Do locum solicitors have to pay for their own practicing certificates?

Yes they do.

All locum solicitors work on the basis that they are self-employed, and as a result maintain their own practising certificates and their own CPD hours. You cannot expect a law firm or in house department, you are contracting with to pay for this on your behalf as you are self-employed.

If a law firm pays for this on your behalf then in most circumstances you are probably no longer self-employed but classed as employed, because the law firm has paid for some of your professional costs. Self-employed people pay their own professional costs and it is important you ensure this is the case. The cost is usually quite minimal unless you have done lots of work in the previous 12 months, and the best place to look is the SRA website. It is usually a very painless job to get hold of your practising certificate, and you can expect to receive it within a fairly short amount of time, but it is important to remember that this is your responsibility and you should not be doing locum work without a practising certificate in most circumstances.

We are aware of a number of locum solicitors who work as non-practising solicitors in law firms essentially on a paralegal basis. These solicitors have received advice from the SRA and/or Law Society, that their work is perfectly valid and they are able to do this without any issues, but we remain very unsure about this advice as in most cases some elements of the work will involve some sort of advice to a client at some point, and with this, in mind, it does lead to all sorts of issues developing that are probably fairly avoidable if you get a practising certificate.

It’s not exactly as if the practising certificate is going to cost you a huge amount of money, so our normal advice is to get one and make sure it is in place before you commence any locum work.

In fact, don’t even bother applying for locum work until you have the practising certificate in place for that particular practice year, as most firms will simply decline to offer you the locum work because it’s not there and already in place.

Categories: Employers, Locums
Tag: practising certificates