09 January 2018
In a humiliating climbdown, the Law Society has retracted its exclusive endorsement of a legal training provider after another provider applied for a judicial review.

In October 2016 the Law Society announced that it was entering into a joint venture with BARBRI to provide courses for the Qualifying Lawyer Transfer Scheme. Under the arrangement, US-based BARBRI would have trained foreign-qualified lawyers who wanted to practise in England and Wales. The Law Society, in return for lending its reputation, would have received a cut of the fees.

As RollOnFriday revealed exclusively in November, QLTS School, a London-based company whose sole business is the provision of QLTS training, was so unimpressed that it filed for a judicial review of the deal. It claimed that the Law Society conducted an improper tender process. And now the Law Soc has backed down.

    The Law Society turns over a new leaf for 2018.

Peter Liver, the Law Society’s Executive Director of Membership Services said, “The Law Society continues to review its position in respect of the provision of training generally and in particular towards QLTS and SQE qualification and intends to consult in respect of its role in such training, including with QLTS School".

It is the latest disastrous attempt by the Law Soc to capitalise on legal training. In June it was found guilty of abusing its dominant position in the market, with the Competition Appeals Tribunal calling its case "deeply unimpressive" and "wholly unsatisfactory". Its retreat over QLTS indicates it was not prepared to risk another lashing from the courts. Particularly not after everything else that went wrong in 2017, including sexism allegations, data leaks and salary howlers.

A spokesman for QLTS School said that it would not have been able to offer candidates a "breadth of choice and access" if the Law Society had "not stepped back from exclusive endorsement arrangements”.

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Comments

Anonymous 12 Jan 18

“Lending their reputation” - what reputation? Oh, THAT reputation! I wonder why the society still exists

Anonymous 13 Jan 18

Competition law is very important. People forget this so often. At least they have recognised it here.

For the SQE which I hope they will drop as the current system is much better, the Law Society should allow fair competitoin and at least 5 competing providers to offer the training but then mark it through directly employed PAYE Law Society markers or some other method which means no bias or conflicts of interest and one standard.

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