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 2019/20 period were published in the South Australian Government Gazette on 6 June 2019 and 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 $487 fee plus $197 levy. 
     (b)        for 6 months or less $282 fee plus $99 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 at http://www.courts.sa.gov.au/OurCourts/SupremeCourt/Pages/default.aspx

 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. 

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).

Practitioners admitted in South Australia for the first time after 1 January 1994 were/are required to practise under restrictions until the completion or satisfaction of certain post admission training requirements.

1 January 1994 to 24 March 1999

If you were admitted for the first time in South Australia during this period the applicable restrictions were contained in Rule 40(10) of the Supreme Court Admission Rules 1993 which stated the following:

40(10)(a)           No person admitted to practice other than a person admitted to practice under 13 or 20 shall practise as a sole practitioner before becoming qualified to receive the grant of the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice or such other course or programme of post-admission training in lieu therefore as may have been approved by the Board pursuant to (1) hereof.

“practice as a sole practitioner” means practice other than as an employed practitioner, where the employer is a practitioner of no less than 5 years’ experience in practice, or other than as a partner or associate in a firm where at least one full-time principal is so qualified and provided also that an employer or principal so qualified is engaged in full-time practice at the place at which the practitioner is employed.

If your practising certificate is endorsed with this restriction and you wish to have it lifted you will need to make an application to the Board of Examiners by submitting a statutory declaration and supporting documentation to the Law Society of South Australia. A pro-forma statutory declaration for this purpose can be downloaded by clicking here (BOE Form 1).

If you have had a period of remote supervision due to COVID-19 please ensure you read the further information under the heading LPEAC Remote Supervision of Practitioners Subject to Supervised Practice (Category C PC) During Covid-19 Restrictions and add the relevant information into your application.

1 February 1999 to 31 December 2003

If you were admitted for the first time in South Australia during this period the applicable restrictions were contained in Rules 6 and 29 Rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council 1999 which stated the following:

6(1)       Subject to subrule (2), a local applicant admitted to practice upon reliance on Rules 4 and 5 shall not be entitled to practise as a sole practitioner until he or she has completed at least twelve months’ continuous full-time employment as an employed practitioner following the first issue to him or her of a practising certificate.

29(2)     If a practitioner has not commenced, or has embarked upon but has not completed by 1 February 1999, the practical legal training required by Rule 40 of the repealed Admission Rules, the practitioner shall complete such practical legal training (or the remainder thereof) in accordance with the provisions of this rule.

29(7)     A practitioner shall not practise as a sole practitioner before completing the requirements as to post-admission training imposed by this Rule.

“Practise as a sole practitioner” means practise other than as an employed practitioner, where the employer is a practitioner of not less than five years’ experience in practice, or other than as a partner or associate in a firm where at least one full-time principal is so qualified and provided also that an employer or principal so qualified is in full-time practice at the place at which the practitioner is employed or engaged.

“Employed practitioner” means a practitioner employed in law related employment as defined in Rule 6(3).

“Law related employment” means employment in Australia:

  • in a private law practice;
  • in a government department or semi-government authority if the employment requires the performance of the work of a legal practitioner and which the Board considers appropriate for the purposes of this rule;
  • in a corporate legal office;
  • in a community legal service;
  • in the office of the Crown Solicitor, the South Australian Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commonwealth Australian Government Solicitor or the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions;
  • in any other organisation, department or office which the Board approves for the purposes of this rule;
  • as a judge’s associate.


If your practising certificate is subject to this restriction and you wish to have it lifted you will need to make an application to the Board of Examiners by submitting a statutory declaration and supporting documentation to the Law Society of South Australia. A pro-forma statutory declaration for this purpose can be downloaded by clicking here (BOE Form 1).

You will need to include with your statutory declaration supporting evidence from your employer or employers. A pro-forma letter for this purpose can be downloaded by clicking here (BOE Form 2).

Applications that are not able to be determined by the Board’s delegate will be included in the agenda for the next applicable Board meeting.

If you have had a period of remote supervision due to COVID-19 please ensure you read the further information under the heading LPEAC Remote Supervision of Practitioners Subject to Supervised Practice (Category C PC) During Covid-19 Restrictions and add the relevant information into your application.

