Starting a traineeship soon

An entrance certificate is an essential document that all trainees must obtain prior to starting their traineeship.

It is only once the entrance certificate is gained that trainees can and must return a training contract signed by themselves and their employer. Further details about the training contract can be found at the bottom of this page.

This page will give you a breakdown of how to apply for an entrance certificate, with FAQs and guidance notes signposted along the way.

UPDATE:  From 2 February 2017 the Society has removed the requirement for references to be obtained for Entrance Certificate applications for those who commenced the Diploma in 2011 or later. The Society will instead rely on the Universities to proactively advise us of any Professional Lapses in the usual way. Please therefore do not complete the reference section of the application form.

What is an entrance certificate?

An entrance certificate is the certificate issued by the Society which certifies that an individual is a fit and proper person to enter into a traineeship. This is just one of the stages that fitness and properness will be assessed during your career as a solicitor. Find out more about what 'fit and proper' means here.


When do I need to apply for an entrance certificate?

Application forms for an entrance certificate must be received by the Society at least 4 weeks before the start of your traineeship. Any applications received late must be accompanied by a covering letter explaining the reasons for the late submission and will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Society's Admissions sub-Committee.

We strongly recommend submitting your application 8 weeks before starting your traineeship, particularly during the peak months of May-August, in order to reduce the impact of delays and issues.


Which forms do I need to submit to apply for an entrance certificate?

There are 2 forms that you must submit to apply for an entrance certificate:

Print Tick Icon   Entrance certificate application form

This form is available to download here. If you need a different format, try our alternative version

You must print out this form and return it by post along with the rest of your application. You may fill out the form digitally, but it must be hand-signed. We strongly suggest that you send it by recorded delivery.

Print Tick Icon   Disclosure Scotland form 

You must have an original copy of the Disclosure Scotland form. We require a 'standard' disclosure check (we will also accept enhanced).

Email us at and we will send you the form by post along with the guidance to complete it fully. Alternatively, you can request one directly from Disclosure Scotland here.


Is there any guidance for completing the forms?

It is essential that you complete the forms in full. Failure to complete the forms correctly can result in delays in your application, which can be frustrating. Therefore we recommend you follow our guidance to ensure you are including everything you need.

Question Mark Icon   Use our FAQs to fill in your entrance certificate application

The same questions frequently come up. Before you ask us in person, check if your question has already been answered.

Question Mark Icon    Guidance for Disclosure Scotland forms

This is sent with the application form by post, or is available to download from the Disclosure Scotland website here.

Question Mark Icon   Ensure you include all the necessary ID

This is a top tip and a frequent cause of application delays. You are required to include 3 forms of ID, of which:

1 must be a copy of your birth certificate (no originals please!)
1 must be a copy of a form of photographic ID (e.g. passport/driving licence)
1 must be a copy of a document matching your current address (this may be a utility bill/bank statement)

You must also include a passport-sized photo of yourself, attached to the front page of your entrance certificate application.


Where do I send my completed forms?

Please send your complete application together by post to:

Education, Training & Qualifications
The Law Society of Scotland
Atria 1
144 Morrison Street

Please do not send any original documents within your application, such as LLB transcripts, birth certificates, passports etc. The Law Society cannot guarantee the safe return of your original documents.


When will I receive my entrance certificate?

We aim to issue you with your entrance certificate about 6 weeks from when you submitted it.


What about my training contract?

When you receive your entrance certificate, you will also receive a style of training contract. We will also send you your login details via email to access the trainee area of our website.

The training contract must be signed by you (the trainee) and a relevant person on behalf of your employer. It must be returned to the Law Society by post to the same address as above. Registration of your training contract must occur within three months of the start date of your training contract and so it is vital that your completed form is received by the Society in sufficient time to allow for this.

For FAQs about completing the training contract, click here.

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