Irish exemption to end as transfer scheme dispute continues without resolution

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By Legal Futures

31 August 2010

Ireland: solicitors need to prove prior learning and experience

There is no sign of a resolution to the Law Society of Ireland’s judicial review of the new Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), meaning that from tomorrow Irish solicitors will no longer benefit from the automatic exemption that they do now.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has told Legal Futures that the judicial review against it and the Legal Services Board (see story) has been stayed until 30 September, and that in the meantime Irish solicitors will have to comply with the new rules like everyone else.

The QLTS starts tomorrow, replacing the 21-year-old Qualified Lawyer Transfer Test. The way the QLTS is structured means that Irish solicitors will still receive an exemption if they can show that, through prior learning and experience, they satisfy the ‘day one’ outcomes which are the standard for solicitors qualifying through the domestic route. But it is not automatic, as before.

The SRA statement said: “The Irish law Society has issued an application for judicial review and interim relief to prevent the implementation of the QLTS regulation coming into force on 1 September 2010. The new scheme will allow the SRA to assess Irish solicitors seeking to qualify as solicitors in England and Wales if it deems it necessary. The proceedings have been stayed until 30 September.

“The QLTS will ensure that all solicitors in England and Wales, whatever route they take to qualification, are subject to the same standards, so that the public can have confidence in the quality of advice provided by all members of the profession.”

Around a quarter of new entrants to the profession every year are transferees from other jurisdictions.

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