I've had my license checked twice in forty six years mate and don't remember my old man ever having his checked before I was old enough to require one. That said some clubs will check them, even though they don't have the power to do anything other than stopping you fishing their water.
I used to use both the black handled carbons and the gray handled stainless Ragni's for many years. Cheap as you like, but really good trowels.
The stainless were lovely to trowel up with where there was suction.