The Law Society of Scotland expects all people who wish to qualify as a Scottish solicitor to have completed Professional Education and Training Stages 1 and 2 (or PEAT 1 and PEAT 2).  These are commonly referred to as the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (PEAT 1) and the traineeship (PEAT 2).

A non-PEAT 1 traineeship is an exception to this expected route.  A non-PEAT 1 traineeship is an alternative to the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice.

The non-PEAT 1 traineeship is only available to someone who has been granted an exemption from the requirement to complete PEAT 1 (i.e. the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice) by the Law Society’s Admissions Sub-committee.  There is no right to undertake a non-PEAT 1 traineeship.  

The non-PEAT 1 traineeship is a three-year traineeship, as opposed to the two-year standard traineeship that trainees who have passed the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (the Diploma) are expected to complete.

During those three years, a non-PEAT 1 trainee is also required to complete three Law Society exams.  However, the Law Society will not discharge your non-PEAT 1 traineeship until you have completed all of these exams. 

You can start your exams at any point during your non-PEAT 1 traineeship and you have two years (four diets) from your first exam to successfully pass all three exams.  Therefore, it is possible that it could take you longer than three years to be discharged from your training contract.

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to move training organisations before being discharged from your non-PEAT 1 traineeship.  However, you would remain a trainee solicitor until such time as you were discharged.

Non-PEAT 1 trainees must evidence the achievement of both the PEAT 1 and PEAT 2 outcomes, over the course of their three-year traineeship.

The PEAT 1 outcomes are the outcomes that Diploma students are asked to achieve.  They comprise both “mandatory” and “core” elements.

The PEAT 1 mandatory outcomes are knowledge/practise based:

  • Conveyancing;
  • Private Client;
  • Litigation;
  • Business, Financial and Practice Awareness; and

The PEAT 1 mandatory outcomes relate to the reserved areas of practice. It is recognised that not all firms and organisations will undertake work in the reserved areas, and there is no requirement that a non-PEAT 1 trainee undertakes a training seat in each (or any) of these areas. However, non-PEAT 1 trainees are expected to achieve the mandatory outcomes during the non-PEAT 1 traineeship. Therefore, training organisations should carefully consider how they will ensure that their prospective trainee will achieve these outcomes.

The PEAT 1 core outcomes are skills and ethics based outcomes and are not practise area specific.  The PEAT 1 core outcomes are:

  • Professionalism;
  • Professional Communication; and
  • Professional Ethics and Standards.

As well as achieving the PEAT 1 outcomes, applicants who wish to undertake a non-PEAT 1 training contract will also be expected to achieve the PEAT 2 outcomes by the end of their training contract.  The PEAT 2 outcomes are a materially similar extension to the PEAT 1 core outcomes.  They relate to:

  • Professionalism;
  • Professional Communication;
  • Professional Ethics and Standards; and
  • Business, Commercial, Financial and Practice Awareness.

While substantive and relevant legal knowledge underpins all of the PEAT 2 outcomes there are no practice area specific outcomes or expectations to complete seats or training in particular areas of law.

In addition to completing an extra year of training, non-PEAT 1 trainees are expected to pass the following three Law Society exams:

  1. Accounting;
  2. Procedure;
  3. Professional Responsibility.

Details of the syllabus of these exams are on the Law Society’s exams webpage.

Non-PEAT 1 trainees will see a commonality between the syllabus of these exams and some of the PEAT 1 outcomes. However, it is not intended that a pass in the exam is sufficient evidence that a non-PEAT 1 trainee has met a particular set of outcomes. 

Although you might successfully pass your non-PEAT 1 exams, you and/or your organisation’s Training Manager may identify that you need further support or training for them to be fully satisfied that you meet all of the outcomes.

Non-PEAT 1 trainees must also comply with the same requirements as trainees on the more common two-year traineeship route, namely Trainee CPD and quarterly performance reviews.

Trainee CPD

The trainee CPD (TCPD) requirements for the non-PEAT 1 traineeship are no different to that of the standard traineeship.  Over the course of your traineeship, you must complete a minimum of 60 hours of required CPD for trainees:

  • At least 40 hours must come from an authorised provider (see the list on the Law Society website).
  • The remaining hours can come from either an authorised provider or from non-authorised provision.
  • Non-authorised TCPD can training taken with any training provider. However, the training that you undertake with that provider must still be related to and support your achievement of the PEAT 1 or PEAT 2 outcomes.
  • After month nine and before the end of your traineeship, you must complete the mandatory ethics course. This is at least four hours' training and comes from an authorised provider of the mandatory ethics course (see the list on the Law Society website).
  • You should aim to complete a minimum of 30 hours of required CPD for trainees by month 15 of the traineeship but this is not a requirement.
Quarterly Performance Reviews

Your quarterly performance reviews are commonly referred to as “PQPRs” (PEAT Quarterly Performance Reviews).

