Practising Certificates

 

Section 21 of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 requires that all legal practitioners practising the profession of law in South Australia are required to hold an Australian practising certificate. A legal practitioner who practises the profession of the law wholly or mostly in South Australia is required to hold a South Australian practising certificate. Any person who practises the profession of the law without holding a practising certificate may be liable to prosecution and disciplinary proceedings. A South Australian practising certificate may be issued subject to restrictions and/or conditions. 

In November 2015 LPEAC made amendments to the LPEAC Rules 2004 introducing practising certificate categories. In October 2018 LPEAC made amendments to the LPEAC Rules 2004 introducing a variety of changes. The provisions in relation to practising certificate categories are contained in LPEAC Rule 3B. Click here to access the LPEAC Rules 2018.

Rule 10 of the Rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council 2018 (LPEAC Rules) provides for the issue of a Category D practising certificate to practitioners who fit the required criteria. A Category D practising certificate is ‘a volunteer practising certificate which enables the practitioner to undertake legal practice in the manner they are otherwise entitled to in accordance with rule 11, but only as a volunteer for a community legal centre, or for an institution or project approved by LPEAC, and where the practitioner is covered by professional indemnity insurance (being a restricted practising certificate while the practitioner is undertaking supervised practice) and, after compliance with rule 11, as a volunteer legal practitioner (an unrestricted Category D practising certificate).’

The definition of “volunteer” in the LPEAC Rules is as follows: 
volunteer or volunteer practitioner means a practitioner who receives no remuneration for the work the practitioner does or who is only reimbursed for expenses actually incurred during the course of carrying out work.

The definition of “community legal centre” in the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 (Act) is as follows: 
… a body that provides legal services to the community, or a section of the community, on a non-profit basis, and includes the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement, but does not include the Legal Services Commission

To apply for a Volunteer Practising Certificate you will need to complete and return a Form C.

The fee for a Volunteer practising certificate, category D is $150.

If you are applying for your first practising certificate after admission in South Australia, you must complete a Form A and provide it to the Law Society. On receipt of payment of the practising certificate fee and professional indemnity insurance contribution (if applicable) a practising certificate will be issued. For more information about the Professional Indemnity insurance Scheme, click here.  If more than one month has passed since you were admitted in South Australia, an Affidavit must be lodged along with the Form A. A pro-forma Affidavit can be downloaded by clicking here

If you are applying for a practising certificate that is not your first in South Australia, you must complete a Form B and provide it to the Law Society. On receipt of payment of the practising certificate fee and professional indemnity insurance contribution (if applicable) a practising certificate will be issued. For more information about the Professional Indemnity insurance Scheme, click here. Where a practitioner has not held a South Australian practising certificate for a period exceeding one month an Affidavit must be lodged along with the Form B. A pro-forma Affidavit can be downloaded by clicking here.  

The Form B or Form A and affidavit (if applicable) can be scanned and emailed to PCandPIIrenewals@lawsocietysa.asn.au, the original is not required.

If you are applying for a practising certificate for the first time in South Australia and it has been more than 3 years since your admission in South Australia, or your last practising certificate (South Australian or interstate) expired 3 or more years ago, you need to comply with the requirements in LPEAC Rule 15. For information about LPEAC Rule 15 please see the Guide to LPEAC Rule 15 here. If you have been admitted elsewhere in Australia you also have the option of applying for a South Australian practising certificate via Mutual Recognition. Please see the information regarding Mutual Recognition on the Admission webpage by clicking here

You will not be permitted to renew your practising certificate until the Law Society is satisfied that your professional indemnity insurance requirements have been satisfied, and that if you held a practising certificate during the preceding period you complied with your MCPD obligations for that period. 

For details about the Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme click here.

For information about MCPD requirements, click here or if you would like to check your profile to view your current MCPD compliance please click here.

