An entrance certificate is issued by the Society 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. Find out more about what 'fit and proper' means here. An entrance certificate is an essential document that all trainees must obtain prior to 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.
Please note, from 2 February 2017 the Society has removed the requirement for references to be obtained for Entrance Certificate applications for those who commenced the Diploma in 2011 or later. The Society 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.