TOLES – The Test of Legal English Skills is a series of practical and industry-led English examinations that assess the English language skills required by the legal profession and sectors related to law. The exams are designed to be vocational exams. The TOLES exams are not formally placed on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages as the legal content of the exam is too high.
- knowledge and use of vocabulary relevant in the global commercial market
- writing formal letters and communicating by email
- the ability to follow a course of legal study where the instruction is in English
- reading and writing complex law documentation
- the language of negotiating
- grammatical accuracy.
The test is offered at three different levels:
- Foundation: level Elementary – Intermediate = A2 – B1 on the CEFR
- Higher: level Intermediate – Upper Intermediate = B1 – B2 on the CEFR
- Advanced: Advanced – Proficient = B2 – C2 on the CEFR
The Advanced is a no-fail exam. Whatever your score, you will get a certificate demonstrating your level. The test does not require you to produce legal documents. Your skills are demonstrated by changing the style or register on a document. This can be helpful for less experienced lawyers. This is an extremely advanced and challenging level requiring certain language proficiency
Comparing the TOLES with ILEC
The TOLES test is broader and gives students an opportunity to achieve a greater level of language proficiency with the advanced exam. The ILEC has one exam and three different grades: C1 with merit, C1 and B2 pass. This exam targets students, trainees and fully qualified lawyers, and does not require previous intensive knowledge of legal English; it focuses on the linguistic skills as well as a certain range of legal topics