We issue entrance certificates to certify that an individual is a fit and proper person to enter into a traineeship. This is just one of the stages that fitness and properness will be assessed during your career as a solicitor. You can find out more about what 'fit and proper' means below.
An entrance certificate is an essential document that all trainees must have before starting their traineeship. It is only once the entrance certificate is gained that trainees can and must return a training contract signed by themselves and their employer.
This page will give you a breakdown of how to apply for an entrance certificate, with FAQs and guidance notes signposted along the way.
From 2 February 2017 we have removed the requirement for references to be obtained for Entrance Certificate applications for those who commenced the Diploma in 2011 or later. We will instead rely on the universities to proactively advise us of any professional lapses in the usual way.
If you commenced the Diploma before 2011, you are required to provide contact details for two referees under the Guidance and Explanatory Notes in the application form.
Application forms for an entrance certificate must be received by the Society at least 4 weeks before the start of your traineeship. Any applications received late must be accompanied by a covering letter explaining the reasons for the late submission and will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Society's Admissions sub-Committee.
We strongly recommend submitting your application 8 weeks before starting your traineeship, particularly during the peak months of May-August, in order to reduce the impact of delays and issues.
You should have your entrance certificate in hand prior to the commencement of your traineeship, however if you do not have it and have applied for it in good time, you can commence work with your traineeship provider but must not design yourself as a trainee solicitor until the certificate has been issued.
Entrance certificate application form
You must print out this form and return it by post along with all the necessary ID. You may fill out the form digitally, however it must be hand-signed. We strongly suggest that you send it by recorded delivery.
Disclosure Scotland application form
You must have an original copy of the Disclosure Scotland form and submit this for a standard check or above. If you already hold a standard Disclosure certificate dated within the last 6 months you can submit this along with your entrance certificate application form and no application form is required.
You can request an application and guidance notes by submitting your details in the form below.
It is essential that you complete the forms in full. Failure to complete the forms correctly can result in delays in your application. Therefore we recommend you follow our guidance to ensure you are including everything you need.
Use our FAQs to fill in your entrance certificate application
The same questions frequently come up. Before you ask us in person, check if your question has already been answered.
Guidance for Disclosure Scotland forms
This is sent with the application form by post, or is available to download from the Disclosure Scotland website here.
Ensure you include all the necessary ID
This is a top tip and a frequent cause of application delays. You are required to include 3 forms of ID, of which:
1 must be a copy of your birth certificate (no originals please)
1 must be a copy of a form of photographic ID (e.g. passport/driving licence)
1 must be a copy of a document matching your current address (this may be a utility bill/bank statement)
You must also include a passport-sized photo of yourself, attached to the front page of your entrance certificate application. Please note, only one photo is required.
Please send your complete application together by post to:
Education, Training & Qualifications
The Law Society of Scotland
144 Morrison Street
Please ensure that you send your application by either recorded delivery or “signed for”.
Please do not send any original documents within your application, such as LLB transcripts, birth certificates, passports etc. The Law Society cannot guarantee the safe return of your original documents.
We aim to issue you with your entrance certificate about 6 weeks from when you submitted it. This time may vary, depending on the volume of applications we are processing at that time.
Applying for entry to the profession at trainee level is one of the stages at which fitness and properness is assessed. A person will not be granted an Entrance Certificate unless they are deemed to be a 'fit and proper person to be a solicitor'.
Read our fit and proper guidance.
The guidance seeks to set out:
- the Society's key indicators of a fit and proper person
- matters which might cause concern as to a person's fitness and properness
- the process of application
The Standard Disclosure Scotland check is an essential part of the application for Admission as a Solicitor or Admission as a Solicitor and Notary Public (separate form available from the Education and Careers team at email@example.com)
The Disclosure check must be dated no more than six months prior to your admission date.
You must include copies of at least three forms of ID with your application - your birth certificate plus one photographic ID and one showing your address.
Include your mother’s maiden name or family name in section B13
Please include your national insurance number, passport number (and country of issue) and driving licence number (and country of issue) in section B19 – 26
You must include five years’ address history (to the month), starting with the most recent in section B44-57. Use additional papers if necessary.
Remember to sign and date the form in section C1.
Parts D and E of the form will be completed by us. Do not complete any details in these sections.
Do not send the form to Disclosure Scotland.
The cost of this application is £25.00. Cheques or Postal Orders should be made payable to “The Law Society of Scotland”. If you would prefer to pay by card, please advise us of this and the best number to contact you on to collect payment. You must not put your card details in to section D.
Please send the form together with your completed Admission application to:
Education, Training and Qualifications Department
The Law Society of Scotland
144 Morrison Street
DX 1 EDINBURGH 1
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 226 7411 (option 3).