The Law Society of Scotland sets exams for candidates who:

  1. Are completing a pre-PEAT traineeship;
  2. Have been granted permission to complete a non-PEAT 1 traineeship; or
  3. Have completed an accredited Scots law degree but are missing subjects that are required in order to progress to the next stage of training.  These candidates will sit any of the pre-PEAT exams that the Society's Board of Examiners direct.

The information on this page will tell you what exams you need to take and when you can take them.

If you have questions about any aspect of the Law Society exams, please contact our Qualifications Coordinator louisebradley@lawscot.org.uk

Exam syllabus and guidelines

Pre-PEAT trainees must pass the following subject:

  1. Scottish Legal System and Legal Method
  2. Public Law
  3. Property Law and Conveyancing
  4. Law Of Obligations
  5. Family Law
  6. Trusts And Succession
  7. Evidence
  8. Scots Criminal Law
  9. European Union Law
  10. Scots Commercial Law
  11. Business Organisations
  12. Work Based Module

These exams may also be sat by graduates who have completed an accredited Scots law degree but are missing subjects that are required in order to progress to the next stage of training.

Full details of the syllabus, assessments and reading lists for each subject can be found in the document below.

     Pre-PEAT Exam Syllabus

Work Based Learning Module

The pre-PEAT exam syllabus currently identifies that candidates require to pass a work based learning module. The focus within the work-based learning module is upon candidates producing evidence of learning outcomes which are set out in the module guide.

Non-PEAT 1 trainees must pass the following subjects:

  1. Accounting
  2. Procedure
  3. Professional Responsibility

Full details of the syllabus, assessments and reading lists for each exam can be found in the document below.

     Non-PEAT 1 Exam Syllabus

The Law Society's Board of Examiners has produced exam guidance for the pre-PEAT and non-PEAT 1 exams.  This guidance covers:

  • Eligibility to sit the exams
  • Oral exams
  • Enrolling for exams, fees and exemptions
  • Order in which exams and assessments must be attempted
  • Extenuating circumstances and reasonable cause
  • Exam procedures and permitted materials
  • Materials permitted in exam hall
  • Pass marks, intimation of results, number of attempts and rights of appeal

Some of the information in the guidance is also produced below, for ease of reference.  However, exam candidates should make themselves fully aware of the Guidance before attempting any exams.

    Pre-PEAT and non-PEAT 1 Exam Guidance

If you are undertaking a pre-PEAT or non-PEAT 1 traineeship, it is possible to apply for exemptions from any of the Law Society’s exams.  Exemptions can be granted on the basis of a candidate having already achieved a pass in an equivalent subject at university or on the basis of past work experience. 

In both cases, specific criteria must be met and candidates should consider our Exam Exemption Guidance, to see if they are eligible. The Exam Exemption Guidance, can be found below. 

If you are making an exemption application, we have also produced a checklist containing details of the information/documentation that you need to submit.

    Exemption guidelines

     Exemption checklist

Exam procedure

Our exams are usually held in February and July.  Exact dates are posted on the Society’s website no later than one month prior to the date of an exam.  The final arrangements regarding timing, location and any other arrangements will be sent to candidates at least one week before the exam by email.

Exams usually take place in-person in Edinburgh, at our office on Morrison Street. However, all exams are being held remotely until further notice. 

As all of the Society's exams are currently being held remotely, the Board of Examiners has revised the exam timetable to allow candidates extra time for each paper. All changes can be found marked in red in the exam calendar below.

    Exam calendar 2024

The procedure for our remote exams will be issued to candidates ahead of an exam diet.  The procedure for remote exams is also noted below.

Issuing of papers

Exam papers will be sent to candidates, by email, 10 minutes before the scheduled start time of each exam.

Format

The exam paper will be in broadly the same format as would have been supplied in the exam hall setting.  It will comply with the terms of the syllabus for each subject in terms of numbers and types of question etc.

Time 

The duration of the exam will be the standard duration, as per the timetable.

Return of exam scripts

Completed exam answers must be emailed back to the Society within 10 minutes of the scheduled finish time.

Form of submission

In principle, exam answers should be Word-processed. If you will be unable to comply with this requirement, you must arrange, in advance, to handwrite your answers and submit photos of each page within the 10-minute period allowed for this at the end of the exam.

Word count

Excessively long answers should be avoided.  Quality is more important than quantity.  Remember that this is an exam. The aim is to write the best, not the longest, answers which can be given to the question asked.

Writing the exam answers

As soon as you receive the exam paper, save it to your own desktop so that it will not matter if you lose internet connectivity.  Create a new Word Document (or equivalent) into which to type your answers.  If possible, apply a header to this answer file containing your candidate number (which will be provided to you prior to the exam) and the name and date of the exam. Do not include your name.  If you can’t create a header, type your candidate number, etc at the beginning of your paper.  Save the answer document in a number of places so that it can’t be completely lost or accidentally deleted.  You can write your answers offline provided that you complete them and email them back to the Society within 10 minutes of the exam ending.  Save your work frequently, and make sure that it has been saved.

Open book

Exams are now open book.  In answering them, students may consult any material available to them.  The questions will take some account of the fact that all materials are accessible.  Essay questions might, for example, ask you to come up with particular examples of your own creation.  Problem questions will concentrate on application of legal principles to fictional case studies.  Do not rely on being able to find the material required during the exam.  Access to materials can serve only as aide-memoire so that, for example, it may be possible to check a detail such as a case name. 

Referencing

Full referencing (OSCOLA etc) is NOT required. You should still use supporting evidence for your points as you would in an exam. For example, ‘as the case of Smith v Smith (2018) demonstrates…’ or ‘Smith, in her book What is Law? argues that…’  If you quote another source directly, you must still put that quotation in inverted commas and give a brief citation of the source (eg “Chalmers, (2015), p 8)”.

Avoiding academic dishonesty

Exam answers must be students’ own, individual, original work.  Students must answer the exam on their own.  Markers will be looking for any indication of collusion or of assistance from others.  Do not cut and paste large chunks of material from other sources.  Examiners will be checking for plagiarism.

In principle, your answers should be as they would be in the exam hall.

In marking, examiners will recognise

  • the novelty of these arrangements for students and the possible difficulties presented
  • the fact that students can access other materials in preparing their answers
Troubleshooting

If you do not receive the exam paper at the start of the exam, immediately contact the Society (contact details will be provided when you enroll in an exam). It is advised that you have a generic email address as a back-up, in which the exam paper can be emailed back to you. If you have no internet access, please let the Society know ASAP. If you cannot email your completed script back at the end of the exam, follow the same instructions.

Students with reasonable adjustments

In general, these can be dealt with for online submission but please discuss in advance with the Law Society.

Enrolments for an examination should be made no later than 6 weeks prior to the date of an exam.  Late enrolments will not be processed. 

An enrolment fee of £55 per examination is payable.  We will arrange for you to be invoiced for this amount, once you have submitted your enrolment form. Exam enrolment forms are below.

 

Any candidate who enrolls for an exam and either fails to give at least seven days’ notice that they will not attend, or does not have extenuating circumstances or cannot show reasonable cause for non-attendance, will be treated as having failed the exam.

Full information regarding extenuating circumstances and reasonable cause are set out in the pre-PEAT and non PEAT 1 Exam Guidance.

We have produced some exam technique guidance to help candidates to prepare for the exams.

    Exam technique guidance