Interstate Legal Practitioners

1.    The Legal Practitioners Act 1981 (Act) provides the following definition of “interstate legal practitioner”:

interstate legal practitioner means a natural person—

    (a)     who has been admitted as a legal practitioner in a participating State; and

    (b)     who holds an interstate practising certificate issued or given by a regulatory authority in that State or is entitled by admission or otherwise to practise the profession of the law in that State; and

     (c)     who is not a local legal practitioner; and

    (d)     whose principal place of legal practice is not this State

2.    Act provides that interstate legal practitioners can provide legal services in South Australia. See section 21(1) which states as follows:

21(1)  A natural person must not practise the profession of the law, or hold himself or herself out, or permit another to hold him or her out, as being entitled to practise the profession of the law unless the person—

          (a)    is a local legal practitioner; or

          (b)   is an interstate legal practitioner.

Maximum penalty: $50 000.

3.    It is important to note that a practitioner is only an interstate legal practitioner and entitled to practise in South Australia if their principal place of legal practice is not in South Australia. If you want South Australia to be your principal place of practice you must hold a South Australian practising certificate. If you have not been admitted to practice in South Australia you will need to apply for registration pursuant to the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (click here for more information).  

4.    Interstate legal practitioners practising in South Australia are subject to the following provisions under Division 3A of Part 3 of the Act (the following is just a summary - go to the Act to see the full text):

a.    An interstate legal practitioner is an officer of the Supreme Court when practising in South Australia (section 23A).

b.    Interstate legal practitioners must provide written notice to the Supreme Court of South Australia of any practising certificate conditions or limitations that apply to them. A failure to do so will constitute professional misconduct as will any breach of practising certificate conditions or limitations (section 23B).

c.     South Australian regulatory authorities may impose conditions or limitations on an interstate legal practitioner’s ability to practise in South Australia (section 23C).

d.    An interstate legal practitioner who establishes an office in South Australia must give written notice to the Supreme Court (section 23D). The maximum penalty for a breach of this requirement is $10,000. See below for more information about this requirement.

5.    If you are an interstate legal practitioner who wants to establish an office of an interstate law practice in South Australia from which legal services will be provided entirely by interstate legal practitioners you need to provide written notice pursuant to section 23D of the Act. Responsibility for the receipt of section 23D notices and the maintenance of the Interstate Legal Practitioner Register has been assigned by the Supreme Court to the Society. You can provide notice pursuant to section 23D by completing and lodging a Form U and paying the prescribed fee of $30.

6.    If you are an interstate legal practitioner who wants to establish an office of an incorporated legal practice in South Australia from which legal services will be provided entirely by interstate legal practitioners you need to provide written notice pursuant to section 23D and clause 4 of Schedule 1 of the Act. You can provide the required notice by completing and submitting a Form U and Form G (Part A only) and paying a prescribed fee of $30.

7.    If you are an interstate legal practitioner who wants to establish a law practice in South Australia through which legal services will be provided by practitioners holding South Australia practising certificates please click here.

8.    If you have any questions please contact the Ethics and Practice Unit by phone at (08)8229 0200 or by email.