Membership types

Once you have qualified as a solicitor, you may go straight into work or you may go on to do other things. Whether or not you decide to take out a practising certificate (PC) is likely to depend on a number of factors. For example, if you plan to work as a solicitor, it is likely that you will require to have a PC.

If, once qualified, you do not immediately go on to employment as a solicitor (regardless of whether or not you have secured another type of employment) you may wish to consider one of four options:

1. Roll retention - £90

Because the Society holds your details already, this enables you to apply for a PC at short notice. This roll retention fee would need to be paid by any solicitor who, part way through a PC year, wanted to obtain a full PC. Therefore, for those not yet in employment as a solicitor but who are seeking a post, this is often the best option. It allows you to react quickly to job offers and obtain a full PC with minimal delay.

2. Non-practising membership (NPM) - £160

Being a NPM entitles you to vote in Society elections/referenda and entitles you to the Society's Journal each month, as well as all other correspondence issued by the Society. However you can not practise as a solicitor if you are a NPM - you would need the full PC.  If you wish to be a NPM but are not in gainful employment, a concessionary half rate applies. To be a NPM, you must also have your name on the roll (see below):

  • full non-practising membership - £240 (full NPM fee + roll retention fee
  • NPM not in gainful employment - £160 (half NPM fee + roll retention fee)

3. Choosing not to be on the roll - no cost

This won't happen automatically. When you come to the end of your traineeship, if we have not heard from you, the Society's registrar's team will contact you to ascertain whether or not you would like to remain on or be removed from the roll of solicitors. The result of being removed from the roll is that it will take a longer time for us to put you back on, as the necessary disclosure checks are made. Additionally, restrictions may be placed on your final PC, such as not being permitted to be a principal in private practice.  However, most of these restrictions are more relevant to those who have been in practice a long time and subsequently come off the roll, as opposed to new lawyers going on to the roll for the first time.

The option of choosing not to be on the roll is more likely to be considered by those who have no (current) intention of practising law in Scotland.

If I do not have or have not held a PC for some time, what are the implications?

Any solicitor not having held a certificate for more than 12 months may have a restriction imposed. This is at the discretion of the Practising Certificate Committee. For additional information on any of the above matters, please contact registrar@lawscot.org.uk.

4. Full practising certificate (costs on the the previous page)

This would put you in the same position as a solicitor in employment. However, as noted above, if you are not in employment as a solicitor, you do not require to have a full PC.

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