What are your options if you're going on maternity leave or taking a career break?

If you are going be away for less than 13 months...

...and are reasonably sure that you will be returning to your previous role, then we recommend that you keep hold of your practising certificate. You will still need to meet your CPD requirement and pay the necessary fees, but it does mean that you can return to practice without having to reapply.

If you are going to be away for more than 13 months...

... you might consider giving up your practising certificate. If you do give it up we recommend that you take up a non-practising member or roll-only membership option as it helps keep you in touch with what’s going on. You would also be subject to disclosure, and required to reapply for your practising certificate (see below) and would come back on a restricted basis for at least 12 months. If you are returning from maternity leave, that restriction should not conflict with your employer’s obligation to offer you your job with the same terms and conditions.

See our Parents in the Profession Guide for more information.

Returning to practice

Getting your practising certificate back if you decide to start practising again

You have to be on the roll of solicitors before you apply for a practising certificate. If you are not on the roll, please read the section below on returning to the roll of solicitors. If you are already on the roll , the next step is to contact our Registrar team who will advise you on the application process, your CPD requirements and depending how you intend to practise, what your fees will be.

If you have been away for more than 13 months, you will come back on restricted supervised basis. Supervision would be by another practising solicitor or equivalent position in the public sector. This will vary depending how long you have been away from practice but is usually between 12 to 24 months.

Restricted supervised solicitors:

  • Only act as an a assistant (generally for a period of 12 months)
  • Cannot setup in practice on your own account
  • Cannot carry out legal aid work in your own name

Before reapplying you will need to go through the Disclosure Scotland process. There is a fee for this and it can take up to four weeks to be processed. Practising certificates will not be issued until satisfactory completion of this process. We may need to review an application if there are any issues disclosed on the Disclosure Scotland report. You do not have to go through Disclosure again if you recently did it as part of returning to the roll of solicitors.

Returning to the roll of solicitors

To return to the roll of solicitors, please contact the Registrar team for information.
You will need:

  • an application form, including:
    • an affidavit sworn before a notary
    • two character references from existing members
  • a new Disclosure Scotland application
  • to pay the £100 fee