Practising as a solicitor

The information below details the cost of having a full practising certificate (PC), as well as any associated costs of full membership. For information on the type of membership that you might want to have and whether or not you will need a full PC, see Membership types.

What does a practising certificate cost?

A PC year runs from 1 November to 31 October, in any given year. The basic fees for all solicitors are:

  • full practising certificate - £550
  • roll retention fee - £100

A PC can be renewed at any time throughout the year. If you renew part way through a year, the fee is pro-rated. In many instances, the firm/organisation you are working for or are going to be working for will pay your fee.

Discount for newly admitted solicitors

Someone who is admitted to the roll of solicitors for the first time only pays a half rate for the PC fee (currently £275), for the first three years. This applies to practice years and not calendar years. This counter begins to run, regardless of whether or not you take out a PC, from the start of the practice year in which you were admitted to the roll. For example, if you were admitted in June 2017, your first practice year would be 2016/17 and hence you would be eligible for the discount as well in practice years 2017/18 and 2018/19. Thereafter you would pay the full rate.

In addition to the half rate PC fee, new solicitors will also have to pay the full roll retention fee of £100 from the practice year after the one in which they were admitted. Using the example above, you would be liable to pay the retention fee from practice year 2017/18.

The Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC) levy

The SLCC levy is a fee imposed on all solicitors who hold a PC, payable in June each year. The onus is on each individual solicitor to pay this levy, although many firms/oranisations do tend to pay for their employees. The levy is collected by, and therefore payable to, the Law Society of Scotland on behalf of the SLCC. The levy for 2013/14 has been set at:

  • solicitors in private practice - £356
  • solicitors not in private practice (including unemployed) - £107
  • solicitors practising outwith Scotland - £116
  • solicitors in their first three years (half price) - £178

If you have any queries on any of the above matters, please contact a member of the Registrar's Department - or 0131 476 8367.