Whether you’re a trainee or a seasoned veteran, the process for obtaining a Law Society of Scotland Smartcard is the same.
In order to start the Smartcard process you must have a valid Practising Certificate, either a restricted or full one. If you do not hold either, we cannot process your application or create a card for you. If you are unsure of your Practising Certificate status, then please contact the Registrar team by email at Registar@lawscot.org.uk.
To get your Smartcard, first you must contact the Law Society of Scotland’s Smartcard team. You can reach them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will then send you your personalised submission form by email.
You will need to review the form, ensuring that the name on your form is the name that you wish to practice under.
There are strict rules on how your name may appear on the card. If you are registered in the Law Society under your first name, but practice under your middle name, then we can put your first, middle, and last name on the card. We cannot, however, put just your middle name and last name on the card, as this is not your legal name per your legal documentation. Naturally, if you have changed your name through a deed poll, marriage, or divorce, then please contact the Registrars with evidence of your name change so they can amend the Law Society’s records.
You will also be asked to include a passport sized photo. This photo must have your name and your Law Society ID number (which is on your application form) written on the back.
If you do not include the information on the back, or if the picture does not meet the photographic guidelines, the entire application will be send back to you. We require your name and ID number written on the back to ensure we have the right photo for the right person. Also please note that this should be a photo that you would not be embarrassed to show to colleagues and clients. We will not print multiple cards if you are unhappy with the image that you sent us. The images will be updated about 6 years after you receive your first Smartcard, so if the image is unflattering, you will have to wait for the next round to get a new card.
Send your form back to the Law Society. We will send you a confirmation email saying that we received your application and inviting you to sign up for a collection event.
You must collect your card in person either at a prearranged Smartcard collection event or at another Law Society event. There we will ask you to sign a contract and we require that you bring identity documents to collect your card.
There are no exceptions to this rule. As the Smartcard is a form of identification, the Society must ensure that it has in fact been delivered to your hands and your hands only. During the collection appointment you will also enter a PIN and PUK number which, per your contract, only you are allowed to know.
One of the biggest benefits of the Law Society Smartcard is that it contains your digital signature, but as a safety feature your signature can only be accessed with your PIN. Much like a bank card you must enter your PIN before you can sign or do anything else with the card. Your PIN therefore needs to be a password that you will remember! It must be 6 digits (letters, numbers or a combination of the two) without any special characters.
Additionally, you will also be asked to create a PUK. The PUK must be 8 digits (letters, numbers or a combination of the two) without any special characters. The PUK can be used to unlock your card should you forget your PIN number. It can also be used to reset your passcodes should you so desire.
Because the PIN and PUK are only stored on your Smartcard, the Law Society has no recourse to accessing these numbers. If you should forget your PIN or PUK, then the card is useless for signatures and you must get a new card. Getting a new card requires you to go through the collection process again.
You and the Law Society Operator will go through the Smartcard programming sequence where the Operator creates and subsequently downloads your certificate to your Smartcard.