As of yesterday, foreign lawyers seeking admission to the English and Welsh bar as solicitors via “a shorter alternative route to qualification” must meet the requirements of the new Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme Regulations 2010. One feature of these is the identification of certain jurisdictions as “recognised”; only lawyers from these jurisdictions may take the shorter route to qualification.
Curiously, as of September 1, no Canadian jurisdiction is on the list of recognised jurisdictions, which contains Namibia, Turkey, Israel, and dozens of others. Neither, I should add, is any US state other than California.
According to Legally India, a spokesperson from the governing UK Solicitors Regulation Authority said, “The SRA conducted a survey of international Law Societies and Bars at the end of April . . . ” (Surely the SRA means “foreign,” rather than international.) It would appear, then, that none of the Canadian law societies or the national federation responded to the SRA in time. Their leisurely pace may mean that few if any Canadian lawyers wish to be admitted to practice in England and Wales. Or it may simply reflect the summer lassitude that slows us all down. An admittedly brief attempt to get information about this from the Law Society of Upper Canada failed; no one I was able to speak to knew anything about the survey.