What is TOLES?
TOLES means ‘Test of Legal English Skills’. The TOLES programme consists of a structured course of legal English training materials supported by three levels of professional exams. The exam levels are progressive steps towards reaching the standard of legal English required by employers such as international commercial law firms, in-house legal teams in private companies and top-class translators. TOLES legal English training materials and exams have been developed following the advice of experienced commercial lawyers. The top requirements of employers are excellent drafting skills, first-class negotiating skills and a strong sense of commercial awareness.
Who is the TOLES exam for and why should I take it?
TOLES is intended to assist working lawyers, Law students, and legal translators whose first language is not English. TOLES exams were developed in 2000 as a direct solution to the problem of law graduates lacking the level of English required to carry out essential legal tasks. TOLES gives working lawyers the skills, accuracy and confidence they need when using English at work.
What is the format of the exam?
TOLES Level 1 legal English exam
Foundation: Suitable for beginner level. Focus on basic grammar and vocabulary. Encourages commercial awareness.
Time allowed: 90 minutes
Skills tested: Legal reading and writing (90 minutes)
Focus: Practical legal vocabulary in authentic situations; consolidation of basic grammar
Appropriate level of general English: Elementary-Advanced
TOLES Level 2 legal English exam
Higher: Suitable for intermediate level. Focus on intermediate grammar and vocabulary. A realistic introduction to work.
Time allowed: 135 minutes approximately (depending on variations in the listening test)
Skills tested: Legal reading and writing (90 minutes); legal listening (30-45 minutes)
Focus: Practical reading, writing and listening skills in authentic legal situations
Appropriate level of general English: Intermediate-Advanced
TOLES Level 3 legal English exam
Advanced: Suitable for advanced level. Focus on near-native level grammar and vocabulary. The gold standard exam for commercial lawyers.
Time allowed: 120 minutes
Skills tested: Legal reading, writing and drafting, knowledge of register and business idiom
Focus: Practical reading, writing and drafting skills in authentic legal situations
Appropriate level of general English: Upper Intermediate – Advanced
There is no speaking element in the final exams.
Foundation: The maximum score possible at Foundation level is 100
Higher: The maximum score possible at Higher level is 100
Advanced: The maximum score possible at Advanced level is 500
These scores cannot be compared with other English language exams using the Common European Framework results.
Your TOLES certificate is valid for life.