Practising certificate renewal for Scottish solicitors opens on Thursday 24 August 2017. Renewal must be completed online by 31 October 2017.

Log in now to renew your practising certificate

Here are some resources and information to help you complete the online renewal process:

If you have any queries about renewing or need help, email us at onlinepc@lawscot.org.uk

For private practice firms, please note that the renewal documents for professional indemnity insurance cover under the Master Policy were emailed out by Lockton in the week commencing 26 July 2017.

Practising Certificate FAQs

General

It’s important that the Society's record of you and your career status is accurate. If there are any inaccuracies in the online renewal form, please edit them by clicking the pencil icon where possible, or email onlinepc@lawscot.org.uk if you can’t edit the information on screen. Applicants are referred to the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 and the Society's Rules.

Business address

Our record of your principal address, telephone number and email address will appear on the renewal form if we already have details. Please provide an email address specific to you, rather than a generic address for the firm such as info@solicitors.com. This will assist us in our communications with you. Email is our primary method of communication with members and is essential for your Smartcard so it’s important we have an appropriate address for you.

Other relationships

If you are involved in more than one firm details will be shown here.

Other jurisdictions

If you hold a practising certificate details will be shown here.

Firm relationship

Your status with your employer is shown here. Options which can apply are: manager, associate, consultant, employee.

Every private practice firm requires a Client Relations Manager, Designated Cashroom Manager, and Money Laundering Reporting Officer (otherwise known as the Nominated Officer). If you hold any of these positions it will be shown here.  This information helps us communicate with the correct individuals.

Client Protection Fund

Generally, managers in private practice including partners of a firm, members of a limited liability partnership and directors of an incorporated practice providing legal services directly to the public are required to make a payment.  The declaration on your renewal form is correct in relation to your current relationship.

Information

We offer a range of membership benefits through approved partners who may send you information and offers by post on a restricted basis. Ticking the box in the "My Profile" section or contacting us at registrar@lawscot.org.uk  will ensure that your information is not passed to third parties (See Data Protection Act below).

Fees

See our categories and categories and fees page.

Declarations

Members should ensure all details given are correct and note the importance of the declaration they make by clicking ‘Submit’.

Place of business

Changes to your employment/place of business: members are obliged to keep the Society informed as to their status in terms of section 8 (2) of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980. The Society regard it as reasonable to allow 28 days for such intimations following changes. Failure to intimate changes in status promptly, may breach your statutory obligations.

Late application

It is essential that you renew before 31 October.  Failure to do so may result in you/your business no longer being visible on ‘Find a Solicitor’ and you will not be entitled to practise from 1 November.

Data Protection Act 1998

Information provided by you during PC renewal will be processed by the Society, which as data controller is responsible for it.

That information will be processed to help the Society perform its functions including:

(1) those under the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 and other legislation
(2) discharging its professional obligations such as administering the Master Policy for Professional Indemnity
(3) formulating and implementing professional practice rules
(4) developing and offering training
(5) providing members' services
(6) carrying out its public affairs programme, representing the interests of the profession and the public.

Visit www.lawscot.org.uk for more on these functions and the purposes for which that information may be processed. The Society may contact you by post, telephone, fax or email in connection with these purposes. The Society may pass your name and address to third parties for marketing purposes. Third parties’ applications are assessed on the basis of their interest and benefit to members, in accordance with the Society’s licensing scheme. They pay a fee to the Society in return, the proceeds of which are used to support the Society’s activities. If you do not wish your details to be passed to third parties for this purpose please contact us at registrar@lawscot.org.uk. Note: This will not exempt you from Society communications connected with the Society functions outlined above.

The Society will continue to provide information as a service to members, to certain other organisations including Butterworths (to allow the production of the White Book), Crown Office, SLAB and other third parties carefully selected by the Society. If you do not wish your details to be used for this purpose please contact the Data Protection Officer detailed below.

Note: You cannot opt out where the Society has a statutory obligation to provide information.

