What are Scottish lawyers called?

Scottish lawyers play a crucial role in the legal system of Scotland, providing legal advice, representation in court, and drafting important legal documents. Understanding the different types of Scottish lawyers and the qualifications required to become one is essential for those interested in pursuing a career in law in Scotland.

Key Takeaways

  • Scottish lawyers are known as solicitors, advocates, and notaries public.
  • To become a Scottish lawyer, one must obtain a law degree, complete a traineeship, and undergo a professional practice course.
  • The roles of Scottish lawyers include providing legal advice, representing clients in court, and drafting legal documents.

Different Types of Scottish Lawyers

Different Types of Scottish Lawyers


In Scotland, solicitors are law professionals who provide a wide range of legal services to the public. They are often the first point of contact for individuals seeking legal advice and assistance. Solicitors can work in various settings, including private practices, in-house for corporations, or in the public sector.

Solicitors are responsible for tasks such as:

  • Advising clients on legal matters
  • Preparing and reviewing legal documents
  • Conducting negotiations on behalf of clients
  • Representing clients in lower courts (e.g., Sheriff Court)

Solicitors play a crucial role in the Scottish legal system, offering accessible legal support and ensuring that the rights and interests of their clients are effectively represented.


In Scotland, advocates are equivalent to barristers in England and Wales. They are specialists in courtroom advocacy and the presentation of cases before courts and tribunals. Advocates have the exclusive right to plead cases in the supreme courts of Scotland.

Advocates must be members of the Faculty of Advocates, which involves a rigorous selection process. Once admitted, they can provide expert legal opinions and are often engaged in complex and high-profile cases.

The role of an advocate is critical in ensuring that a client’s case is presented effectively and persuasively in court.

Advocates also play a key role in the immigration process, which can be fraught with challenges such as eligibility criteria and lengthy processing times. Their expertise is invaluable in navigating the legal complexities and in providing representation that can greatly impact the outcome of a case.

Notaries Public

In Scotland, Notaries Public are legal practitioners with a unique role, primarily concerned with the authentication and certification of signatures and documents for use abroad. Notaries are appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and are often solicitors who have taken an additional qualification to become a notary.

  • Verify the identity of the signatory
  • Witness signatures on official documents
  • Prepare and certify the execution of documents
  • Administer oaths and affirmations

Notaries Public play a crucial role in international legal transactions, ensuring that documents are properly executed according to Scottish law for effectiveness overseas.

While notaries can be found throughout Scotland, some of the top criminal lawyers in Glasgow, who specialize in assault and drug offences, also offer notarial services. These lawyers are known for their experienced handling of complex cases and have a reputation for success and client satisfaction.

Qualifications Required to Become a Scottish Lawyer

Qualifications Required to Become a Scottish Lawyer

Law Degree

The journey to becoming a Scottish lawyer begins with obtaining a law degree. This is a fundamental requirement and serves as the academic foundation for a career in law. In Scotland, prospective lawyers typically pursue an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree, which can be an ordinary degree lasting three years or an honours degree lasting four years.

After completing the LLB, graduates must then choose a specific path depending on the type of lawyer they wish to become. For instance, those aiming to be solicitors will proceed to the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, whereas those aspiring to be advocates will need to join an Inn of Court and undertake further training.

The law degree equips students with critical thinking skills and a comprehensive understanding of Scottish legal principles, which are essential for any legal professional in Scotland.

Here is a brief overview of the law degree structure in Scotland:

  • Ordinary LLB: 3 years full-time study
  • Honours LLB: 4 years full-time study
  • Specialization options in later years
  • Mandatory courses in Scottish law


After completing their law degree, aspiring Scottish lawyers must undertake a traineeship. This period of practical training is typically served within a law firm or other approved legal office. Trainees work under the supervision of experienced solicitors, gaining hands-on experience in various areas of law.

During the traineeship, trainees are expected to develop their practical skills and apply their theoretical knowledge. They engage in tasks such as client interviews, case preparation, and attending court proceedings. The traineeship is an essential step in bridging the gap between academic studies and professional practice.

The traineeship not only equips future lawyers with necessary legal skills but also introduces them to the professional culture and ethics of the legal community.

Completion of the traineeship is a prerequisite for qualification as a solicitor. It typically lasts for two years and is often followed by the Professional Practice Course, which further prepares trainees for their role as qualified lawyers.

