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

Now that the UK has left the EU we are no longer covered by the Establishment Directive (98/5/EC) and we can no longer accept applications for registration from EU/EEA lawyers.

If you are an EU/EEA qualified lawyer living in Scotland you can still work here under your home title (subject to meeting settled status 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 also still have the option to requalify as a Scottish solicitor by sitting our Qualified Lawyers Assessment (see requalifying into Scotland) as unlike in some other jurisdictions we do not impose any nationality restrictions on who can become a Scottish solicitor.

The exception to this is if you are a Swiss qualified lawyer. The UK has entered into a special agreement with Switzerland which gives specified lawyers additional rights (the Swiss Citizens' Rights Agreement). If you are a Swiss lawyer you may also practise in Scotland on a permanent basis under your home professional title and can continue to register with us as an REL until 31 December 2024.

Until 31 December 2024, if you are eligible, you can apply for admission as a Scottish solicitor without having to sit an exam. You will be eligible to apply if you are a Swiss lawyer registered with us as a European lawyer at the time of your application and you meet the criteria set out in regulation 29 of the European Communities (Lawyer’s Practice) (Scotland) Regulations 2000.

'Effectively and regularly' is defined in regulation 33 of those regulations and means without any interruption other than that resulting from the events of everyday life.

For these purposes, a "Swiss lawyer" is defined as a national of the UK or a Swiss national who, before 30 December 2020, held the professional title of Avocat, Advokat, Rechtsanwalt, Anwalt, Fürsprecher, Fürsprech or Avvocato, or had, at that date, commenced training towards the professional qualifications required to obtain such a professional title and completes that training by 1 January 2025. 

Please contact the Registrars team with any enquiries.