Admission and Practice in SA

Board of Examiners

Admission

First Admission - Local Applicants

  Interstate

  New Zealand

  Overseas Admitted

  Overseas Qualified - Not Admitted

Establishing a New Legal  Practice in South Australia

Practising Certificate and Professional Indemnity Insurance

Incorporated Legal Practitioner

Trust Account Audit Report

Professional Indemnity Insurance
 

The Legal Practice Registry operates under a delegation from the Supreme Court of South Australia and has responsibility for:

  • Issue and renewal of practising certificates and professional indemnity insurance;

  • Register of Legal Practitioners in South Australia holding a practising certificate;

  • Legal Practitioners Trust Account Audits and auditors;

  • Mandatory Continuing Professional Development compliance; and

  • (As Secretariat to the Board of Examiners) receipt of all applications to the Board

Board of Examiners

The Board considers all applications for admission as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

The Board determines applications for academic/practical accreditation of qualifications obtained overseas for the purpose of qualifying for admission in South Australia.

The Board is the “local registration authority” for the purposes of Mutual Recognition applications.

The Board considers applications for renewal of practising certificates where the applicant has not held a South Australian practising certificate for 3 or more years. LPEAC 2004 Rule 9.

The Board generally meets on the last Tuesday of each month except in December.

The Registrar acts as Secretary to the Board.
 

Admission

The Supreme Court is the admitting authority in South Australia.

First Admission - Local Applicants

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

The academic requirement is 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 Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice degree from Flinders University is recognised as satisfying both the academic and the practical requirements for admission. The practical requirements for admission requires 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 Law Society Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP) is an approved practical legal training course.

Applicants who have completed law 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.

Guide to Admission Procedures (pdf format)

Pro forma Admission Documents (word format)

Please refer to the Schedule of Admission Dates for relevant dates for filing documents - 2014.

Interstate and New Zealand

Interstate

If you are an Australian lawyer or an Australian legal practitioner seeking to practise in South Australia on a permanent basis then you will need to seek registration and sign the roll in South Australia pursuant to the provisions of the Mutual Recognition Act by applying to the Board of Examiners. Form 6 Application Pursuant to Rule 15 of the Supreme Court Admission Rules 1999 and Practice Direction No 3.  Registrants are required to sign the Roll of Practitioners in South Australia.

New Zealand

If you have been admitted in New Zealand and not in any other Australian jurisdiction you can seek registration in South Australia by applying to the Board of Examiners pursuant to Rule 16 of the Supreme Court Admission Rules 1999 and the provisions of the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act. Registrants are required to sign the Roll of Practitioners in South Australia.

For further information, including the cost of making an application, contact the Registry on 8229 0251.

Overseas Admitted

Practitioners admitted overseas and who seek admission in South Australia must apply to the Board of Examiners for accreditation of both their academic and practical qualifications pursuant to LPEAC 2004 Rule 4. Application is by way of statutory declaration. For information on how applications are assessed and the matters to be included in your application please refer to the Uniform Principles for Assessing Overseas Qualifications.

To obtain academic accreditation applicants must provide certified copies of degrees, diplomas or other qualifications obtained notorised by the awarding institution identifying the applicant by reference to the applicant’s passport. Also a certified copy of the applicant’s academic record and course curricula from the year in which the subject was completed for each law subject which the applicant relies upon in the applications and in sufficient detail to enable the assessing body to make a recommendation. Applicants will be required to complete some further academic study at an Australian University.

To obtain accreditation for practical law qualifications completed as a requirement for admission in your home jurisdiction applicants must provide certified copies of any certificates, transcripts of results and course outlines in sufficient detail to permit an assessment of your practical qualifications. Applicants may be required to complete all or part of the practical legal training required for admission in South Australia as determined by the Board.

A fee of AU$400 applies to all applications for accreditation of overseas qualifications.

For identification purposes we require a certified copy of the applicant's passport.

Applicants from countries where English is not the first language may also be required to provide the results of the English language proficiency (IELTS) test which satisfies the requirements of the Uniform Admission Rules. This test 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.

Overseas qualified applicants should apply for admission in South Australia in the same manner as a local applicant. Where an applicant provides details of legal practice and testimonials from former employers corroborating the type of work undertaken, the Board may reduce the period of supervised employment following admission in South Australia. In addition, the applicant should provide at least two character references by way of statutory declarations from either legal practitioners admitted for five years who have known the applicant for two years, or persons of good repute who have known the applicant at least five years, attesting to the applicant's good character and fitness to be admitted.

Applicants also require a certificate of good standing from their home jurisdiction as part of their admission documents.

PD1A Overseas Qualified      Rule 4 Overseas
 

Overseas Qualified - Not Admitted

Applications from overseas qualified persons who have not been admitted but who have qualified for admission overseas and who are seeking accreditation of their academic and practical qualifications with a view to admission in South Australia should refer to the procedure outlined above with the exception of providing evidence of admission and testimonials. They will need to provide the two character references.

