Registered Foreign Lawyer

A Registered Foreign Lawyer (RFL) is a lawyer who is qualified either in a UK jurisdiction other than Scotland or in a non-EU jurisdiction and is required to register in Scotland for the express purpose of joining a multi-national practice as a manager (or as a member if joining an incorporated practice).

Every multinational practice must have at least one lawyer from another jurisdiction approved by the Society.

The cost of registration is £150, which is renewable annually. More information on RFLs, including a list of regulators that have already been approved by the Society for the purposes of recognising and registering lawyers from their jurisdiction, can be found in our Rules and Guidance section.

Solicitors from other jurisdictions who wish to requalify into Scotland should visit the qualifying and education section of our website for further information.


Registered European Lawyer

The Establishment Directive (98/5/EC) allows a lawyer who is qualified in one EU Member State (and who is an EU national) to practise on a permanent basis in another Member State under their home professional title.

“Lawyers” covered by the Establishment Directive are defined in article 2 of the Directive. Lawyers wishing to make use of their rights under this Directive in Scotland must register with the Society (or with the Faculty of Advocates) and agree to be bound by the relevant local rules of professional conduct, indemnity insurance and guarantee fund regimes.  The process is governed in Scotland by the European Communities (Lawyer’s Practice) (Scotland) Regulations 2000 (as amended in 2004 and 2007 to reflect EU enlargement).

As a result of Brexit, this process will no longer be open to EU lawyers wishing to establish in Scotland once the UK leaves the EU.  This does not mean that you will not be welcome to live and work in Scotland (subject to satisfying any immigration requirements) but it may impact on the type of work you are able to carry out and the position you are able to hold in a practice unit. You would also still have the option to requalify as a Scottish solicitor (see "requalifying into Scotland”) as unlike in some other jurisdictions we do not impose any nationality restrictions on who can become a Scottish solicitor.

Should the UK leave with a negotiated deal in place, the Establishment Directive will continue to apply until the end of the transitional period (31 December 2020).  In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK and Scottish Governments have taken the unilateral decision to offer EU lawyers registered in the UK a grace period until December 2020 to either transfer to UK title, or alter their business model accordingly but the process will close to new applicants.

Please contact the Registrars team with any enquiries.