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Changes to the principles for qualified lawyers – Law Society response

The proposals

On 25 March 2020, the SRA launched a consultation on changes to the principles for qualified lawyers.

Views were sought on the SRA’s proposals to:

  • remove the requirement for qualified lawyers seeking an exemption from the SQE to be from a recognised jurisdiction
  • amend the principles to add a Welsh language test requirement so qualified lawyers have the option to demonstrate their language competence in either English or Welsh
  • amend the principles to extend to qualified lawyers exempt from parts of SQE2
  • introduce a new approach to demonstrating English or Welsh language competence

Our view

It is vital that people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to enter the profession.

The SRA must ensure that any new system provides the same cost effectiveness when assessing each lawyer individually.

It will be necessary to make clear that any changes are intended to maintain England and Wales as an open jurisdiction to foreign lawyers.

The addition of a Welsh language test requirement is a positive change which highlights the importance of the Welsh language within the jurisdiction.

The SRA has a duty to ensure that those qualifying within the jurisdiction have the necessary skills to work as a solicitor.

What this means for solicitors

The proposals would affect lawyers seeking admission in England and Wales if they:

  • qualified in a jurisdiction outside England and Wales
  • are regulated by another approved legal services regulator in England and Wales

Next steps

The consultation closed on 6 May 2020. The SRA is now considering responses. 

View the consultation on the SRA website