The frequency of your performance reviews does not change, whether you are a non-PEAT 1 trainee or a trainee on the standard two-year traineeship route.  Performance reviews should be undertaken every three months.  However, because non-PEAT 1 trainees will complete three years, as opposed to two years, they will have to complete four additional reviews.

Non-PEAT 1 trainees will be expected to complete 12 reviews in total, as opposed to the eight expected of standard trainees. 

In order to practise as a Scottish solicitor, you need to apply to be admitted to the Roll of Solicitors.  We call this “applying for admission”.  You can apply for admission during or at the end of your traineeship. This process only happens once.

Once you have been admitted, you must also apply to the Law Society of Scotland for a practising certificate to enable you to perform the duties of a solicitor.  We will provide you with information on how to apply for a practising certificate, after you have been admitted. This practising certificate will be “restricted” until your traineeship has been formally discharged.

There are three points at which you might wish to apply for admission:

  1. After at least 15 months of training but before your second year is completed. We often refer to this as “early admission”. Further information on the early admission requirements is provided on the Law Society’s website. Although this information is provided from the point of view of a standard two year traineeship application, the underlying processes and requirements are the same.
  2. After at least two years of training. If you apply for admission after two years of training, you do not have to complete the additional early admission requirements.
  3. At the end of your traineeship. You can also wait until the end of your traineeship and apply for admission at the same time as discharging your training contract. If you apply for admission at the end of your traineeship, you should be aware that there will be a period of a few weeks, while the application is being processed, where you cannot call yourself a solicitor.

We recommend that you speak with the organisation that you are training with before deciding what the best time is to make an application for admission.

As you are a non-PEAT 1 trainee, you will have to contact our Admissions Coordinator at (davidmacdougall@lawscot.org.uk) for the correct admission application form.

Trainee CPD and Admission

If you are applying for admission after completing the second year of your traineeship, you must have completed a minimum of 20 hours of required CPD for trainees. These hours can be authorised, non-authorised or a combination of both.

If you are applying for "early admission" (i.e. after completing 15 months of your traineeship but before you have completed two years), there is no minimum amount of required CPD for trainees that you must have completed.  However, there are other "early admission" requirements (see the link above).

The compulsory advocacy course that is required for those who are applying for early admission does not count towards your required CPD for trainees total.

At the end of your traineeship, your training contract must be discharged.  This step is vital because you will not be entitled to hold a full unrestricted practising certificate until this process has been completed.

In order to be discharged from your non-PEAT 1 traineeship, there are four initial steps that must be completed in order for your training contract to be successfully discharged. 

  1. You must be admitted as a solicitor;
  2. All twelve PQPRs must be fully uploaded and approved; and
  3. 60 hours (minimum) of required CPD for trainees must have been logged. Each required CPD line item should show, at a minimum, the type of required CPD (authorised, authorised ethics or non-authorised), the name of any authorised providers, the date of completion and the duration. The omission of any of these elements could delay the processing of the discharge.
  4. You must have passed all three of the Society’s exams for non-PEAT 1 trainees. Even where the full three years of your non-PEAT 1 traineeship have been completed and you have left the firm you were training with, if you still require to pass one or more of the non-PEAT 1 traineeship exams, we will not process your discharge.

As you are a non-PEAT 1 trainee, you will have to contact our Admissions Coordinator at (davidmacdougall@lawscot.org.uk) for the correct discharge form.

A Summary of the differences and similarities between a Standard Traineeship and a non-PEAT 1 Traineeship
Requirements Standard Traineeship Non-PEAT 1 Traineeship
Duration Two years Three years
Outcomes Trainees must evidence the achievement of the PEAT 2 outcomes. Trainees must evidence the achievement of both the PEAT 1 and PEAT 2 outcomes.
Trainee CPD 60 hours of TCPD comprising a minimum of 40 hours of authorised TCPD. 60 hours of TCPD comprising a minimum of 40 hours of authorised TCPD.
Performance Review Eight reviews in total, one every 3 months. Twelve reviews in total, one every 3 months.
Examinations None Three: Accounting; Procedure; Professional Responsibility.
Admission After 3 months (subject to additional requirements) or after one year. After 15 months (subject to additional requirements) or after two years.
Discharge On the condition that TCPD and PQPR requirements have been met. On the condition that TCPD, PQPR and exams have been passed.
Applying for permission to complete a non-PEAT 1 traineeship

You need to apply to the Admissions Sub-Committee of the Law Society of Scotland to request an exemption from the requirement to complete the Diploma. The Admissions Sub-Committee must be satisfied that it is ‘reasonable in the circumstances to grant such an exemption’.

The Law Society has developed an application form, including a template training plan, for those wishing to apply to undertake a non-PEAT 1 traineeship. The application form can be found at the foot of this page.

