Advisories Update: Assessment of Future Graduates from England and Wales

The NCA Assessment Policy requires all applicants to have a Qualifying Law Degree (“QLD”). A QLD is a degree that has been completed at an institution or through a law program that is “approved, recognized, accredited or otherwise accepted” by the local legal regulator or its delegate. QLDs are typically designated as LLB, JD, BCL or LLL. The NCA policy also requires applicants to satisfy certain other educational requirements.  For most jurisdictions, the NCA relies on public lists of approved programs or schools when evaluating legal credentials.

The NCA currently relies on the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (the “SRA”) lists of qualifying degree providers when assessing graduates from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.   The SRA is implementing significant changes to legal regulation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  We recommend you refer to the SRA’s Transitional Arrangements to become familiar with the requirements for practice in its jurisdiction.

The NCA will continue to require that, to be eligible to apply to the NCA graduates from England and Wales must complete a law degree (typically an LLB). Law degrees must meet the Quality Assurance Agency (the “QAA”) subject benchmark statement for law and must contain the seven “Foundations of Legal Knowledge subjects developed by the SRA and Bar Standards Board (the “BSB”).

When evaluating graduates from Northern Ireland, the NCA will rely on the lists of approved law schools/courses from the following regulators:

  • the Law Society of Northern Ireland (LSNI)
  • the Honourable Society of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland (Inns)