If you are practising in Scotland, you should contact relevant Scottish regulators.
1. Lawyers with English, Welsh or Northern Irish qualifications and professional titles
Lawyers from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland using English, Welsh or Northern Irish qualifications can continue to practise. This applies to those who have been admitted to the UK profession through:
- a transfer test
- the ‘3 years’ experience’ route under the Lawyers Establishment Directive.
If you are practising in England, Wales or Northern Ireland with English, Welsh and Northern Irish qualifications you do not need to take any action.
2. Lawyers with EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein qualifications and professional titles
Lawyers with qualifications and professional titles from the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein need to take one of the following actions to continue to practise in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. The appropriate action will depend on the legal services you practise and business model:
- requalify as an English, Welsh or Northern Irish lawyer with the relevant regulator under routes for foreign lawyers, if you want to provide reserved legal activities in England and Wales or services reserved to solicitors under the Solicitors (Northern Ireland) Order 1976
- register as a Registered Foreign Lawyer in England and Wales with the relevant regulator, if you do not want to provide reserved legal activities, but would like to be involved in the management or ownership of a law firm with English and Welsh qualified solicitors
- work under the supervision of an English or Welsh qualified lawyer
- only undertake unreserved legal activities. You may still need to register with another type of regulator depending upon the activities you choose to undertake, for example the OISC for immigration advice and FCA for claims management activities.
If you do not do this, it may affect whether you are able to practise in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
3. Registered European Lawyers (RELs)
Registered European Lawyer (REL) status in the UK ceased for EU and EEA EFTA lawyers on 31 December 2020.
If you are a lawyer from the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, working in England and Wales, or Northern Ireland, you should contact your regulator with whom you were previously registered as a REL for specific advice.
If you are a lawyer from the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein working in Scotland you should contact the relevant Scottish regulators for specific advice.
Swiss lawyers within scope of the UK-Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement who have registered in the UK as a REL or transferred to a UK professional title do not need to take any action to continue to practise.
Swiss lawyers using a Swiss qualification or title, or those in the process of qualifying as a Swiss lawyer, and who are within scope of the UK-Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement, will need to start their application to register as a REL in the UK or to transfer to a UK profession by 31 December 2024.
Swiss lawyers using a Swiss qualification or title who are not in scope of CRA should contact the relevant regulator.
Read more information on the UK-Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement.
If you are a Swiss lawyer practising in Scotland, you should contact the relevant Scottish regulator for specific advice.
5. Further information
- The European Commission’s Communication on readiness at the end of the transition period between the European Union and the United Kingdom
- The European Commission’s ‘Brexit Readiness Checklist’ for companies doing business with the UK
- The Solicitors Regulation Authority
- The Law Society
- The Bar Standards Board
- The Bar Council
- The Law Society of Northern Ireland
- The Bar Council of Northern Ireland
- The Law Society of Scotland
- The Faculty of Advocates
- The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner
- Financial Conduct Authority