Please submit admission applications to us by email and not in hard copy. Relevant email addresses are on the application form. Please pay for your Disclosure Certificate directly - details are below.
In order to practise as a Scottish solicitor, you need to apply to be admitted to the Roll of Solicitors. We call this “applying for admission”. You can apply for admission during or at the end of your traineeship. This process only happens once.
Once you have been admitted, you must also apply to the Law Society of Scotland for a practising certificate to enable you to perform the duties of a solicitor. We will provide you with information on how to apply for a practising certificate, after you have been admitted. This practising certificate will be “restricted” until your traineeship has been formally discharged.
Find out about what you can and can't do as a trainee, both before and after you have been admitted.
When can I apply for admission?
There are three points at which you might wish to apply for admission:
- After at least 3 months of training but before your first year is completed. We often refer to this as “early admission”. Further information on the early admission requirements is provided below.
- After at least one year of training. If you apply for admission after one year of training, you do not have to complete the additional early admission requirements.
- At the end of your traineeship. You can also wait until the end of your traineeship and apply for admission at the same time as discharging your training contract. If you apply for admission at the end of your traineeship, you should be aware that there will be a period of a few weeks, while the application is being processed, where you cannot call yourself a solicitor.
We recommend that you speak with the organisation that you are training with before deciding what the best time is to make an application for admission.
What do I need to do to be admitted as a Scottish solicitor?
In order for us to process your admission application, you will need to:
- Submit a completed admission application form to us.
- Submit a completed Disclosure Scotland form to us.
- Ensure your TCPD record is fully up to date.
- Ensure all PQPRs, to date, have been uploaded and approved.
- If you are applying for early admission, comply with the early admission requirements.
Further information on all of these requirements is below.
The admission process includes verification of your application, a Standard Disclosure Scotland check, petitioning the court for your admission and then our records being updated. The Disclosure Scotland aspect, in particular, can take some time to complete and is outwith our control. Consequently, the process can take up to 7 weeks during busy periods. It is particularly important to factor this in if you apply for admission and discharge at the end of your traineeship.
You will not be able to hold yourself out as a solicitor until the admission process is complete and you have an unrestricted Practising Certificate, even although the two-year period of your traineeship may have ended. You should ensure that you do not hold yourself out to be a “solicitor” on any correspondence, until you have completed the full and process and hold an unrestricted Practising Certificate.
The cost of admission will vary depending on:
- Whether you are applying for admission only
- Whether you are applying for admission as a solicitor and a Notary Public
- Whether you also need a Disclosure certificate.
The admission fees are set out on the individual application forms. They are subject to change but are currently around £400. Many training organisations will pay this for their trainees but you should discuss this with them if you are unsure.
Your supervising solicitor must confirm that you are a fit and proper person to be admitted as a solicitor, so must complete paperwork to confirm this, as part of your admission process.
There are different types of admission forms. The one you will need depends on the point in your traineeship at which you are making the application, whether your traineeship has been assigned or if you are qualifying into Scotland from another jurisdiction. Follow the links below to access the correct form:
- Applying after 3 months of training but before your first year is completed
- Applying once you have completed at least one year of training
- Applying for admission and discharge of your traineeship at the same time (at the end of your traineeship)
If you have assigned your training contract, you are requalifying from another jurisdiction or you are on a non-PEAT 1 traineeship, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the correct form.
We will obtain a Standard Disclosure Scotland certificate for you as part of the process. You can only apply for this, by sending a completed Disclosure application form to us. You should not apply to Disclosure Scotland directly.
You can apply for this, through us, before making your application for admission. It will speed the process up if you do and we recommend you do this if possible.
Please note that if we have carried out a Standard Disclosure check on you in the last six months, for example when we issued your Entrance Certificate, we do not need to carry out another disclosure check at admission stage.
If you hold a Disclosure Scotland certificate already, for another reason, you will still have to apply for and submit a new form to us, as we cannot accept certificates obtained for other reasons.
How to complete the Disclosure Scotland application
- Download the Word document version of the disclosure application form from the Disclosure Scotland website. You can only submit a Word document. We cannot accept PDF.
- Complete the form up to and including section six.
- You will be given the option to select 'application type'; select 'standard'.
- If you have middle names include all of them on the form.
- Ensure your address history covers a full five years. Addresses should be listed precisely in reverse order, starting with your current address. You may have to list some addresses, such as family homes, more than once, if you have lived there on separate occasions.
- If you don’t have enough space on the application form for all the addresses, you can provide these on a separate Word document when you email the form to us.
- Email the part-completed form as a Word document to email@example.com for us to complete. Together with any additional addresses. Do not send it directly to Disclosure Scotland.
- With the application form, also scan and email three forms of identification, one of which must be photographic and one of which must show your current address. Please make sure your address ID matches your current address.
- Payment of the £25 fee should now be made to Disclosure Scotland directly, using the payment portal within the application form. The payment reference should be inserted at section 6 on the form.
We will then countersign and submit the form to Disclosure Scotland on your behalf.
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you apply for admission, we will check that your PQPRs and required CPD for trainees are up to date. Any PQPR due at the time the application is made must have been submitted and approved by your supervisor. You must have completed at least 20 hours of required CPD for trainees prior to applying for admission after one year of training.
If you are applying for admission after 3 months of training but before your first year is completed (“early admission”), there are further requirements for you to complete before you are able to apply for admission.
If you are applying for early admission, you must complete 20 hours of sitting-in training. Sitting-in training involves observing a colleague from your own training unit appearing in proceedings in a court in which you would be entitled to appear once admitted and holding a practising certificate.
For the avoidance of doubt, because sitting-in should take place "in a court in which you would be entitled to appear once admitted and holding a practising certificate" sitting-in cannot take place in the High Court.
Where you intend to appear in both civil and criminal courts, you will require to complete sitting in training in both courts, with at least eight of the twenty hours relating to each court.
You must complete a record of your experience through the trainee portal and this record must have been verified by your supervisor in order for your admission application to be processed. This can be done by your supervisor through their own member’s portal.
Please note that although the Lord President’s office had previously confirmed that exclusively virtual sitting-in was acceptable during the pandemic, when courts were not operating in person, this is no longer the case. Wherever possible, sitting-in is now expected to occur in person.
If you are applying for early admission, you must also complete an advocacy course. You will not be able to record your attendance on this course on the on-line portal, however we will check that you have completed it when we receive your admission application. The course is available through the Law Society of Scotland. The course is online, four-hours and costs £50 +VAT.