Solicitors who have held an unrestricted practising certificate for five years are now eligible to apply for specialist accreditation.
The Society introduced the specialist accreditation scheme in 1990 to recognise solicitors who have developed specialist knowledge during their careers. It can also help members of the public or businesses choose a solicitor with the necessary expertise, particularly in more complex cases. There are now more than 500 accredited specialists.
Following a review of the operation of the Society’s Specialist Accreditation scheme changes have been made to the eligibility for applying. They are:
- The requirement to have held an unrestricted practising certificate for seven years has been removed.
- Applicants still must be able to show “significant experience” in the area of law they are applying to be accredited in for each of the five years preceding their application.
- The experience that can be counted towards accreditation should be post qualification, that is after the completion and discharge of a solicitors training contract.
These changes, which took effect on 3 August 2017, mean that applicants are now potentially eligible to apply two years earlier than under the previous eligibility criteria.
The fees for specialist accreditation are also set to change from 1November 2017.
For all specialist accreditation applications the fee will be standardised at £300 (plus VAT) for both first applications and applications to be re-accredited.
For Family and Commercial mediation, the fee will be £200 (plus VAT) for first applications and applications to be re-accredited . This reflects that the period of accreditation is shorter for mediation at three years
This is the first increase to the specialist accreditation fee in a number of years. To apply to be accredited, applicants must be solicitors and hold an unrestricted practising certificate. The Society offers accreditation in 28 different specialisms and two mediation accreditations. More information and application forms are available in the members’ section of the Society’s website.
If you have any queries about becoming an accredited specialist please contact the Secretary to the Accreditation Panel, Elaine MacGlone or call 0131 226 8887