Our Admissions Regulations state that a traineeship must commence within five years from 1 January in the year after you gained the Diploma. For example, if you were awarded the Diploma in June 2017, you would need to have commenced a traineeship by 31 December 2022.
This requirement exists because we have a duty to ensure that those commencing a traineeship have the necessary, knowledge, skill, values and attitudes expected of a day 1 trainee. The requirement that someone must do this is set out in Regulation 6 (3) of the Admission as Solicitor (Scotland) Regulations 2019.
If you have not commenced a traineeship within this five-and-a-half-year period, you can apply to the Admissions Sub-Committee for a waiver of this rule.
In order to be successful in obtaining a waiver of Regulation 6 (3), you have to show how you have kept up your competence in all of the PEAT 1 Outcomes. However, this type of waiver isn’t commonly granted. It is reasonable for the Admissions Sub-Committee’s to refuse an application for waiver of Regulation 6 (3) on account of the Law Society’s regulatory objective of protecting and promoting the interests of consumers and the public interest, generally.
We have prepared advice and information about applying for a waiver and you should read it before making an application.
An application should consist of an email or letter setting out or attaching:
- your past and current employment circumstances (a CV will normally suffice - if you do not attach your CV, please ensure your employment history since your Diploma was awarded is clearly described in your email or letter);
- whether you have managed to obtain a traineeship;
- any other additional relevant information (eg a log of training, testimonials); and
- a PEAT 1 outcomes mapping document. We have produced a template, which you must complete and submit with your application. The template is at the bottom of this page. Once completed, this document should map your work experience, both paid and voluntary, and CPD type training to the PEAT 1 Outcomes. Guidance for completing the mapping template is below. In deciding what to put into the mapping template, applicants will want to carefully consider section 5 of the advice and information about applying for a waiver.
- Do not simply explain your understanding of the PEAT 1 outcomes. Provide evidence of how your actual work experience and/or training has contributed to you maintaining competence in a particular outcome.
- The final length of a completed mapping will vary, as applicants’ experiences will vary. However it is possible to submit an acceptable mapping of not more than 200 words per outcome and not more than 5,000 to 8,000 words in total.
- The more specific the detail you can give, the better the Admissions Sub-Committee will be able to understand your experience.
- Some outcomes may be able to be grouped, and evidence provided for a particular group.
- Whilst often preferable, direct experience is not necessarily required for each outcome; transferable skills and experience may sufficiently evidence an applicant keeping a given outcome up to date.
- It may be that some outcomes are hard to evidence and that is not unusual. In such instances, it is better to acknowledge that than simply to state that you are confident you have maintained knowledge or skills without providing concrete evidence.
Full details of the criteria that the Committee will consider when deciding whether to grant a waiver of Regulation 6 (3) are contained in section 5 of the advice. In summary the criteria are:
- Whether your work experience supports the maintenance of the PEAT 1 outcomes.
- The currency of your relevant experience.
- Whether your work experience was under the supervision of a Scottish solicitor or similarly regulated legal professional.
- The type and level of your work experience.
- The level of responsibility you have been given since graduating with the Diploma.
- Whether your experience has been gained in law applicable in Scotland.
- Whether your experience was gained in areas of law which are covered by mandatory outcomes of PEAT 1.
- The nature, extent and relevance of any CPD-style training undertaken.
- Any other relevant experience and training.
When providing supporting evidence for your application and, in particular, when completing the PEAT 1 outcomes mapping template, applicants should have these criteria in mind.
A number of factors are taken into account when assessing an application. For full details, see the section above on “Criteria that the Committee will take into consideration when deciding whether to grant a waiver". However, where applicants have been working in only one area of law and can provide little evidence of further work experience (paid or voluntary) or training in other areas, it will be harder to submit a successful application for waiver.
This may be the case, even where an applicant has managed to secure a traineeship offer.
Having a traineeship alone won’t necessarily guarantee a waiver. Although a firm or training organisation my believe that you would make a good employee, the Law Society has a wider responsibility to ensure that you meet the standard of a day 1 trainee. This standard acknowledges that, once you have been granted an entrance certificate, you can work in any of the reserved areas and so it is important that you are able to show that you have maintained the knowledge and skills required by the PEAT 1 outcomes, as completely as possible.