The Law Society of England and Wales has responded to a recent SRA consultation on what happens to EU-qualified lawyers if there was a ‘no deal Brexit’. The LSEW raised a few concerns, but supported amendments to the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme so that exemptions continue if such lawyers have the right experience/qualifications, e.g. as many Irish solicitors have.
At present other EU lawyers can requalify as solicitors of England and Wales through the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), with the SRA gives exemptions to EU lawyers in appropriate cases.
In the event of a “no deal Brexit” this regime will need to change in order to comply with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, such as the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) principle which doesn’t allow for preferential treatment of one or more WTO members over others. The LSEW responded to a recent SRA consultation on this issue, agreeing with their to amend the QLTS regulations so as to entitle all non-UK qualified lawyers who are seeking admission as a solicitor to exemptions from the QLTS, where they can demonstrate equivalent qualifications or experience. For example, the Land Law exam run by the Law Society of Ireland. The LSEW also raised a few issues where we would like further thought from the SRA.