The Admissions Sub-Committee uses a two stage test to decide whether or not is it reasonable to grant an exemption from the requirement to compete a Diploma:

  1. The Sub-committee will first consider why it is not possible for someone to complete the Diploma. The Sub-committee will consider each application on its own merits but, although not an exhaustive list, will consider matters such as:
    • Whether the applicant has applied for the Diploma, including the available part-time and online provision, and the outcome of that application;
    • The geography and practising area(s) of the proposed non-PEAT 1 traineeship;
    • Whether the applicant has caring responsibilities;
    • Any personal matters or circumstances affecting the applicant;
    • Any other factors pertinent to the application, as raised by the individual applicant or as identified by the Admissions Sub-committee.
  2. The Sub-committee will expect to receive and will consider a training plan for the prospective non-PEAT 1 trainee. Further information on what this training plan should show is noted below.

One or a combination of the factors at 1 above does not necessarily mean that you will be allowed to undertake a non-PEAT 1 traineeship.  The list above is intended to be indicative of the types of things that the Sub-committee will consider.

In deciding whether it is reasonable to grant an exemption, the Sub-committee will balance the Society’s regulatory objectives of:

  • protecting and promoting the interests of consumers and the public interest generally, by ensuring that those seeking to be granted an Entrance Certificate were fit to do so; and
  • promoting an independent, strong, varied and effective legal profession.

The Admissions Sub-Committee expects any application to complete a non-PEAT 1 traineeship to be accompanied by a training plan.  The training plan should be completed by the organisation that will be providing the non-PEAT 1 traineeship and submitted by that organisation’s Training Manager.

The focus of the non-PEAT 1 training plan, and the reason that it is requested, is to ensure that a training organisation has considered how it will ensure its trainee will meet the PEAT 1 mandatory outcomes, in the absence of passing the Diploma.  The PEAT 1 mandatory outcomes are knowledge/practise based:

  • Conveyancing;
  • Private Client;
  • Litigation;
  • Business, Financial and Practice Awareness; and
  • Tax

Because a standard PEAT 2 traineeship provider is not asked to submit a training plan for any of their trainees, similarly non-PEAT 1 traineeship providers are not asked to include the PEAT 2 outcomes in their training plan.  The Law Society’s PEAT 2 Quarterly Performance Review (PQPR) forms should be used to track progress against the PEAT 2 outcomes.

For a more detailed explanation of the PEAT 1 and PEAT 2 outcomes and the non-PEAT 1 training plan, please see the What do I learn on the non-PEAT 1 traineeship? section above.

The precise content of the training plan will vary depending on the circumstances of the applicant and the firm or organisation involved.  However, the training plan (which forms sections B and C of the Law Society’s application form) requests the following information:

  1. The overarching planned approach/structure to non-PEAT 1 traineeship - some outcomes, particularly the mandatory outcomes, may lend themselves to being achieved during a particular training seat whilst others may be pervasive in the day-to-day work of the trainee.

Although it has been stated above that the non-PEAT 1 traineeship training plan does not need to cover the PEAT 2 outcomes, training organisations may wish to consider whether there is anything specific in the PEAT 1 mandatory outcomes that it thinks will need to be addressed prior to the trainee being given certain types of work and in order to ensure their trainee will meet the PEAT 2 standard.

  1. Who will train, supervise and support the trainee during their traineeship - whilst ultimate responsibility will rest with the Training Manager, it may be appropriate for others to support the applicant in meeting certain outcomes.
  1. How the trainee will be supervised and supported - in addition to PQPRs, it may be appropriate to arrange informal reviews daily, weekly or monthly to support the applicant in achieving the outcomes.
  1. How the applicant will achieve the outcome(s) during the traineeship - this could include working on appropriate transactions under supervision, CPD style learning, independent study, discussion with experienced practitioners or observing experienced colleagues. It may also be appropriate to consider secondment opportunities;
  1. How the Training Manager will satisfy themselves that the trainee is achieving the outcome(s).

The PEAT 1 outcomes include positive indicators and suggest appropriate forms of assessment for each outcome. These have been developed primarily for use on the context of the university Diploma course.

As a non-PEAT 1 trainee, you will still have to apply for an entrance certificate, in the same way as any trainee would, and so your ability to commence a non-PEAT 1 traineeship will still be dependent on us being able to grant this to you.

Once you commence your training, the non-PEAT 1 training plan must be used at quarterly performance reviews to track progress against the PEAT 1 outcomes.  A non-PEAT 1 trainee should also use the Law Society’s PEAT 2 Quarterly Performance Review (PQPR) forms to track progress against the PEAT 2 outcomes.

To make an application, please use the application form below.  Applications should be submitted to davidmeighan@lawscot.org.uk.

Non-PEAT 1 Traineeship Application Form

If you have any questions on this route, please contact davidmeighan@lawscot.org.uk.