Practising Certificates

All local legal practitioners practising the profession of law are required to hold a current South Australian practising certificate. The fee for an individual practising certificate issued for the 2013/2014 financial year is $557.00 (GST exempt).

It is a condition of every practising certificate issued to or renewed by an individual local legal practitioner that the practitioner will comply with the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (“MCPD”) obligations contained in Appendix C to the Rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council 2004 (“the LPEAC Rules”).

Following admission, practitioners are issued with a restricted practising certificate. The holder of a restricted practising certificate is entitled to engage only in supervised practice as defined by Rule 1 of the LPEAC Rules. Supervised practice is defined to mean “practice as an employed practitioner controlled or managed by a legal practitioner entitled to practice as a principal during which supervised practice the practitioner is employed at the location where the principal conducts his or her practice”. That restriction will remain in place until the practitioner applies to have the restriction lifted. Please contact the Legal Practice Registry at registry@lawsocietysa.asn.au for information as to the application process.

Practitioners applying for their first practising certificate must complete a Form 1A Application for First Issue of a Practising Certificate.

Practitioners applying for a subsequent practising certificate must complete a Form 1 Application for Renewal of a Practising Certificate.

Where a legal practitioner has not held a South Australian practising certificate for a period exceeding one month or applies for a certificate more than one month after the date on which he or she was admitted, an Affidavit must be lodged at the Registry.

To request a tax invoice for a practising certificate and/or professional indemnity insurance, please email Christine Revell of the Registry at christine.revell@lawsocietysa.asn.au

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Practitioners who practise in the private profession must hold professional indemnity insurance under the Legal Practitioners Professional Indemnity Scheme.
 
Practitioners who are not practising and practitioners who are practising but who are employed in the government or corporate sector must complete a Form 5 Exemption Application in order to enable issue of a practising certificate.

If a practitioner or firm employs a conveyancer(s), a Form 4 Conveyancers Contribution Form must be completed and lodged in order to enable the Registry to correctly calculate the insurance contribution due by that practitioner or firm of practitioners.

If a practitioner estimates that his/her gross fees earned for the financial year ending 30 June 2014 will not exceed the sum of $30,000, he/she may be eligible to apply for a reduction to the rate of the professional indemnity insurance contribution. Information as to the criteria for eligibility is outlined on the Form 2 Low Fee Earner Application.

Establishing a New Legal Practice in South Australia

If you are establishing a new legal practice in South Australia you will need to provide the Society with certain information. That information is required for various regulatory purposes and also to enable the new practice to be issued with an L Code.

Any practitioner who is establishing a practice in South Australia should provide the Society with the following information:

• The name of the new practice.
• Business address/postal details.
• Phone/Fax/Email details.
• Date of commencement of the practice.
• Trust account details (bank, BSB, account number).
• In the case of sole practitioners whether the Low Fee Earner professional indemnity insurance contribution will apply.
• If a partnership, the names of all the partners.
• The names of all legal practitioners employed by the practice and the date of commencement of employment.

Interstate practitioners seeking to establish a legal practice in South Australia must also comply with section 23D of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 and regulation 7 of the Legal Practitioners Regulations 2009 which requires that certain information be provided to the Supreme Court within 28 days of the establishment of the legal practice.

Incorporated Legal Practitioner

Practitioners are able to practise in South Australia through a legal practitioner company. The constitution of the company must conform with section 16(2) of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 (as amended) and must first be approved by the Legal Practice Registrar. Any proposed amendments to the constitution must be fist submitted for approval by the Registrar and any change in Directors must be notified to the Registry.

A legal practitioner company must not practise in partnership unless prior approval is obtained from the Registrar.

A company that is a legal practitioner is required to hold a practising certificate which is in addition to the certificate held by the practitioner directors and/or employees of the company.  

Form 3A Application by Company for Issue of Practising Certificate - Form3A

Annual returns in accordance with section 24 of the Legal Practitioners Act must be lodged in July of each year. 

Form 6 Company Return

Trust Account Audit Report

The annual report of the audit of the legal practitioner's trust account is to be lodged with the Registry by 31 October of each year. Practitioners are required to forward their Regulation 28 statement to their auditor by the end of August. The Society forwards the format of the Regulation 28 statement to all firms having trust accounts electronically each year in sufficient time for it to be provided to the auditor. The Society also forwards a recommended format of the trust account audit report to all auditors.

Failure to lodge a trust account audit report by the due date will result in the suspension from practice of the practitioners concerned.

Any resignation from any appointment as a legal practitioners' trust account auditor must be approved by the Registrar and any change of auditor notified to the Registry.

Any auditor seeking to be approved for the purposes of conducting legal practitioners trust accounts should make application to the Registrar. All approved auditors are required to attend refresher courses at least once every two years. Failure to attend the course as required will result in the approval of the auditor being withdrawn.

Please contact the Registry for any assistance in these matters.