SQE for Foreign Qualified Lawyers

SQE for Foreign Qualified Lawyers

Table of Contents

The Benefits of Dual Qualification as an English Solicitor

  • Expanding Legal Knowledge and Skills
  • As a legal professional, whether you’re starting out or well-established in your career, becoming a dual-qualified English solicitor can significantly enhance your legal expertise. This dual qualification not only broadens your legal knowledge but also equips you with unique practising skills. As a result, you gain a distinguished professional profile with access to a wider range of career opportunities, both abroad and with foreign firms.

  • Marketability and Competitiveness
  • Many law firms operate on a global scale and handle cross-border legal matters. These firms often seek legal professionals who can navigate multiple legal systems. Being dual-qualified can make a solicitor more marketable to employers, especially in law firms with international practices or clients.

  • Legal Specialisation
  • By becoming well-versed in English law, you could position yourself as an expert in international arbitration and dispute resolution. This can be particularly advantageous in winning business from clients requiring advice on English law. It is estimated that English law comprises 40% of all governing law in global corporate arbitrations. A dual-qualified solicitor is also often more adept at identifying and respecting cultural nuances, which can be an important factor in building trust and understanding in a multi-jurisdictional setting.

    Understanding the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE)

  • Overview of the SQE
  • The SQE is a centralised national assessment for all aspiring solicitors, including foreign qualified lawyers, UK law and non-law graduates, chartered legal executives, paralegals, and apprentices. It has replaced the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) and is the new route for anyone wishing to practise as a solicitor in England and Wales.

  • SQE Assessment Structure
  • The SQE assessments evaluate the full range of skills required to practise English law, encompassing oral, written, and professional abilities.
    These assessments are categorised into two distinct parts. SQE 1 consists of two separate assessments designed to test functioning legal knowledge (FLK), in practical scenarios. The assessment is comprised of computer-based objective testing, featuring a multiple-choice question format. Each question includes a leading stem and five possible answers, with only one being the best response.
    SQE 2 focuses on assessing core legal skills and the candidates’ proficiency in executing practical legal tasks. This is done through a series of assessments across various legal practice areas, where candidates are continually tested on ethical principles.
    To succeed in SQE 2, candidates must complete and pass a series of 16 assessments, referred to as stations, in these varied practice contexts.

  • Progression and Attempts
  • Unless exempt, before attempting SQE 2, you are required to successfully pass both parts of SQE 1, which include FLK 1 and FLK 2. These FLK assessments must be completed within the same assessment window.

    Topics Covered in SQE1 Exams

  • SQE FLK1 Topics
    • Business Law and Practice
    • Dispute Resolution
    • Contract
    • Tort
    • Legal System of England and Wales
    • Constitutional and Administrative Law and EU Law
    • Legal Services

  • SQE FLK2 Topics
    • Property Practice
    • Wills and the Administration of Estates
    • Solicitors Accounts
    • Land Law
    • Trusts
    • Criminal Law and Practice
    • Criminal Litigation

  • Pervasive Topics
  • Ethics and professional conduct are pervasive, being assessed throughout both SQE FLK1 and SQE FLK2.

    You are allowed a maximum of three attempts to pass each of the assessments in SQE 1 and SQE 2, within a six-year timeframe starting from the date of your first SQE 1 assessment.

    All SQE 1 and SQE 2 assessments need to be passed within this six-year period. Importantly, there is no requirement to take an English language test prior to sitting these assessments. Additionally, the assessments are closed book and candidates are prohibited from bringing any materials into the assessment environment.

  • Eligibility for the SQE
  • While there are no formal prerequisites, you must hold a legal professional qualification from an overseas jurisdiction to become eligible for SQE assessment. Foreign lawyers are exempt from the two-year qualifying work experience requirement mandatory for UK candidates.

    Find out more about exemptions and how to apply.

    See the list of exemptions granted so far or being considered.

    Taking the SQE Assessment

  • SQE Examination Process
  • The SQE assessments are offered twice a year in the UK by Kaplan, the sole assessment provider appointed by the SRA. SQE1 FLK assessments are also available at international centres. Kaplan does not offer preparation courses for the SQE, underscoring the importance of finding a course provider that aligns with your needs for effective preparation.

    Admission to the Role of Solicitors

    Unless exempt, before attempting SQE 2, you are required to successfully pass both parts of SQE 1, which include FLK 1 and FLK 2. These FLK assessments must be completed within the same assessment window.

    Brigittes FLK: Your Partner in SQE Preparation

  • SQE Revision
  • Brigittes FLK is an online platform dedicated to helping you pass the SQE exams. Since 2017, we’ve been widening access to solicitor qualifications through our community of lawyers, law tutors, and students. Our platform continuously updates its SQE notes, SQE practice questions, and tutorials, offering comprehensive revision support for your SQE preparation.

  • Flexible and Accessible Learning
  • Our supplementary SQE revision materials allow you to help revise for the SQE1 exam at your convenience, from anywhere in the world, without the need for expensive classroom lessons or travel to study venues.

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