On the Society being satisfied that all requirements have been met you will be emailed an invoice for the practising certificate fee.Practising certificate fees for the 2021/22 period were published in the South Australian Government Gazette are as follows:


Fee for the issue or renewal of a practising certificate (other than a volunteer practising certificate): 

     (a)        for more than 6 months $668 fee plus $209 levy. 
     (b)        for 6 months or less $374 fee plus $105 levy. 

Fee for the issue or renewal of a volunteer practising certificate (see LPEAC rule 10: category D practising certificate) $103 fee plus $47 levy.

Practising certificates are issued to the email address provided on your application once the payment is received by the Society. Please allow up to 5 business days for the application process and receipt of your Practising Certificate.


Fee for the issue or renewal of a volunteer practising certificate (see LPEAC rule 3B: category D practising certificate) $103 fee plus $47 levy.

Practising certificates are issued to the email address provided on your application once the payment is received by the Society. Please allow up to 5 business days for the application process and receipt of your Practising Certificate.

The Law Society operates the Legal Practitioners Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme pursuant to s 52 of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981.

All practising certificates are issued subject to the requirement to satisfy the insurance obligations under section 19 of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981. 

For details about the Professional Indemnity Insurance Scheme click here 

If you wish to practise under a name that is different to that which appears on the Roll of Practitioners you must first re-sign the Roll. For information on how to re-sign the Roll please contact the Supreme Court Registry here

 Once you have re-signed the Roll of Practitioners the Supreme Court will notify the Society. The Society will then ensure that your name is updated on your Profile and Practising Certificate (see PC & Admission Tab).

All South Australian practising certificates are issued subject to the following conditions: 

 

  1. That the practitioner complies with the mandatory continuing professional development (MCPD) obligations contained in Appendix C to the Rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council 2018.
For information about how you can comply with the MCPD condition, click here.

 

  1. That the practitioner satisfies the insurance requirements imposed by s19 of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981.
For information about how you can comply with the insurance condition, click here.



Further conditions may also be placed upon a practising certificate by the Legal Practitioner’s Education and Admission Council (LPEAC), the Legal Practitioner’s Disciplinary Tribunal, the Legal Practitioner’s Conduct Commissioner, the Supreme Court, or a regulatory body of another State. 

On 1 April 2021 changes to the 2018 LPEAC Rules were implemented which introduced requirements for the completion of an Accredited Law Practice Management Course (ALPMC) for current and prospective Category A and B practising certificate holders.

To access the current LPEAC Rules please
click here.

LPEAC Rule 12(3) provides that a practitioner will be entitled to hold a Category A or B practising certificate on satisfying the Board of Examiners that he or she has completed supervised practice pursuant to Rule 11 and completed an ALPMC.

ALPMC means a Law Practice Management Course that has been accredited by LPEAC.

Category A and B practising certificates are “principal” practising certificates. You must hold a Category A or B practising certificate before you are able to practise as a principal of a law practice (unless you practise solely as a barrister in which case you can hold a Category BA practising certificate which does not attract the requirement to complete ALPMC).

A principal of a law practice is a legal practitioner who practises as a sole practitioner or a partner of a law practice or partnership of incorporated legal practices, or director of an incorporated legal practice.

Law practice means—

(a)        a legal practitioner who is a sole practitioner; or

(b)        a firm of—

(i)         legal practitioners; or

(ii)        incorporated legal practices; or

(iii)        legal practitioners and incorporated legal practices; or

(c)        an incorporated legal practice that practises on its own account; or

(d)        a community legal centre.

Holders of Category C restricted and unrestricted practising certificates can practise as employees and do not have to compete ALPMC. 

Part 3 of Division 2B of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 (Act) imposes certain disclosure requirements on practitioners holding or applying for practising certificates who experience a show cause event.