Contact Details: registrar@lawscot.org.uk Tel. 0131 476 8367

Once solicitors complete their online renewal form and their payment has been processed, they will receive an email confirming that their practising certificate has been approved.

From 1 November, all solicitors who have renewed will be able to access a PDF of their practising certificate by logging into the member login section. This is subject to any material change in circumstances since the time the renewal form and payment were completed such as sequestration, suspension or removal from the Roll.

If members wish to check the current status of their practising certificate applications during renewal it can be viewed on the ‘my PC renewal status’ page in the member login section.

If members need to vouch their right to practice to third parties their current practising certificate can always be accessed as above.

In short, an online renewal process is much more efficient for everyone. It takes less time to complete and will cut down on the amount of paperwork involved (around 60,000 sheets a year). It will also save the Society money which can be better used on other services and resources for members.

There will still be a paper option for anyone who can’t renew online due to a disability. Anyone wishing to avail of this option should contact us on 0131 476 8367.

Online renewal opens in late August each year and must be completed by 31 October. We’re encouraging members to renew as early as possible to ensure everything can be processed in good time.

In order to be able to complete the PC renewal process, you'll need to access the login section of the website. If you don't know what your login details are, email us at loginenquiries@lawscot.org.uk

If you miss the 31 October deadline, you won’t be registered to practise as a solicitor on 1 November and your name won’t appear on the roll of solicitors or on the Find a Solicitor search tool. 

Payment may be made by cheque to "Law Society of Scotland", or via BACS. Details for BACS payment can be found on the business payment page once you are logged in. Individuals only can pay by credit/debit card.

If you work at a firm, the cashroom partner is automatically the business admin for the purpose of renewing PCs. If you work in-house, a business admin will be appointed and sent a letter explaining what they need to do.

There are two membership fees which only maintain your name on the roll of solicitors - retention and non-practising membership (NPM). Both simply retain your name on the roll. However NPM (which is more expensive) entitles you to a copy of The Journal each month and all other correspondence issued by the Society.

If leaving one firm and starting with a new firm within October/November, please make sure you get your application form from your former firm and take it with you to your new firm and amend the application form accordingly. If however you start with your new firm during the month of November, you should pass your application to your new firms as soon as possible, so that they can send your form in to ensure you are covered for the month of November.

Solicitors who have been admitted to the roll of solicitors, whether they take a practising certificate out or not, have the first three years of membership at a half rate. But please note that this refers to practice years and not calendar years.

Since November 2007, only solicitors/notaries in possession of a practising certificate can act as notaries in Scotland: Legal Profession and Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 2007 Section 62.

Any solicitor not having held a certificate for more than 12 months will have a restriction imposed. In this case, a restriction may last anything from 12 months to 24 months.

Any solicitor not having held a certificate for more than 12 months would also be subject to Disclosure Scotland procedure and compliance, which involves a further fee and can take up to six weeks. Practising certificates will not be issued until satisfactory completion of this process. Any issues disclosed on the Disclosure Scotland report may require to be considered by the Practising Certificate Sub Committee.

Only principals pay the Client Protection Fund and accounts fees. However, some solicitors who are principals outwith Scotland may or may not require to pay these fees.

The Client Protection Fund and accounts fees are not pro rata. Full payment is due regardless of month assumed as partner.

Section 15 of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 relates to a discretion to the registrar in special cases to refuse a practising certificate or to issue a certificate subject to conditions.

If a solicitor does not comply by giving six weeks notice of their intention to apply for a practising certificate, they may end up not being covered to practise as a solicitor.

No, a practising certificate is not withheld if you do not complete your CPD by 30 November. However, if you know you are going to be short of hours please email the registrar team at registrar@lawscot.org.uk or write to the Registrar at Atria One, 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh, EH3 8EX.

These two titles relate to the ARTL (automated registration of title to land) system. Each firm operating ARTL will have to appoint one or several people to these positions. If you are unsure as to the position, do not tick either of these boxes.