What is the Scottish word for solicitor?

In Scotland, the legal profession has its own unique terminology that differs from other jurisdictions. Understanding the Scottish word for solicitor is essential for anyone navigating the legal landscape in Scotland. This article explores the key terminology used for legal professionals in Scotland, the legal system in Scotland, and common legal practices in the country.

Key Takeaways

  • The Scottish word for solicitor is ‘solicitor’.
  • Advocates in Scotland are equivalent to barristers in other jurisdictions.
  • Notary Publics in Scotland have specific roles related to witnessing and certifying documents.
  • The Scottish legal system has a distinct court structure with different levels of courts.
  • Legal education in Scotland follows a specific path with qualifications such as LLB and Diploma in Legal Practice.

Scottish Terminology for Legal Professionals

Scottish Terminology for Legal Professionals


In Scotland, the term solicitor refers to a legal professional qualified to offer advice, prepare legal documents, and represent clients in both lower and higher courts. Solicitors are the first point of contact for individuals seeking legal assistance and play a crucial role in the Scottish legal system.

Solicitors in Scotland must undergo rigorous training and certification. This includes obtaining a law degree, completing a one-year postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Practice, and undergoing a two-year traineeship with a practicing firm. Continuous professional development is also a cornerstone of the profession, with solicitors often engaging in:

The pathway to becoming a solicitor in Scotland is comprehensive, ensuring that practitioners are well-equipped to handle a variety of legal matters.

Upon qualification, solicitors may choose to specialize in areas such as conveyancing, family law, or criminal defense. They are also eligible to apply to become an advocate or a notary public, further expanding their legal capabilities.


In Scotland, an advocate is equivalent to a barrister 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 represent clients in the higher courts of Scotland.

Advocates are organized into a professional body known as the Faculty of Advocates. Here’s a brief overview of their roles:

  • Provide expert legal opinions
  • Draft pleadings for litigations
  • Appear in court to argue cases

Advocates play a crucial role in the Scottish legal system, offering high-level representation and legal guidance in complex cases.

To become an advocate, one must undertake a period of training known as ‘devilling’, which includes practical experience under the supervision of an experienced advocate. This rigorous process ensures that advocates are well-prepared to handle the intricacies of Scottish law and courtroom procedures.

Notary Public

In Scotland, a Notary Public is a legal officer with specific duties. Their primary role is to authenticate documents, typically for use internationally. Notaries may also administer oaths and affirmations, and some are involved in the preparation of certain legal documents.

  • Authenticate documents for international use
  • Administer oaths and affirmations
  • Prepare legal documents

Notaries in Scotland play a crucial role in the legal system, ensuring the authenticity of documents that cross international borders.

Notaries Public in Scotland are appointed by the Court of Session and must adhere to strict regulations. They are often solicitors but can also be individuals with other professional backgrounds. The demand for notarial services has grown with the increase in international transactions and the need for certified documentation.

Legal System in Scotland

Legal System in Scotland

Court Structure

The Scottish legal system is distinct from that of England and Wales, with its own unique court hierarchy. At the top is the Court of Session, which is the supreme civil court, while the High Court of Justiciary is the apex for criminal cases. Below these, Sheriff Courts handle the majority of civil and criminal cases at a local level.

  • Court of Session
    • Outer House (first instance)
    • Inner House (appeals)
  • High Court of Justiciary
    • Trial courts
    • Appeal courts
  • Sheriff Courts
    • Local jurisdiction
    • Civil and criminal cases

The structure of the courts in Scotland ensures that there is a clear pathway for the escalation of cases, from local disputes to matters of national importance. This system provides a framework for the administration of justice that is both efficient and accessible to the public.

Legal Education

In Scotland, the path to becoming a legal professional is rigorous and well-defined. Prospective solicitors must first obtain a law degree (LLB), followed by the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice. After completing their education, trainees must undertake a two-year traineeship under the supervision of an experienced solicitor.

The journey to becoming an advocate is similar, but includes an additional step known as ‘devilling’, which is a period of intensive training under the guidance of a senior advocate. This process ensures that all legal professionals in Scotland are thoroughly prepared for their roles.

The quality of legal education in Scotland is upheld by various institutions, including universities and the Law Society of Scotland, which ensures that the curriculum remains relevant and comprehensive.

