-published Government technical note made it clear that under World Trade Organisation rules it would not be possible to offer such preferential treatment to EU lawyers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The consultation seeks views on addressing this issue by offering the right to apply for QLTS exemptions to all foreign-qualified lawyers, regardless of the country they come from. As under current rules, whether exemptions are granted depends upon a case-by-case review of that lawyer’s qualifications and experience.
The SRA have stated that, whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, arrangements for solicitors from Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue unchanged and that the proposals are only relevant in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Final proposals will be submitted for approval to the Legal Services Board.
The consultation, which runs until 10 January 2019, can be found on the SRA website at https://bit.ly/2EuEH6q