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Can Indian Lawyers practice in UK?

I qualified as a lawyer in India. Will my qualification be valid to practice in the UK?
What is the eligibility to appear for the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test(QLTT) in India?
What is the difference between a barrister and a solicitor?
What are the CPD?
Who regulates Solicitors in UK?


1. I qualified as a lawyer in India. Will my qualification be valid to practice in the UK?

Solicitors and barristers from England and Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland can practise in the UK without retraining. (The Law Society of Scotland has transfer tests for solicitors from England, Wales, Northern Ireland and other parts of the European Union who wish to requalify as Scottish solicitors).

Lawyers from India can enrol as a solicitor after they pass the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT) . Qualified Indian lawyers generally have to clear just one head of the test, namely Professional Conduct and Accounts. It is a three-hour written examination, for which, lawyers must apply for a “certificate of eligibility” from the Law Society of England and Wales. A two-year practice is also required before an Indian lawyer can qualify as a solicitor. However, this requirement can be satisfied by a suitable period of practice in India, so there is no need for an Indian lawyer to take time out of his own practice to come to England. The Law Society determines on a case-by-case basis whether the practical experience obtained by a lawyer in India is sufficient to satisfy this practice condition. The Law Society for England and Wales has information on qualifying from overseas on their website (see the qualifying as a solicitor section).

2. What is the eligibility to appear for the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test(QLTT) in India?

Indian lawyers will soon be able to qualify as Solicitors of the Supreme Court of England and Wales without having to travel to England to do so. It is expected that New Delhi or Mumbai would be the fourth city in the world to have its own QLTT Centre. The College of Law has been licensed by the Law Society to open two test centres for the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT) in India. The QLTT is the conversion examination, which enables overseas lawyers to qualify as solicitors. Indian lawyers have been eligible to clear the test in London for several years but now the QLTT will be held in India itself, providing a much cheaper and more convenient route to dual qualification. The College of Law will run the test in both Delhi and Mumbai in April and October 2006 and will provide preparatory tuition for candidates.

3. What is the difference between a barrister and a solicitor?

The legal profession in Britain is divided into two branches: barristers (called ‘advocates’ in Scotland) and solicitors.

Solicitors undertake legal business for individual and corporate clients, while barristers advise on legal problems submitted through solicitors and present cases in higher courts. Certain functions are common to both – for example, the presentation of cases in lower courts. Barristers must pass professional examinations before being called to the Bar (Barristers are known collectively as the Bar), and they must then serve an apprenticeship with a qualified barrister for one year.

Solicitors must also pass professional examinations and serve a two-year period of apprenticeship, called ‘articles’, in a solicitor’s office. Once qualified in this way, a newly admitted solicitor is supervised for three years.

4. What are the CPD?

The Law Society now requires that every solicitor should be constantly updating their skills and knowledge, and that formally assessed training should not end with the training contract. Indeed, from 1998 all solicitors will have to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD). The requirement is 16 hours a year for the first three years after qualification and a total of 48 hours for each subsequent three-year period.

This CPD requirement can be met using a variety of methods including correspondence courses, courses based on television or video programmes and assessments based on editorial from journals. Many seminars and conferences are also accredited for CPD.

5. Who regulates Solicitors in UK?

Solicitors are in a position of trust. They provide advice on matters that are enormously important to their clients, so it is essential that their advice is expert, independent, efficient and courteous. It is for this reason that the Law Society has been entrusted with powers to regulate the profession. The Law Society regulates and represents the solicitors’ profession in England and Wales and has a public interest role in working for reform of the law.

The Law Society regulates Solicitors by setting the standards for qualifying as a solicitor, setting the rules of professional conduct , providing guidance on professional conduct, setting the requirements for continuing professional development, monitoring solicitors to make sure they comply with the rules, dealing with complaints about solicitors and help to resolve them and ‘investigate and, if necessary, discipline solicitors who don’t meet the standards.

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