Here is a brief overview of the educational stages for solicitors and advocates:

  • Law Degree (LLB) – Typically a four-year undergraduate program.
  • Diploma in Professional Legal Practice – A one-year postgraduate course that focuses on practical skills.
  • Traineeship – A two-year period of practical experience in a law firm.
  • Devilling (for advocates) – An additional period of training under a senior advocate.

Regulatory Bodies

In Scotland, the legal profession is overseen by various regulatory bodies that ensure the standards of practice and ethics are maintained. The Law Society of Scotland is the foremost regulatory body for solicitors, responsible for their education, qualification, and professional conduct. Similarly, the Faculty of Advocates regulates those in the advocate role, upholding the quality and integrity of legal representation in the higher courts.

Another significant entity is the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission (SLCC), which provides an independent platform for resolving complaints against legal practitioners. For those seeking legal assistance, it’s important to note that there are options for accessing free legal aid. In Glasgow, for instance, individuals can seek pro bono services, government-funded legal aid, and support from non-profit organizations. Eligibility and support details can be obtained by contacting law firms directly.

The effective functioning of these regulatory bodies is crucial in maintaining public trust in the Scottish legal system.

Scottish Legal Practices

Scottish Legal Practices


In Scotland, conveyancing refers to the legal process of transferring property ownership from one person to another. Conveyancers in Scotland are often solicitors who specialize in property law and are responsible for ensuring that the transaction is legally sound.

The conveyancing process involves several key steps, including the examination of property titles, the drafting of necessary legal documents, and the handling of funds for the property transaction. It’s a meticulous process that requires a deep understanding of Scottish property law.

The success of conveyancing hinges on the solicitor’s ability to guide clients through complex legal terrain, often negotiating settlements and preparing for potential disputes.

Conveyancers also play a crucial role in working with expert witnesses, particularly in cases where property boundaries or valuations are contested. The importance of evidence and thorough preparation cannot be overstated in these instances, as they are fundamental to a successful property transfer.


In Scotland, litigation refers to the process of taking legal action in civil disputes. The Scottish courts handle a variety of cases, from small claims to complex commercial disputes. Litigation is an essential aspect of the legal services provided by solicitors, who represent clients in both the Sheriff Courts and the Court of Session.

The stages of litigation in Scotland typically include the following:

  • Initial advice and investigation
  • Raising or defending an action
  • Disclosure and discovery of documents
  • Settlement negotiations or mediation
  • Trial or hearing
  • Enforcement of judgments

Litigation can be a lengthy and costly process, which is why alternative dispute resolution methods are often encouraged. However, when such methods fail or are inappropriate, the courts provide a structured environment for resolving disputes.

It’s important for solicitors to be well-versed in the rules of court and to have a strong understanding of procedural law to effectively navigate the litigation process. The Scottish legal system is distinct from that of England and Wales, with its own set of procedures and nuances that must be adhered to.

Family Law

In Scotland, family law encompasses a range of legal issues including divorce, child custody, and financial settlements. Expert solicitors are essential in navigating the complexities of family law, ensuring that the interests of the client and any children involved are protected.

  • Divorce proceedings
  • Child custody arrangements
  • Financial settlements

The resolution of family disputes requires a sensitive and pragmatic approach, often involving mediation to avoid lengthy court battles.

Top criminal lawyers in Glasgow, who may also handle family law cases, specialize in various legal areas. It’s important to seek legal representation early in family law matters to ensure the best possible outcome.


In conclusion, the Scottish word for solicitor is ‘solicitor’. While there are variations in legal terminology across different regions, ‘solicitor’ remains the commonly used term in Scotland. Understanding the local terminology is essential for effective communication and legal practice in Scotland.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Scottish word for solicitor?

The Scottish word for solicitor is ‘solicitor’.

What is an advocate in the Scottish legal system?

An advocate in the Scottish legal system is a type of lawyer who represents clients in higher courts.

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.

What is conveyancing in Scottish legal practices?

Conveyancing in Scottish legal practices refers to the legal process of transferring property ownership.

What areas of law does family law cover in Scotland?

Family law in Scotland covers legal matters related to family relationships, such as divorce, child custody, and adoption.

How are legal professionals regulated in Scotland?

Legal professionals in Scotland are regulated by regulatory bodies such as the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates.

Scroll to Top