Applications

The operation of the Law Society of Scotland is generally governed by:

  • the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980
  • the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990
  • the Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007
  • the Legal Services Act 2007
  • the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010

Traditional application on paper forms

Application forms may be downloaded from this site or alternatively are available from the Society in paper form on request using the contact details below.
Paper applications should be submitted to the address in the contact details below with the necessary supporting documents outlined in the application form and relevant guidance. Where paying by cheque, a cheque for the appropriate fee specified in the application form (made payable to the Law Society of Scotland) should accompany the application.

Electronic application

Downloaded forms which have been completed electronically should be submitted to the email address in the contact details below with the necessary supporting documents outlined in the application form and relevant guidance as scanned attachments. In particular, please note that a qualified digital signature as described below must be embedded in the application document.
As outlined in the relevant application forms, the Society will require to complete Disclosure Scotland application forms following the procedure below. Unfortunately, there is no facility for electronic submission of such forms at present.

There are requirements for applicants to vouch identity, qualifications, experience or other status as well as traditional signature or qualified digital signature as a matter of public policy and security.

The licences to operate issued under this section carry a significant 'trusted status' with the Scottish and wider public. These rights also confirm privileged access to children and vulnerable adults as well as to the Scottish courts and prisons. In the interests of the protection of the public, it is essential that no licence to operate is issued by default or in the absence of the completion of the necessary process and checks.

Target times for processing applications

The Law Society of Scotland aims to process applications outlined in this section within 90 days of receipt of all relevant documentation, including the application form, supporting documentation, the relevant payment and the Disclosure Scotland report. For the avoidance of doubt, the 90-day period will not commence until the last item has been received.

No 'deemed grant' of applications processed out of time

The licences to operate issued under this section carry a significant 'trusted status' with the Scottish and wider public. These rights also confirm privileged access to children and vulnerable adults as well as to the Scottish courts and prisons. In the interests of the protection of the public, it is essential that no licence to operate is issued by default or in the absence of the completion of the necessary process and checks. Accordingly there shall be no 'deemed grant' in the event that the Society fails to comply with the above specified target timescale for granting or refusing applications.

Signatures

Traditional signature on a paper form - the licences to operate issued under this section carry a significant 'trusted status' with the Scottish and wider public. These rights also confirm privileged access to children and vulnerable adults as well as to the Scottish courts and prisons. In the interests of the protection of the public, it is essential that no licence to operate is issued without the Society being fully satisfied as to the identity of the applicant. A traditional signature on a paper form capable of comparison against a sample signature provided with identity documentation is one of the key identifiers.

Qualified digital signatures on electronic forms - the licences to operate issued under this section carry a significant 'trusted status' with the Scottish public. These rights also confirm privileged access to children and vulnerable adults as well as to the Scottish courts and prisons. In the interests of the protection of the public, it is essential that no licence to operate is issued without the Society being fully satisfied as to the identity of the applicant. A qualified digital signature issued by a recognised and trusted provider and fully compliant with EU directive will be required for all electronic submission of application forms.

Payment of fees

Fees may be paid by:

  • cheque
  • debit/credit card over the telephone
  • debit/credit card through our secure online system - login details giving access to the relevant payment area will be provided with email invoicing for the required payment.

Disclosure Scotland

Where required in terms of the relevant application, a Disclosure Scotland form will have to be completed. As mentioned above, this is not currently technically possible electronically and where necessary you will be advised by email so it might provide the necessary contact details for a paper form to be sent to you for completion. These forms are unique and cannot be faxed or emailed. Only a principal original document produced by Disclosure Scotland is acceptable and the traditional signature will be required on the paper form.

Contact details

Enquiries and electronic applications: Registrar@lawscot.org.uk

Paper applications: The Registrar, The Law Society of Scotland, Atria One, 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh EH3 8EX

Relevant 'licences to operate' issued by The Law Society of Scotland

Entrance

Applicants for an entrance certificate will generally have obtained a law degree including core subjects from one of the approved universities followed by satisfactory completion of an approved one-year Diploma course. Alternatively, they may have completed the Law Society's entrance examinations. Application form - guidance notes

Admission

Applicants for admission as a member of the Society will generally have completed the entrance requirements above and in addition at least one year of training under an approved contract with a firm of Scottish solicitors recognised by the Society. If your training contract has been assigned or you are applying for admission after two years then please contact us for the correct form. Application form - guidance notes - rules - EU rules

Roll of solicitors

Application to be retained on the roll/to be recognised as a non-practising member. Applicants for retention on the roll of Scottish solicitors or those seeking to be recognised as non-practising member will generally have completed the entrance and admission requirements above. See details.

Practising certificate application

Applicants for practising certificates will generally have completed the entrance and admission requirements above. Procedure - guidance notesrequirements

Notary public application

Applicants for notary public status must hold a current practising certificate. The status of notary public is wholly dependent on holding a current practising certificate. Application form and procedure guidance - guidance notes and rules

Registered foreign lawyer application

Applicants for registered foreign lawyer status are required to demonstrate their status in their own jurisdiction and an intention to act as a principal in a Scottish or multi-national firm. More Information

Registered European lawyer application

Applicants for registered European lawyer status are required to demonstrate their status in their own jurisdiction. More Information

Rights of audience (solicitor advocate) application

Applicants for rights of audience in the higher courts require to hold a current practising certificate. Application form - guidance notesrules

Application to be accredited as a specialist

Applicants to be accredited as specialist in the accredited areas of work require to hold a current practising certificate. Application form - guidance notes

Application to be accredited as a mediator

Applicants to be accredited as mediators in the accredited areas of work required to hold a current practising certificate. Application form - guidance notes - statute

Application to be recognised as an incorporated practice

Applicants to be recognised as an incorporated practice require to demonstrate that they have all the necessary practising certificates, insurance and that the firm name is acceptable to the Society. Where appropriate, the memorandum and articles of association require to restrict membership to solicitor members of the Society. More Information

Application to be recognised as a multi-national practice

Applicants to be recognised as a multi-national practice require to demonstrate that the partners hold either full status or registered foreign lawyer status and are in good standing in each of the relevant jurisdictions. There needs to be a clear statement as to the location of the principal office. More Information

Association Of British Investigators

Members' benefit of the month

The Association of British Investigators offers solicitors peace of mind when choosing investigative service suppliers.

Find out more