Paralegal FAQs

What is a registered paralegal?

Registered paralegals will meet a new standard for paralegals. The standards have been consulted on and have been finalised by the Law Society of Scotland in association with its partner, the Scottish Paralegal Association (SPA). Registered paralegals will:

  • work in support of a practising Scottish solicitor in delivering legal advice to clients
  • work according to general competencies which apply to all registered paralegals irrespective of practice area, and competencies specific to their own area of practice
  • adhere to a code of conduct aligned with Scottish solicitors' code of conduct

There have been two major consultations on the development of the Society's Registered Paralegal Scheme since 2008. Further background is contained in those consultations. Please ensure you familiarise yourself with those documents, and the content of these pages, if you are a paralegal, solicitor working with a paralegal, or a business employing a paralegal.

The Society is committed to this scheme, which seeks to define and credit the role of the paralegal in Scotland  -  for paralegals, for solicitors, and crucially for the public, who need to have faith in the knowledge and skills of the people dealing with their legal transactions.

The SPA, the Society's partner in this scheme, has firmly believed for many years that not only should the role of paralegal be promoted and that paralegals should gain the recognition they deserve, but that standards are an absolute necessity to the integrity of and respect for paralegals as an emerging profession.

Where can I undertake paralegal training?

The following qualifiations are 'formally recognised and assessed qualifications' for the purposes of the scheme:

  • BA (Law) at certain universities
  • Glasgow Caledonian University/Rewards paralegal qualifications (no longer available, but qualifications held are recognised for entry)
  • HNC/HND in legal studies at certain colleges
  • LLB at certain universities
  • LLB + Diploma in Legal Practice at certain universities
  • Professional Development Award (PDA) in paralegal studies at certain colleges
  • Stirling University/Scotia Law Training paralegal qualifications (available from autumn 2010)
  • Strathclyde University/Central Law Training paralegal qualifications

I want to become a registered paralegal - when can I apply?

This will depend on your circumstances. If you are considering making an application to the scheme, you are encouraged to liaise closely with:

  • your paralegal association, if you are a member of such an association
  • your supervising solicitor
  • your human resources department or other representative of your employer

The scheme will cost £110 per annum to join.

Can you tell me more about the full route?

It is a pre-requisite for the scheme from the start of the full route that those commencing training as a trainee registered paralegal hold a relevant qualification. 
The full route will become the sole route into the scheme, and will open after transition - stage 1 and transition - stage 2 have closed:
  • those entering via the full route will be required to hold a 'formally recognised and assessed qualification'
  • those holding such a qualification would enter the scheme as a trainee registered paralegal
  • during a one-year training period, the paralegal and solicitor will work together so that by the end of the training period, both general competences and competencies specific to the legal area in which the paralegal is working, are achieved.
  • the trainee registered paralegal will qualify as a registered paralegal as a result

As with any scheme, it will be possible for a potential applicant to apply for a waiver from the full route requirements for entry.

Can you tell me more about the online account, login details and CPD?

Once you have joined the Registered Paralegal Scheme, you will be allocated an online account, where you will be able to view your personal details, submit your CPD and upload trainee quarterly reviews if you are a Trainee Regsitered Paralegal. When you first register, a member of the Registrar's team will email you with your username and password. Please keep this email safe.

When you log in to your account, you can submit any CPD you have had throughout your subscription year. Please note, you are required to submit ten hours' CPD during your subscription year only, no retrospective CPD will count towards your ten-hour requirement.

If you forget your password, you can request a reminder by entering your username. A reminder will be sent to you.