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SRA consultation on no-deal Brexit implications for non-UK qualified solicitors


A four-week SRA consultation on foreign solicitor qualification criteria in the event of a no-deal Brexit is due to end on 10 January 2019.


The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will submit the final proposals for approval to the Legal Services Board.


The public consultation was announced on 7 December 2018 – and will consider potential changes to rules regarding how non-UK solicitors would qualify in England and Wales in the event of there being a no-deal Brexit.


Current legislation allows EU lawyers to apply for exemptions from the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), which all non-UK qualified lawyers must sit to qualify in England and Wales.


The SRA says, however, that a recently published Government technical note made it clear that, under World Trade Organization rules, it would not be possible to offer any preferential treatment to EU lawyers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.


“Our 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,” said the SRA.


“Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, arrangements for solicitors from Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue unchanged – the proposals are only relevant in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”

SRA Chief Executive, Paul Philip, added:


“Whatever the outcome of the negotiations, it is important that we are prepared to make sure the transition to any new arrangements takes place seamlessly, with as little disruption as possible to the profession or public.


“Addressing how non-UK solicitors will qualify in England and Wales in the event of a no-deal Brexit is part of that.”


The consultation document is available online at the SRA website and comments on the consultation can also be submitted online.


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