Entrance certificate and training contract FAQs
An entrance certificate is issued by the Society to certify that an individual is a fit and proper person to enter into a traineeship. A copy of the entrance certificate application form and current fit and proper guidance notes are available. Your application form for an entrance certificate must be submitted to the Society at least four weeks before the start date of your traineeship.
We suggest that you consider submitting the form and documents by recorded delivery or Legal Post.
Together with the entrance certificate, the Society will send to you a standard training contract. This must be completed by the trainee and the firm and forwarded to the Society for registration within three months of the start of the training contract.
If you have any queries in relation to your entrance certificate or training contract, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0131 226 7411, option 3.
You should have your entrance certificate in hand prior to the commencement of your traineeship, however if you do not have it and have applied for it in good time, you can commence work with your traineeship provider but must not design yourself as a trainee solicitor until the certificate has been issued. Please ensure that the Education, Training and Qualifications Department receives your application at least four weeks prior to you starting your training. The department team must receive all the required documentation (including references and Disclosure Scotland certificate) and notification from your university that you have passed the Diploma prior to issuing the certificate. If you have any queries, please contact email@example.com or telephone 0131 226 7411 Option 3.
Any entrance certificate application received less than four weeks before you start your traineeship is deemed late and your entrance certificate may not be backdated. If you are late in applying, you must send in a letter with your application explaining why it is late so that a decision about backdating can be made. We will not make this decision until we have received all the required documentation, which includes your two references and the Disclosure Scotland certificate.
- Address history incomplete on the Disclosure Scotland form
Our number 1 error! Your must provide a full 5 year address history on your form and it must appear in reverse chronological order with absolutely no gaps.
For example, if in the last 5 years, you lived at your home address then moved to an alternative address for a year, then have returned to live at your home address where you now currently reside, the form should read as follows:
Current address <home address> Resident from <date you most recently moved back in>
Previous address <address where you lived for a year> Resident from <date you moved in>
Previous address <home address> Resident from <the date you moved in on this occasion>
- Late applications
Entrance certificate applications should be received by the Society at least 4 weeks prior to the start date of your training contract. We recommend submitting your application 8 weeks before.
- Missing documents
There are 3 forms of ID required in the application, including a copy of your birth certificate, a copy of a form of photographic ID and proof of current address. We also require a copy of your Diploma in Professional Legal Practice certificate and a copy of your LLB transcript.
- Missing details for people who have answered 'yes' to a question in the Material Events section
Please provide as much information as you can, in a professional format.
- Referees not chosen correctly
The academic reference should be the Head of your Diploma course, or another academic who has worked closely with you (personal tutor). The non-academic referee may not be a family member, fellow students of members of your future employing firm/organisation.
- No wet signature
The application must be hand-signed. Scanned versions will not be accepted.
- No payment enclosed for the Disclosure Scotland application
You should enclose a cheque for £25.00 made payable to the Law Society of Scotland. If you do not need to submit a Disclosure Scotland application as you already hold a valid certificate, you do not need to enclose a cheque.
- Incomplete information on the Disclosure Scotland form
Use the guidance and make sure you complete every box. Common missing information is:
- Mother's maiden name
- National Insurance number
- Full passport number (if applicable)
- Driving licence number (if applicable)
- No signature/ signature date
- Don’t use tippex anywhere on the document
- Ensure that all of the details are correct (see your Entrance Certificate for most of the information you need)
- Send us the original document (make sure you keep a copy)
- Send payment – either a cheque or let us know you would like to pay by card and we will phone you to collect it
- Section 6(1)-(2) of the Requirements of Writing (Scotland) Act 1995 sets out that it is not competent to register a document for execution or preservation in the Books of Council and Session unless it can be presumed to have been signed by the granter in terms of section 3 or 4 of that Act. You should make sure that your contract meets this standard; if it does not, the application for registration in the Books of Council and Session will be rejected by the keeper.
The academic referee should be the head of your Diploma course. The other reference is a non-academic reference. Referees must not be near relatives, fellow students or members of your future employer's firm or organisation. Referees must be known to you for at least three years and will be asked by the Society to provide a character reference.
Your traineeship can start from the date that the university awards your PEAT 1 Diploma. Your University will inform us of this, and if you wish to commence training on this date please put “diploma effective date” on your entrance certificate application form.
An assignation means to move your traineeship from one firm to another, whereas during a secondment your employer retains responsibility for your training but seconds you to another office for part of your training.
Assignations are possible during the traineeship, but you cannot do so in the last 3 months of your traineeship. If you wish to change firms in the last 3 months of your training, you might want to consider a secondment. You must give the Education, Training and Qualifications Department at least ten working days notice when requesting an assignation or secondment. All parties to the contract must email or write to us to confirm their consent to the proposed assignation or secondment.