The Act defines show cause event as follows:

show cause event, in relation to a person, means the person—

      (a)      becoming bankrupt or being served with notice of a creditor's petition presented to the Court under section 43 of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 of the Commonwealth; or

      (b)      presenting (as a debtor) a declaration to the Official Receiver under section 54A of the Bankruptcy Act 1966 of the Commonwealth of his or her intention to present a debtor's petition or presenting (as a debtor) such a petition under section 55 of that Act; or

      (c)      applying to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors, compounding with his or her creditors or making an assignment of his or her remuneration for their benefit; or

      (d)      being convicted of a serious offence or a tax offence, whether or not—

                 (i)       the offence was committed in or outside this State; or

                 (ii)      the offence was committed while the person was practising the law as a legal practitioner; or

                 (iii)      other persons are prohibited from disclosing the identity of the offender;

 A practitioner applying for a practising certificate who has experienced a show cause event that has not been previously disclosed is required to provide a statement to the Court as to why, despite the event, they are a fit and proper person to hold a practising certificate (see section 20AG of the Act). A practising certificate will not be issued until an order is made by the Court to that effect.

A practitioner who experiences a show cause event while holding a practising certificate is required to provide the Court with notice of that event, within 7 days of its occurrence, and a statement within 28 days as to their fitness to practise despite the occurrence of the event (see section 20AH of the Act). The practitioner is permitted to continue to practise in accordance with the terms of their current practising certificate until and unless an order is made by the Court to the contrary.

Sections 20AG and 20AH also require the practitioner to serve copies of their 20AG/AH statement and 20AH notice (if applicable) to the Law Society and the Legal Profession Conduct Commissioner (Commissioner) both of which are entitled to appear and make submissions to the Court on the matter.

Division 3 of Part 6 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules 2006 details what is required for the purpose of a 20AG/AH statement and 20AH notice in terms of content and format (see Rules 390 to 393). Rules 307, 308 and 309 of the Supreme Court Civil Supplementary Rules 2014 require that the notice and statements required by sections 20AG and 20 AH are to use Form 33.

If it decides that the practitioner has failed to show that they are fit to hold a practising certificate, the Court has the power to refuse to issue or renew, or may amend, suspend or cancel, a practising certificate (see section 20AI of the Act).

Supervised Practice Requirements

All practitioners admitted in South Australia are subject to the requirement that they complete at least 2 years of full-time (or PT equivalent) of supervised practice before being entitled to practise without supervision.

The requirements for supervised practice are provided for by the 2018 Rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council (2018 LPEAC Rules). On 2 June 2022 changes to the requirements for judge’s associates were implemented. Practitioners applying for the lifting of the supervised practice requirement based on periods of employment as judge’s associates will need to have regard to the version of the requirements in place at the time the period of supervised practice took place. Please see below for more information about judge’s associates and supervised practice.

There are also special requirements that apply to any periods of supervised practice completed as a volunteer. See below for more information about supervised practice performed in a volunteer role.

The requirements for supervised practice are set out in Rule 5 of the 2018 LPEAC Rules. You need to note that they include that your supervisor must have had at least 5 years of post-admission experience as a practitioner, be your employer or a co-employee, and practise from the same physical location as you do. Supervision arrangements that do not comply with the requirements in Rule 5 must be authorised by the Board of Examiners prior to commencement. Please see below for information about applying for authorisation of a non-compliant supervision arrangement.

The requirement to engage in supervised practice is imposed as a condition on your practising certificate. Non-compliance with the condition can constitute not only a breach of the LPEAC Rules but might also constitute misconduct which could have disciplinary ramifications.

It is the responsibility of every practising certificate holder subject to the supervised practice condition to ensure that:

  • the condition is accurately endorsed on their practising certificate; and
  • they and their supervisor/s understand and comply with their supervised practice obligations; and
  • they advise the Society about any changes to employment and supervision arrangements in a timely fashion; and
  • they provide an accurate description of the nature of their employment to facilitate the provision of advice.

Judges' Associates

Changes to the supervised practice requirements for judge’s associates were implemented by LPEAC on 2 June 2022.

