Admission to Practice


Local Applicants

To be eligible for admission to the Supreme Court of South Australia an applicant must satisfy the Board of Examiners that they are of good character and have met the admission requirements in the Supreme Court Rules and LPEAC Rules.

The academic requirement is the completion of a tertiary study of law in Australia completed over a minimum of three years full time (or the part-time equivalent) and which includes the Priestley 11 subjects. In South Australia, completion of the Bachelor of Laws degree from Adelaide University, Flinders University or University of South Australia satisfies the academic requirements.

The practical requirement is the completion of a course of study which provides the requisite understanding and competence in the skills, values and practice areas prescribed within the LPEAC Rules. The Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP) provided by the University of Adelaide is an approved practical legal training course as is the course conducted by the College of Law South Australia. The Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice degree from Flinders University is recognised as satisfying both the academic and the practical requirements for admission..

Applicants who have completed academic qualifications interstate should note that they must have those qualifications formally accredited by the Board of Examiners prior to admission. It is strongly recommended that applicants initiate this process while completing their GDLP to avoid delays in the admission process.

The Society has prepared a Guide to Admission to assist you in preparing for the admission process.  You can download the Guide here – do NOT use the sample documents contained as your admission documents, they are examples only.

**USE the set of pro-forma documents available HERE, which you can customise to suit your requirements.  These documents are for your assistance only and it remains your responsibility to ensure that your documents comply with the Supreme Court Civil Rules 2006 and the Supreme Court Civil Supplementary Rules 2014.  If you have any questions, please email ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au
 
As of 1 July 2016, the fee for admission is $586, and the fee for publishing a Notice of Application for Admission is $27.50 (including GST).

To avoid disappointment, you are encouraged to make an APPOINTMENT by emailing ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au

The Supreme Court holds several admission hearings each year and there are cut-off dates by which your documents must be submitted to the Law Society in order to make each hearing. This year, those dates are:
Last day to provide all documents to Law Society Board of Examiners Meeting Admission hearing in Supreme Court
23 January 2017 31 January 2017 20 February 2017
17 February 2017 28 February 2017 20 March 2017
17 March 2017 28 March 2017 (Tuesday) 18 April 2017
21 April 2017 2 May 2017 15 May 2017
19 May 2017 30 May 2017 19 June 2017
16 June 2017 27 June 2017 24 July 2017
14 July 2017 25 July 2017 21 August 2017
18 August 2017 29 August 2017 18 September 2017
15 September 2017 26 September 2017 16 October 2017
20 October 2017 31 October 2017 20 November 2017
17 November 2017 28 November 2017 11 December 2017

The morning after each Board of Examiners meeting, a list of successful applicants is displayed on the Society’s Community tab, or in the Higher Courts Registry in the Lower Ground Floor of the Sir Samuel Way Building, Victoria Square ADELAIDE. 

Note: The Society’s staff will check your application documents and inspect your original documents. You should allow sufficient time for you to make any corrections to your documents that are necessary to ensure they comply with the various requirements. For this reason, it is best that you do not attend at the Society on the last day. You should also avoid attending at around lunchtime, as staff may not be available to check your documents. To make an appointment please call the Society on (08) 8229 0200 or email ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au.

Mutual Recognition of Interstate or New Zealand Admission 

If you have been admitted to practice in another State or in New Zealand, you must seek registration (recognition of your entitlement to practice elsewhere) pursuant to the provisions of the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (Cth) or the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 (Cth), and sign the Roll in South Australia before commencing permanent practice in South Australia. You can do so by applying to the Board of Examiners. 

You are required to lodge your application and supporting documents with the Law Society.  All applications are assessed by the Board of Examiners. The cut-off dates that apply to mutual recognition are the same as those applying to local applicants (detailed above). 

The Society has prepared a Guide to Mutual Recognition to assist you in preparing for the admission process.  You can download the Guide here.  A set of pro-forma documents has also been prepared, which you can customise to suit your requirements.  A link to the pro-forma documents can be found in the Guide.

You are required to obtain a Certificate of Fitness from any jurisdiction in which you have been admitted, or registered under the Mutual Recognition Act.  This includes any jurisdictions outside Australia where you have been admitted.  The certificates will only be valid for 28 days from the date we receive it. 

