Registration of Foreign Lawyers and Multi-national Practices
There is no bar to lawyers qualified in another jurisdiction working in Scotland, provided they do not describe themselves as "solicitors" and do not do certain types of work reserved by statute for Scottish qualified solicitors (S32 of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980). Those are broadly conveyancing of land and/or buildings; litigation (civil or criminal); and obtaining confirmation in favour of executors (the Scottish equivalent of probate). They can enter into partnerships with Scottish qualified solicitors in an MNP by becoming registered foreign lawyers.
Rule D7: Registration of Foreign Lawyers
This provides for the registration of foreign lawyers, ie lawyers from jurisdictions outwith Scotland (including England and Wales). It is a requirement of the 1980 Act that foreign lawyers must be registered with the Society before they can enter into MNPs with Scottish solicitors or incorporated practices.
Section 60A(4ZA) of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980
In order for the Society to register a foreign lawyer, consideration requires to be made of the manner and extent of regulation to which the applicant is subject under the legal profession of which he or she is a member .
Any foreign lawyer may apply to the Council to be registered as such for the purposes of this section and the Council shall, if they are satisfied that the legal profession of which the applicant is a member is so regulated as to make it appropriate for him to be allowed to enter into a multi-national practice with solicitors or incorporated practices, enter his name on the register
Applications in this regard should be made on the criteria form which can be found in the “Forms and Fees” section on the right-hand side of this page. Please note that consideration of such applications will take three months.
The following regulators have previously been approved by the Society for the purposes of this section:
Law Society of Ireland
Law Society of Northern Ireland
New South Wales
Solicitors Regulation Authority -- England and Wales
Victoria Bar Association - Australia
Rule D8.1: Entering a Multi-national practice
In summary, this rule governs the entering into of MNPs by solicitors, firms of solicitors and incorporated practices. The rule requires solicitors, firms of solicitors and incorporated practices to seek the approval of the Council prior to entering into an MNP. In order to be able to give that approval, the Council requires to be satisfied that the applicant solicitor (or firm or incorporated practice) will become a member of an MNP as that term is defined in section 65 of the 1980 Act. The Council also has to be satisfied that the MNP of which that solicitor (or firm or incorporated practice) will be a member is or will be so regulated as to make it appropriate for solicitors to be allowed to enter it.
In order to qualify as an MNP in terms of section 65 of the 1980 Act, all of the foreign lawyers within the practice must be registered by the Society, and hence this rule should be read along with rule D7. As mentioned, this provides for the registration of foreign lawyers and contains two important safeguards for the profession. The first is that anyone who wishes to become a registered foreign lawyer must satisfy the Council that he is a fit and proper person. Secondly, he must also satisfy the Council that the legal profession of which he is a member is so regulated as to make it appropriate for him to be allowed to enter into MNPs with Scottish solicitors. The registration rules also contain provisions in respect of professional indemnity insurance and guarantee fund matters.
Rule D8.2: Multi-national practice - Principal Place of Business
This rule is the primary means of determining how many of the Society's rules are applied to registered foreign lawyers. Generally, a higher degree of regulation is imposed on registered foreign lawyers in an MNP whose principal place of business is located in Scotland.