The Smartcard is the primary ID for solicitors in Scotland; it contains your photograph and your unique solicitor ID number. Additionally, it can also contain your own qualified digital signature. Whether you’re a trainee or an experienced solicitor, 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 Registrar@lawscot.org.uk 

The process for getting a Smartcard

To get your Smartcard, first you must contact our Smartcard team. You can reach us by email at  smartcard@lawscot.org.uk. We will then send you your personalised submission form by email.

You will need to review the form, complete the information and include a photograph.

About you

Please check the name printed on the form to ensure it is the name that you wish to practise under.

There are strict rules on how your name may appear on the card. If you are registered with the Law Society under your first name, but practise 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 team with evidence of your name change so they can amend our records.

Complete information

You will have to enter your five digit Law Society ID number onto the form. You received this number when you first registered with us. This number is unique to you and is noted on your practising certificate. (upper right-hand corner)

Please indicate on the form whether or not you would like your digital signature included. The process of obtaining a Smartcard with a signature differs slightly from receiving your card without one, due to security features on the card itself. The different procedures are explained below.

Photograph

You will also be asked to include a passport sized photo. Photo guidelines are included in the submission form. This photo must have your name and your Law Society ID number 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 sent 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 six 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.

Return the form

Send your form and photo back to us; DX and Freepost addresses are included on the form. We will send you a confirmation email saying that we received your application and explaining the options of receiving a Smartcard either with or without your digital signature.

Once we have received your form and photograph, we will process them and print a Smartcard for you. It will then be sent by registered mail to the business address we have for you. Please ensure that your address details are up to date; if you are not sure or need to make changes, get in touch with the Registrar team to confirm your records.

The Smartcard will have a chip in it, but there will not be a digital signature available on it. You will not be able to use the card for anything electronic; it will work as ID only. The Smartcard contains your photograph and your Law Society ID number which can be checked against the current roll of solicitors. The Smartcard identifies you as a Scottish qualified solicitor, licensed and with a valid practising certificate. You can present the card as proof while visiting prisons and courts, meeting prospective clients or introducing yourself to potential employers.

You can still add a digital signature to your Smartcard at a later point, of course. However, this requires a face-to-face meeting with an operator – see the next point “Collect your Smartcard with digital signature.”

If you would like a Smartcard with a digital signature, you must collect your card with signature in person, either at a prearranged Smartcard collection event or at another Law Society event. There are no exceptions to this rule. Since the signature is a qualified digital signature, the most secure and trustworthy form of electronic signatures, certain steps need to be taken to fulfill the legal requirements when issuing such signatures. A list of confirmed Smartcard collection events including booking links can be found on our website.

We require that you bring identity documents to collect your card and we will ask you to sign a contract. You will also enter a PIN and a PUK code which, per your contract, only you are allowed to know. As a safety feature, your digital 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 electronic with the card. It must be six 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 eight 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 code. It can also be used to reset your passcodes should you so desire.

Because the PIN and PUK are only stored on your Smartcard, we have no  access to these numbers and we cannot reset them. If you should forget your PIN or PUK, then the card is useless for signatures and can only be used as ID. Getting a new card with a digital signature requires you to go through the collection process again.

You and our Operator will go through the Smartcard programming sequence where the operator creates and subsequently downloads your digital signature to your Smartcard. The entire process takes about five to 10 minutes and you will leave the venue with a functioning Smartcard.

Now that you’ve obtained your card, it’s time to use it. Please visit our installation page for instructions on downloading the necessary materials to use the digital signature on your card.

Smartcard events

Find out to how register for an event where you can receive your Smartcard with digital signature. Plus, info on what you need to submit beforehand and bring with you on the day.

Smartcard member contract

If you would like a Smartcard with a digital signature, you will need to sign a contract. Have a look what's in it.

Photo and ID guidelines

When you submit your form, you need to include a photograph; when you collect your Smartcard with a digital signature, we verify your identity. These are the guidelines.