Practitioner’s applying for the lifting of supervised practice based on employment as a judge’s associate will need to apply the:

  • pre 2 June 2022 requirements for periods of employment as a judge’s associate completed prior to 2 June 2022; and
  • the post 2 June 2022 requirements periods of employment as a judge’s associate completed on and from 2 June 2022.

For periods of supervised practice as a judge’s associate performed prior to 2 June 2022 the following requirements apply:

5       Supervised practice

(1)       For the purposes of these rules, practice by a practitioner qualifies as supervised practice if–

(a)       the work of the practitioner is controlled or managed by a legal practitioner who has been in practice for at least 5 years preceding the commencement of the proposed supervised practice and who holds a Category A or Category B or unrestricted Category C practising certificate during the period of supervised practice* (the supervising practitioner); and

* PC requirement does not apply to supervising Judges.

(b)       during the period of practice–

(i)       the practitioner is employed or engaged by the supervising practitioner; or

(ii)      the practitioner is employed and the supervising practitioner is employed or engaged by the same person; or

(iii)     the practitioner is employed and the supervising practitioner is employed or engaged to perform the work of a legal practitioner in the same practice; and or

(c)        during the period of supervised practice the practitioner and the supervising practitioner work, or substantially work, at the same location.

(2)       During the period of supervision, the practitioner and the supervising practitioner must, insofar as is reasonably practicable, comply with any guidelines issued by LPEAC for the purposes of this rule.

(3)       If a practitioner is subject to a condition which requires that the practitioner must not practice without supervision, the requirement for supervision will not cease until the Board of Examiners is satisfied that there has been adequate compliance with that condition such that it is appropriate for the person to be permitted to practice without supervision.

Judge’s associate means–

(a)       an associate of a judge of the Supreme Court or District Court of South Australia; or

(b)       an associate of a judge of the Federal Court of Australia; or

(c)       an associate to magistrates in the Magistrates Court of South Australia.

For periods of supervised practice as a judge’s associate performed on and from 2 June 2022 the following requirements apply:

5       Supervised practice

(1)       For the purposes of these rules, practice by a practitioner qualifies as supervised practice if–

(a)       the practitioner is employed as a judge’s associate provided that:

(i)       the work as a judge’s associate does not exceed a period of 12 months’ full time employment or an equivalent period of part time employment; and

(ii)      during the period of supervised practice the practitioner and the judge, magistrate or tribunal member work, or substantially work, at the same location;

...

(2)       During the period of supervision, the practitioner and the supervising practitioner must, insofar as is reasonably practicable, comply with any guidelines issued by LPEAC for the purposes of this rule.

(3)       If a practitioner is subject to a condition which requires that the practitioner must not practice without supervision, the requirement for supervision will not cease until the Board of Examiners is satisfied that there has been adequate compliance with that condition such that it is appropriate for the person to be permitted to practice without supervision.

Judge’s associate means–

(a)       an associate of a judge or magistrate of a court exercising state or federal jurisdiction, where the judge or magistrate is located predominantly in South Australia; or

(b)       an associate of a member of a tribunal constituted under state or federal law but only where:

(i)       the member is a qualified legal practitioner who had held an unrestricted practising certificate (other than a Category D practising certificate) for a period of not less than five years;

(ii)      the member is located predominantly in South Australia;

(iii)      the position requires the associate to hold a qualification in law which fulfils the requirements of rule 7; and

(iv)      the work undertaken by the associate is analogous to the work of an associate of a judge or magistrate.

To qualify as supervised practice, the employment must fall within the relevant definition of “judge’s associate”. It is not enough for your job title to simply include the words “judge’s associate” or “associate”.

Applications for the lifting of supervised practice restrictions involving periods of employment as a judge’s associate must include a copy of the applicable position description.

