Lawyers qualified outside the jurisdiction converting to practise law in England and Wales are to be allowed to take part of the qualifying test outside the UK.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has agreed that candidates for the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme can take the multiple choice test (MCT) online outside the UK. Previously everyone taking that part of the scheme has had to travel to London to do the test.
Since 2010, the SRA has outsourced responsibility for the scheme to Kaplan, an education and media company which is the single authorised provider.
Kaplan will partner with specialist provider Pearson to run the computer-based tests and will increase the price of the test from £500 to £565 to cover the cost.
The online test will be offered in a variety of cities in the UK and several countries overseas and offered only through Pearson test centres to prevent fraud or cheating.
The SRA said the change will help to eliminate discrimination against foreign lawyers by removing geographical barriers to completing the transfer scheme.
It is expected the increased cost will be offset by savings in travel costs of coming to London, with more foreign lawyers likely to attempt the test next year.
Booking for the next MCT will not open before late August 2015 and no further information will be available until then.
Note: This story was amended at 11am on 21 July to add detail.