How are You Assessed?
The QLTS assessments are a compressed version of the assessments which test the outcomes against which UK candidates are assessed during the domestic qualification route. The assessments are administered by a sole provider, Kaplan QLTS, which has been appointed by the SRA following a tender. The assessment provider is not allowed to offer training courses for the QLTS.
The Assessments are in Two Parts:
- Part I - Multiple Choice Test (MCT) - this tests knowledge and understanding of professional conduct, solicitors' accounts, financial regulation, taxation, property law, business law, tort, contract, constitutional law, the English legal system, equity and trusts, human rights and EU law. The MCT consists of 180 multiple choice questions. The exam is divided into morning and afternoon periods of two hours and 45 minutes each, with 90 questions in each period. The pass mark is determined by the SRA after each assessment based on various criteria and is not set in advance. The MCT is delivered online and offered in a number of locations around the world (such as London, New York, Singapore, Johannesburg, Dubai, India and other cities in the UK and Europe).
- Part II - Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) - the OSCE is divided into two parts. Part I tests interviewing and advocacy/oral presentations skills, whilst Part II tests your online legal research, legal drafting and writing skills. The OSCE tests these skills in the context of three legal practice areas: Business Law, Litigation (Criminal and Civil) and Property Law (Conveyancing, Wills and Probate). The OSCE is offered across several days. Note that the online legal research, legal drafting and writing skills have previously been tested through the Technical Legal Skills Test (TLST), an examination which was part of the QLTS until the end of 2013. However, since January 2014, those three skills are examined in the OSCE assessment.
In the MCT assessment, applicants should also be able to demonstrate that they can apply their knowledge of English law in the context of scenarios of the type a solicitor might typically encounter in practice. The second part of the QLTS is practical, involving, for example, simulations of solicitor/client interactions, file reviews and court-based scenarios.
- You must first pass the MCT before you can attempt the OSCE
- There is no restriction on the number of attempts you may take at each of the two elements of the QLTS, nor a maximum period within which you must complete the entire suite of the assessments
- There is no experience requirement or training to complete, nor is there an English language test to take as a pre-requisite to sit the assessments
- Applicants are not allowed to take into the examination centre any material.
Can I Get Any Exemptions?
Lawyers qualified in the European Economic Area, intra-UK or Switzerland may request that the SRA assess their professional background and qualifications, before they take the assessments, which may result in an exemption being granted by the SRA from some or all of the elements of the QLTS.
Candidates who have passed the LPC can get an exemption from the MCT assessment.
All other international lawyers taking the QLTS need to pass the two elements of the assessment and cannot apply for any exemptions.
Level of English Expected of QLTS Candidates
The MCT and OSCE assessments are undertaken in English. Applicants need to demonstrate that they are able to use English with a level of proficiency sufficient to take accurate instructions from, and give clear and accurate advice to clients, to understand and draft legal documents in English and to exercise rights of audience.
The standard of English language skills is, therefore, assessed in the QLTS assessments themselves, and not through a separate English language test. The SRA has recently removed the requirement applied to international candidates to undertake a separate English language test. In so doing, a significant barrier to enter the QLTS assessments has been lifted, making the programme now accessible to a wider range of lawyers from many countries.
Are You Eligible to Apply to Take the QLTS Assessments?
Until March 18, 2015, candidates seeking to take the QLTS assessments were required to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the SRA prior to taking the assessments. The SRA has recently removed this requirement as well which means you do not need to take any formal steps before taking the assessments.