Proposing new specialisms

Creation of specialisation protocol

1. Parties wishing to create a new specialisation shall:

a)    Complete the creation of specialisation application form;

b)    The form shall be signed by no fewer than six persons of whom no fewer than three including the proposer shall be eligible to be accredited should the area of specialism be approved (i.e. members of the Law Society of Scotland holding a current practising certificate and with the requisite experience).

 All six signatories shall be able to demonstratehaving experience and knowledge of the proposed area of specialism either as a solicitor in practice or in another professional capacity (e.g. advocate, legal academic, trade mark attorney, patent attorney, surveyor, accountant, client or other individual working with significant knowledge in the area of law);

 Those signatories will provide CVs with the application;

c)    Describe and define the nature and extent of the specialism;

d)    Provide evidence that there is demand from solicitors, their employers and (where possible) their clients indicating that there is significant market demand for such a specialism; and

e)    Define why it sits apart from other areas of specialism (and show that there is no significant overlap with an existing specialism).

 2. The application and any supporting material will be considered by the Education and Training (Policy) Committee (‘the Committee’) who will make a decision.

The Committee shall take into account

a)   Definition and description of the area of specialism including any overlap with any other area of specialism;

b)  The market demand (i.e. the likely number of specialists practising in the area of specialism who intend to become accredited), both now and in the future;

c)   Any overlap with any other area of specialism;

d)   Volume of available work both now and in the future; and

e)   Any other relevant matter.

Refusal to create a specialism

3. In the event of the Committee refusing an application, the applicant may ask the Committee to reconsider their decision within 21 days of intimation of that refusal and may submit additional material in support of their request.

Establishment of an Accreditation Panel by the Committee

4. In the event that there is clear market demand and no significant overlap with an existing specialism, the Committee will appoint an accreditation panel.

5. The Accreditation Panel shall be comprised of a convenor and a minimum of five other members.

6. The Committee will seek to ensure that the accreditation panel includes representatives of the signatories and also individuals who may be interested in becoming accredited in the area of specialism who were not party to the original application.