An entrance certificate is an essential document that all trainees must have before starting their traineeship. The purpose of an entrance certificate is to certify that you are a ‘fit and proper’ person to be a trainee solicitor. Essentially, the fit and proper test is one that checks that you have all of the necessary qualifications and asks about past events that speak to your character and integrity.
- You should apply for an Entrance Certificate at least four weeks before the date you wish to start your traineeship. If you wish to start your traineeship sooner than that, you must explain why on your entrance certificate application form.
- The earliest you can submit your application is 6 months prior to your proposed traineeship start date.
- During the months between May and September we strongly recommend applying at least eight weeks before the date you start your traineeship. This is due to the high volumes of applications we and Disclosure Scotland have received.
You can apply for an Entrance Certificate if you do not have a traineeship in place or a start date confirmed. However, we will not issue an Entrance Certificate until we receive that information.
You can also apply for an Entrance Certificate before your Diploma has been awarded. However, you cannot have a traineeship start date that is earlier than your Diploma award date and we will not issue your certificate until we have confirmation of your Diploma award, which we receive directly from your university.
Everyone applying for an Entrance Certificate must complete the online application form, which can be found at the bottom of this page. Full details of how to complete that form are contained within the form.
Before doing this, you should complete a Disclosure Scotland application form, which has to be uploaded to your online Entrance Certificate application form. Information on how to complete a Disclosure Scotland application form, can be found below.
When you apply for your Entrance Certificate you will need:
- A recent passport sized photograph.
- A copy of your birth certificate. If you cannot provide this, you can provide an alternative piece of ID but that alternative ID must include your name and current address.
- One form of photographic ID. If you cannot provide your birth certificate, this must be your passport.
- One item showing your current home address.
- Evidence of any name change, if applicable.
- A copy of your LLB degree certificate. This should be your official degree certificate and should include your university's crest and/or be signed by an officer or your university. Please do not submit an award letter.
- A copy of your official LLB academic transcript or Higher Education Achievement Report (showing passes in all subjects and in all years of study). This is an official document from your university and, like your degree certificate, should include your university's crest and/or be signed by an officer or your university.
Your completed Disclosure Scotland application form. The application form and guidance notes on how to fill the form out correctly are below.
- Do not send your completed application to Disclosure Scotland. Upload it as part of your entrance certificate application.
- Download the Word version of the Disclosure Scotland application form, link below.
- When asked to select application type, please select ‘standard’. Do not apply for a Basic certificate – this is different. You can only apply for your Standard certificate by sending your application to the Law Society of Scotland. If you pay for a Basic certificate, you will have to pay for a second Standard certificate, in addition.
- If you have middle names, include all of them on the form.
- Addresses should be listed in reverse order, starting with your current address. Ensure your address history covers a full five years, including your current address.
For example: if you apply in October 2023, make sure your address history goes back as far as October 2018.
Note: If your current address is your family home and you have recently moved back there, please put the date that you returned to that address, in the 'resident from' box. Do not put the date that you originally moved into that property, unless you have lived there on a continuous, uninterrupted basis. This may mean that you have to list some addresses, such as family homes, twice or more, if you have lived there on separate occasions (such as during the summer holidays).
Note: If you don’t have enough space on the application form for all your addresses, you can send an email with extra addresses to email@example.com.
5. Make sure your address ID matches your current address
6. Pay Disclosure Scotland £25, directly, using the payment portal within the application form, before submitting your application to the Society. The form explains how to pay the fee. Remember to include your payment reference in section 6 of the form.
7. Complete the form up to and including section 6. Attach the completed form as a Word document (we cannot accept PDFs) to your Entrance Certificate application form. We will then complete and countersign it. Do not sent your form directly to Disclosure Scotland.
We aim to issue Entrance Certificates six weeks from when they were submitted. This time can vary due to the volume of applications that we receive at certain points of the year, and can take up to eight weeks during the peak times of May to September.
Additionally, we are reliant on the Disclosure Scotland process, and we cannot affect their timeframes. We cannot issue you with an entrance certificate until Disclosure Scotland has completed its checks and returned its certificate.