You must have held a practising certificate during the relevant periods of employment as a judge’s associate. Periods of employment as a judge’s associate without holding a practising certificate do not constitute supervised practice.

Volunteers

Rule 11 of the 2018 LPEAC Rules provides the following with respect to volunteer practising certificate holders (non-volunteer provisions redacted):

11       Required experience

(1)       An original applicant admitted to practise in this State will not be entitled to hold a Category A, B, BA unrestricted C or unrestricted D practising certificate until he or she has completed supervised practice in this State or in another State or a Territory by way of–

(a)       ...

(b)       a combination of employment as an employed practitioner and work as a volunteer practitioner, or an equivalent period of part-time employment, which together are the equivalent of 2 years’ full-time employment or work, provided that the work as a volunteer practitioner does not exceed 3 months (in total) (full-time equivalent), or such longer period as may apply on application under subrule (2)(b).

(2)       For the purposes of subrule (1)–

(a)       ...

(b)       the Board may, in its discretion, on application by the relevant practitioner, extend the period of 3 months of work as a volunteer under subrule (1)(b), provided that the total period of such work does not exceed 6 months (in total) (full-time equivalent);

Applying to have the Supervised Practice Requirement Lifted

Practitioners applying for the lifting of supervised practice restrictions are required to file with the Society a properly executed statutory declaration by email to ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au.

If you have not completed any eligible periods as a judge’s associate, you should use BOE Form 1. If you have completed eligible periods as a judge’s associate, you should use BOE Form 2.

Authorisation of Non-Compliant Supervision Arrangements

If you are contemplating engaging in a supervision arrangement which does not comply with the relevant provisions of the 2018 LPEAC Rules you and your employer/supervisor must apply to the Board of Examiners for authorisation of the arrangement prior to its commencement.

The application can be in the form of a letter to the Board from you which sets out all the details of the proposed arrangement and which encloses written confirmation from your employer/supervisor that the version of the arrangement you have provided is correct.

The more details you can provide about the non-compliant components pf the arrangement, and the reason why they are considered necessary and there are no other viable options, the better.

Non-compliant supervision arrangements that do not include periods of “in person” supervision are unlikely to be approved.

Applicants must have regard to and reference the LPEAC Supervision Guidelines in their application.

Please click here to review the Guide 

Please click here to download a suggested Remote Supervision Diary Template. 

For practitioners wishing to obtain Practitioner Security Passes for the courts, please contact Mobile ID Cards on 8285 8118 or via email: mobile@idcards.com.au

A Calculator for the use of practitioners who wanting to check whether they have completed the requisite period of supervised practice is available here.

Please note that for the purpose of the Calculator, any full time periods of supervised practice must be calculated on the basis of 38 hours per week i.e. 7.6 hours per day.

What can be included in my supervised period?

Your Statutory leave (ie only sick/carer's/annual leave) can be included in the total calculation. Any form of additional leave such as parental, Defence Force, long service leave or other leave of absence, is not included

Disclaimer
The Law Society makes no representations as to the accuracy of the Calculator if used incorrectly and is not responsible for any human errors or omissions. The Calculator relies on input of accurate information and as such you are responsible for the accuracy and /or completeness of information submitted and the subsequent calculation results. The Law Society does not retain any submitted data and or subsequent calculation results. Users are solely responsible for recording/printing/saving their calculation results.

The LPEAC Guidelines for the Supervision of Newly Admitted Practitioners as approved by LPEAC on 22 July 2016 are available by clicking here.  
Section 21(3a) of the Legal Practitioners Act 1981 provides that a person providing legal advice or legal services relating to the law of a place outside Australia will not be taken to be practising the profession of the law by providing that advice or service. This means that a person who only provides legal advice or legal services relating to the law of a place outside Australia is not required to hold a practising certificate If you think you may fall into this category, please contact the Ethics and Practice Unit at ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au or (08) 8229 0200 to obtain advice on the matter.

Further Enquiries

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