Professional Practice Course

Upon completing their law degree and traineeship, aspiring Scottish lawyers must undertake the Professional Practice Course (PPC). This course is essential for providing practical training and ensuring that candidates are ready to practice law effectively. The PPC is a bridge between academic study and professional life, equipping students with the necessary skills to handle real-world legal scenarios.

The course covers a range of subjects, including:

  • Professional ethics and standards
  • Client communication and interviewing
  • Negotiation
  • Legal drafting and writing

The Professional Practice Course is a rigorous program that tests a candidate’s ability to apply legal knowledge in practice. It is a critical step in the journey to becoming a fully qualified lawyer in Scotland.

Successful completion of the PPC is mandatory before one can qualify as a solicitor or advocate in Scotland. It is the final educational hurdle before entering the legal profession.

Roles and Responsibilities of Scottish Lawyers

Roles and Responsibilities of Scottish Lawyers

Legal Advice

In Scotland, lawyers play a crucial role in providing legal advice to individuals, businesses, and organizations. This advice can cover a wide range of issues, from property transactions and business contracts to personal legal matters such as wills and family law.

  • Solicitors often serve as the first point of contact for legal advice, offering their expertise in various areas of law.
  • Advocates, while also providing legal advice, are typically sought for more complex legal issues and for representation in higher courts.

The ability to offer sound legal advice is underpinned by a deep understanding of Scottish law and its application. Lawyers must stay abreast of legal developments to ensure their advice is current and accurate.

Notaries Public, although less commonly involved in general legal advice, have a specific role in authenticating documents for international use, which can be an essential service for clients dealing with cross-border matters.

Representation in Court

In the Scottish legal system, advocates are primarily responsible for representing clients in the higher courts, while solicitors may represent clients in lower courts. Advocates are akin to barristers in England and Wales, specializing in courtroom advocacy and litigation.

Solicitors often undertake the preparatory work for cases, but they may also appear in court, particularly in the Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court. For more complex cases in the Court of Session or the High Court of Justiciary, solicitors will typically instruct an advocate.

The role of Scottish lawyers in court extends beyond mere representation; they are instrumental in negotiating settlements and preparing for trial. They collaborate with expert witnesses to strengthen the case and ensure all professional affiliations are in order to maintain the highest standards of legal practice. When seeking legal representation, it is advisable to prepare thoroughly for the initial consultation and consider seeking recommendations for a personal injury lawyer in Glasgow or other specialized legal professionals.

Drafting Legal Documents

Scottish lawyers, particularly solicitors, play a crucial role in drafting legal documents. These documents must be precise and tailored to the specific needs of the client, ensuring that all legal requirements are met. The accuracy of these documents is paramount, as they often form the basis of legal agreements and can have significant consequences if not drafted correctly.

In the process of drafting, lawyers will typically:

  • Consult with clients to understand their needs and objectives
  • Research relevant legal precedents and statutes
  • Draft the initial document
  • Review and revise the document in collaboration with the client

It is essential for lawyers to maintain a clear and open line of communication with their clients throughout this process to ensure that the final document accurately reflects the client’s intentions and is legally sound.

The table below outlines the common types of legal documents that Scottish lawyers may be required to draft:

Document Type Description
Contracts Agreements between two or more parties
Wills Legal declarations of one’s intentions regarding their estate
Power of Attorney Authorization for someone to act on another’s behalf
Trust Deeds Arrangements to hold property for the benefit of beneficiaries


In conclusion, Scottish lawyers are known as solicitors and advocates. Solicitors handle a wide range of legal matters, while advocates specialize in representing clients in court. Understanding the roles and titles of Scottish lawyers is essential for navigating the legal system in Scotland effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a solicitor and an advocate in Scotland?

Solicitors in Scotland provide legal advice and handle legal matters, while advocates specialize in representing clients in court proceedings.

What is the role of a notary public in Scotland?

A notary public in Scotland is a legal professional authorized to authenticate and certify documents for use abroad.

What qualifications are required to become a solicitor in Scotland?

To become a solicitor in Scotland, one must complete a law degree, undertake a traineeship, and pass the Professional Practice Course.

Do Scottish lawyers only work in Scotland?

While Scottish lawyers primarily practice in Scotland, they may also handle cases that involve international or cross-border legal matters.

Can Scottish lawyers represent clients in court?

Yes, both solicitors and advocates in Scotland are qualified to represent clients in court proceedings.

What types of legal documents do Scottish lawyers draft?

Scottish lawyers draft a variety of legal documents, including contracts, wills, and court pleadings.

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