Below are contact details for the relevant Australian admitting authorities:

SA Law Society: ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au 
NSW Law Society: Clarisse.abad@lawsociety.com.au
ACT Law Society: debbie.sims@actlawsociety.asn.au
Queensland  Law Society: a.aquilina@qls.com.au 
WA Law Society: https://www.lawsocietywa.asn.au
Law Institute of Victoria, http://www.liv.asn.au/Professional-Practice/Compliance/Obtaining-a-Certificate-of-Fitness
NT Law Society: licenseofficer@lawsocnt.asn.au
Tasmanian Law Society: info@taslawsociety.asn.au

 
For recognition of a New Zealand admission, use the documents available here.

These documents are for your assistance only and it remains your responsibility to ensure that your documents comply with the Mutual Recognition Act 1992, the Supreme Court Civil Rules 2006 and the Supreme Court Civil Supplementary Rules 2014.  

As of 1 July 2017, the fee for admission through mutual recognition is $586, and the fee for a practising certificate is $608.

If you have any questions about the mutual recognition process, contact the Ethics and Practice Unit at ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au or (08) 8229 0200. 

Recognition of Overseas Admission

If you have been admitted overseas, you must seek admission in South Australia prior to carrying out any legal work in South Australia. You can do so by applying to the Board of Examiners, which is the accrediting body for applicants with overseas qualifications. You will need to have both your academic and practical qualifications accredited pursuant to Rule 4 of the LPEAC Rules. 

In order to have your overseas qualifications accredited by the Board of Examiners you will need to first obtain an assessment from the Victorian Legal Admissions Board (VLAB). This is done by you, not the Society. You will need to create an account for a foreign lawyer OR foreign graduate assessment through the VLAB portal at: https://www.lawadmissions.vic.gov.au/online-applications

The portal will then tell you what documents you need to upload for the purpose of the assessment. Payment of the application fee of AU$400 is to be made directly to The Law Society of South Australia (Society). VLAB will only commence the assessment process when it has received confirmation from the Society that the fee has been received.

You can pay the application fee either by cheque made out to The Law Society of South Australia, or by credit card via the Payment Authority found here.

It is expected that VLAB will require you to provide certified copies of degrees, diplomas or other qualifications obtained which have been notarised by the awarding institution identifying you by reference to your passport number. In addition, a certified copy of your academic record/transcripts of results and course curricula (with sufficient detail) from the relevant year for each law subject which you wish to rely upon. 

Most applicants with overseas qualifications will have to complete some academic and practical qualifications in Australia before being qualified for admission here. Applicants for whom English is not the first language will usually also be required to complete an IELTS test which must be completed within two years before admission and record a score of 8 for writing, 7.5 for speaking and 7 for both reading and listening. This satisfies the requirements of the Uniform Admission Rules. 

Assessments can take up to 14 weeks. When the assessment is complete VLAB will send it to the Society along with hard copies of the documentation submitted by you to VLAB. We will then be in contact with you to confirm the receipt of the VLAB assessment and advise you about the next stage of the process and how your application will progress to the Board of Examiners for accreditation.

When assessing and accrediting overseas qualifications VLAB and the Board of Examiners apply the requirements contained in the Law Admissions Consultative Committee (LACC) Uniform Principles for Assessing Qualifications of Overseas Applicants for Admission to the Australian Legal Profession (August 2015): Uniform Principles for Assessing Overseas Qualifications

After having your qualifications accredited and satisfying any directions of the Board of Examiners as to further study, you should apply for admission in South Australia in the same manner as a local applicant, except for two additional requirements:

  1. You must provide at least two character references by way of statutory declarations from either legal practitioners admitted for five years who have known you for at least two years, or persons of good repute who have known you for at least five years, attesting to your good character and fitness to be admitted.
  2. You are also required to provide a certificate of good standing from your home jurisdiction.

If you wish, you can provide details of legal practice and testimonials from former employers corroborating the type of work you have undertaken. The Board may then reduce the period of supervised employment required following admission in South Australia. 
 
Application forms are available by contacting the Ethics and Practice Unit at email or (08) 8229 0200.

Visiting Practitioners

Under the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (Cth), every practitioner in Australia is required to be admitted to practice and hold a practising certificate in the jurisdiction in which they predominantly work. They are permitted to work in other jurisdictions by virtue of the Act, so long as that other jurisdiction is not their primary place of practice.

If you are an interstate practitioner and you intend to practice in South Australia permanently, you must seek admission using the Mutual Recognition process described above.

Commencing Practise

Before you begin practising in South Australia, you must obtain a practising certificate. For information about practising in South Australia, click here.

Further Enquiries

If you have any further queries, contact the Ethics and Practice Unit at ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au or (08) 8229 0200.