PC renewal FAQs

Why can I only renew online?

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.

What about solicitors with a disability who can’t use a computer?

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.

When can I renew?

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.

What do I do if I don't know my login details?

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

What happens if I don’t renew on time?

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. 

How do I pay my practising fee?

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.

Who is the business admin at my organisation?

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.

What are my choices if I decide not to renew my practising certificate?

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 l move firms in October/November, what do I have to do to renew my practising certificate?

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.

Do I qualify for a reduced rate PC?

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.

If I have not held a practising certificate for some time, what are the implications?

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.

Do I need a Practising Certificate to act as a Notary?

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.

Who has to pay to the Client Protection Fund (the new operating name of the Scottish Solicitors' Guarantee Fund) and accounts fees?

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.

Are the Client Protection Fund and accounts fees pro rata?

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

What is a section 15?

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.

What happens if I don't comply with a section 15?

If a solicitor does not comply by giving six weeks notice of his/her intention to apply for a practising certificate, he/she may end up not being covered to practise as a solicitor.

If I have not completed all my hours for CPD, is a practising certificate withheld?

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.

What is an ARTL practice manager or ARTL local registration authority?

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.