•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences

Monopoly quadruples UK’s foreign lawyer qualification fees, discontinues India test centre

London lawyers
London lawyers
Indian lawyers wanting to qualify in England and Wales will now have to pay £3,430 (Rs 2.4 lakh) plus pay for travel to and accommodation in the UK for the first time, following Kaplan law school’s position as the sole provider of the new Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), which is at least a four-fold increase on the fees under the old scheme.

Indian and other foreign lawyers will have to pay the exclusive QLST provider £3,230, breaking down to £2,100, £825 and £305 respectively for an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), a technical legal skills test (TLST) and a multiple choice test (MCT). Under the previous scheme those costs were as low as £770.

In addition Kaplan will not operate facilities in India to conduct the test which means that Indian lawyers will have to travel to the UK and find accommodation there. Under the previous scheme, it was possible to take the test three times per year in New Delhi and Mumbai.

The exam had “basically been privatised by the SRA to an American outfit called Kaplan who now have a monopoly”, a person familiar with Kaplan’s appointment and the QLST told Legally India.

Another authoritative source said that at the original consultation in November 2008 it had been envisaged that there would be only one provider of QLTS assessments for the first three years. After that time it would be reassessed whether the market should be opened to other providers.

Candidates from outside of the European Economic Area and Switzerland will have to also pay a £200 application fee to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which is half the amount of £400 under the the QLTS precursor, the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT).

But the total fees for the now deprecated QLTT in January 2010, which were offered by five different private providers including Kaplan, were significantly lower. The Oxford Institute of Legal Practice charged the lowest amount at £770, while BPP law school fees were the highest at £1443. Kaplan charged the second-highest amount of £1070 for the QLTT.

The new scheme tests all international applicants on most of the areas of law as domestic candidates are tested on and the experience requirement has been removed, which was why it was always going to be more expensive than the previous test, said the second source.

In the past most UK law firms are understood to have paid for Indian lawyers employed by them to take the QLTT test.

Kaplan did not reply to emails seeking comment and the SRA was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

India is still not included in the list of jurisdictions permitted to take the QLST exam, due to an apparent clerical oversight. Jurisdictions such as New York state, Montana, South Africa, Cameroon and the Isle of Man were recently added to the list.

Update 30 September: Kaplan has sent a statement, which includes the following: "It is inevitable that such an extensive range of assessments, necessary to produce valid and reliable results that adequately protect the consumer and the standards of the profession, is more expensive than its predecessor."

Photo by David Sifry

Click to show 10 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comment.