Foreign qualified Costs Lawyers
The UK is no longer a member of the European Union. This means that if you are a costs practitioner who is qualified in the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you will need to take steps to ensure you can practise in England and Wales following the transition period that ends on 31 December 2020.
If you have a qualification to practice costs law from a country not listed above please contact us to discuss how we would assess the equivalence of your qualifications.
Costs practitioners from the EU, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland
You will need to take one of the following actions, depending on the legal services you provide and your business model:
- requalify as a Costs Lawyer with the CLSB, if you want to provide reserved legal activities in England or Wales
- register as a Registered Foreign Lawyer with a different legal services regulator (such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority), if you do not want to provide reserved legal activities, but want to be involved in the management or ownership of a law firm with English or Welsh lawyers
- work under the supervision of an English or Welsh lawyer
- only undertake unreserved legal activities
Swiss Costs Lawyers benefit from a longer transition period, until 31 December 2024, under the UK-Swiss Citizens Rights Agreement.
For the most up-to-date information about how EU lawyers can practise in the UK from 2021 onward, you can use the resources on the Ministry of Justice website. If you would like to discuss your options for practising in England and Wales, please contact us and we can assist you.
Recognition of professional qualifications – old system
The old system applies to nationals of the EU, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. It also applies to Swiss nationals until the end of the extended transition period on 31 December 2024.
Under this system, a European qualified Costs Lawyer (costs law practitioner) has the right to apply to the CLSB to provide costs law services in England and Wales either on a temporary or occasional basis, or on a permanent basis, whether employed or self-employed.
To apply for recognition under these rules, use the resources below.
Recognition of professional qualifications – new system
The new system applies from 1 January 2021 onward for people with professional qualifications obtained in the EU, Norway, Iceland, or Lichtenstein. It will also apply from 1 January 2025 onward for people with professional qualifications obtained in Switzerland.
If this system applies to you, and you would like to seek authorisation to practise as a Costs Lawyer in England and Wales through recognition of your European professional qualification, please use the resources below.
- Recognition of European Professional Qualifications Rules
- Application to access the Costs Lawyer profession in England and Wales through recognition of a professional qualification
Please note that the new system is temporary. In April 2022 Professional Qualifications Act 2022 received royal assent, which gives effect to the government’s policy statement on the recognition of professional qualifications. We will keep this page updated as we implement changes required by the new Act.
The names of any Swiss lawyers providing costs law services in England and Wales under the old system will appear here (when applicable) until 31 December 2024.
The names of any European lawyers who successfully apply to practise as a Costs Lawyer in England and Wales under the new system will appear here (when applicable) and will be included in the Register of Costs Lawyers for as long as they hold a valid practising certificate.
Further information and frequently asked questions
What are the qualifications and experience an individual must obtain to become entitled to practise as a Costs Lawyer in England and Wales?
An individual must successfully complete the Costs Lawyer Qualification, and have completed a period of supervised practice.
Is there an application process for an individual without the qualification and experience above but who has overseas qualifications or overseas experience to practise as a Costs Lawyer in England and Wales?
Yes. The process depends on the nature of your qualifications and experience, including the country in which they were obtained.
Further information is available higher up this webpage.
Is there an application process to which section 26 of the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 applies for an individual without the qualification and experience above but who has UK qualifications or UK experience to practise as a Costs Lawyer in England and Wales?
Can I get information about the number, nature and outcomes of applications from individuals without the qualification and experience above but with overseas qualifications or overseas experience to practise as a Costs Lawyer in England and Wales?
The names of any lawyers who successfully apply to practise as a Costs Lawyer in England and Wales under the current system of recognition will be available on this webpage and will be included in the Register of Costs Lawyers for as long as they hold a valid practising certificate.
To date, there has been one application for recognition, made by a practitioner who was authorised to practice in Ireland. The application was made under a previous (pre-Brexit) system of recognition. The application was successful.
Is there any requirement for an individual to be registered, licensed or similarly authorised in order to become entitled to practise as a Costs Lawyer?
Only Costs Lawyers authorised and regulated by the Costs Lawyers Standard Board can provide reserved legal activities (unless they benefit from one of the limited exemptions that are set out in legislation). Costs Lawyers are qualified professionals that must meet certain professional standards. A person does not need to be qualified and regulated before they can advise consumers about matters relating to legal costs. Unregulated costs advisers are sometimes called costs draftsmen, or similar terms.
Are there any other requirements that must be met by an individual to become entitled to practise as a Costs Lawyer?
To be an authorised and regulated Costs Lawyer, an individual must:
- Comply with the CLSB’s regulatory rules, found in the Costs Lawyer Handbook
- Hold a current practising certificate
- Follow a professional and ethical Code of Conduct
- Undertake continuing professional development activities every year, to ensure their expertise remains relevant and current
- Maintain a minimum level of insurance cover, and have a procedure in place to deal with any complaints
Is there any requirement as to training, learning or otherwise that must be met by an individual to continue to be entitled to practise as a Costs Lawyer?
Each year every Costs Lawyer must:
- Identify their training needs and set CPD objectives that are aligned to their individual role and responsibilities and to the professional standards in the CLSB Code of Conduct
- Undertake relevant CPD activity, achieving a minimum of 12 CPD points each practising year (January to December)
- Evaluate the effectiveness of their CPD against their objectives
- Record their CPD (including their objectives and evaluation) and report it to CLSB upon request
There are no prescribed institutions from which training or learning must be obtained. The CPD Rules are designed to provide flexibility and choice for Costs Lawyers to choose and undertake the right training for their development needs.
The CPD Rules and CPD Guidance on our CPD webpage contain information about the eligibility of activities for CPD.
What fees are payable to the regulator by individuals seeking to become or to continue to be entitled to practise as a Costs Lawyer?
Costs Lawyers need a CLSB practising certificate to provide services as a regulated and authorised Costs Lawyer. Practising certificates are valid until 31 December of the year in which they start.
The fee for a practising certificate will vary from year to year, depending on three main factors:
- the level of funding needed by the CLSB to meet its statutory obligations and ensure proper regulation and oversight of the profession;
- the number of Costs Lawyers amongst whom the cost of regulation can be spread; and
- levies imposed on regulated practitioners by the Legal Services Board and the Legal Ombudsman, which are collected as part of the practising fee.
Further information about practising certificate fees and the cost of regulation is available.
When Costs Lawyers apply for a practising certificate they must provide:
- Their organisation and contact details
- Details of the CPD they completed during the last practising year
- Evidence of their professional indemnity insurance and complaints handling procedure (unless they work exclusively for a firm regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority or in-house)
- Information about their practice during the current practising year
- Disclosures of any events that could affect their fitness to practice
Additional information may be required from time to time, such as in the event of a supervisory audit or a complaint.
Further information about applying for a practising certificate and supervision is available.
Further information about the Costs Lawyer profession can be found on our website by following the links on the Resources for the Public page.