Please email the completed application to the Ethics and Practice Unit at ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au

1 January 2004 to 11 May 2011

If you were admitted for the first time in South Australia during this period the applicable restrictions were contained in Rule 3 of the Rule 3 of the Rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council 2004 (before 12 May 2011) which stated the following:

3.1        A local applicant admitted to practice in this State shall not be entitled to practise as a sole practitioner until he or she has completed in this State or in another State or Territory:

(a)        a continuous period of two years full-time employment as an employed practitioner, or an equivalent period of part-time employment, following the first issue to him or her of a practising certificate.

to practise as a sole practitioner means to practise other than as an employed practitioner, where the employer is a practitioner entitled to practise as a sole practitioner or is controlled or managed by a practitioner who is so qualified, or other than as a partner in a firm where at least one full-time principal is so qualified and provided also that an employer or principal so qualified is in full-time practice at the place at which the practitioner is employed or engaged.

employed practitioner means a practitioner employed to perform predominantly the work of a legal practitioner:

  1. in a private law practice;
  2. in a government department or semi-government authority, if the employment requires the performance of the work of a legal practitioner which the Council considers appropriate for the purposes of these rules;
  3. in a corporate legal office;
  4. in a community legal service;
  5. in the office of the Crown Solicitor, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commonwealth Australian Government Solicitor or the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions;
  6. in any other organisation, department or office which the Council approves for the purposes of this rule;
  7. as a judge’s associate which work so qualifies.


Your practising certificate will be endorsed with this restriction if it applies to you. 

If your practising certificate is endorsed with this restriction and you wish to have it lifted you will need to make an application to the Board of Examiners by submitting a statutory declaration and supporting documentation to the Law Society of South Australia. A pro-forma statutory declaration for this purpose can be downloaded by clicking here (BOE Form 3).

You will need to include with your statutory declaration supporting evidence from your employer or employers. A pro-forma letter for this purpose can be downloaded by clicking here (BOE Form 4).

Applications that are not able to be determined by the Board’s delegate will be included in the agenda for the next applicable Board meeting.

If you have had a period of remote supervision due to COVID-19 please ensure you read the further information under the heading LPEAC Remote Supervision of Practitioners Subject to Supervised Practice (Category C PC) During Covid-19 Restrictions and add the relevant information into your application.

Please email the completed application to the Ethics and Practice Unit at ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au

12 May 2011 to 1 October 2018

If you were admitted for the first time in South Australia during this period the applicable restrictions were contained in Rule 3 of the Rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council 2004 (from 12 May 2011) which states as follows:

3.1        A local applicant admitted to practice in this State shall not be entitled to practise as a principal until he or she has completed supervised practice in this State or in another State or Territory by way of:

(a)        a continuous period of two years full-time employment as an employed practitioner, or an equivalent period of part-time employment, following the first issue to him or her of a practising certificate.

“Supervised practice” means practise as an employed practitioner controlled or managed by a legal practitioner entitled to practise as a principal during which supervised practice the practitioner is employed at the location where the principal conducts his or her practice.

“Employed practitioner” means a practitioner employed to perform predominantly the work of a legal practitioner:

  1. in a private law practice;
  2. in a government department or semi-government authority, if the employment requires the performance of the work of a legal practitioner which the Council considers appropriate for the purposes of these rules;
  3. in a corporate legal office;
  4. in a community legal service;
  5. in the office of the Crown Solicitor, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commonwealth Australian Government Solicitor or the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions;
  6. in any other organisation, department or office which the Council approves for the purposes of this rule;
  7. as a judge’s associate which work so qualifies.

Your practising certificate will be endorsed with this restriction if it applies to you.

If your practising certificate is endorsed with this restriction and you wish to have it lifted you will need to make an application to the Board of Examiners by submitting a statutory declaration and supporting documentation to the Law Society of South Australia. A pro-forma statutory declaration for this purpose can be downloaded by clicking 
here (BOE Form 5).

You will need to include with your statutory declaration supporting evidence from your employer or employers. A pro-forma letter for this purpose can be downloaded by clicking here (BOE Form 6).

Applications that are not able to be determined by the Board’s delegate will be included in the agenda for the next applicable Board meeting. 

If you have had a period of remote supervision due to COVID-19 please ensure you read the further information under the heading LPEAC Remote Supervision of Practitioners Subject to Supervised Practice (Category C PC) During Covid-19 Restrictions and add the relevant information into your application.

Please email the completed application to the Ethics and Practice Unit at ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au

1 October 2018 to Current

If you were admitted for the first time in South Australia during this period the applicable requirements are contained in Rules 5, 11 and 12 of the Rules of the Legal Practitioners Education and Admission Council 2018 (from 1 October 2018) which state as follows:

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

(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

(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.

11           Required experience

(1)          An original applicant admitted to practise in this State will not be entitled to hold a Category A, B, 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)                a continuous period of 2 years’ full-time employment as an employed practitioner, or an equivalent period of part-time employment, following the first issue to the original applicant of a practising certificate; or

(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).

 12           Practising without supervision

(1)          A practitioner must not practise as a local legal practitioner without supervision unless the person holds–

(a)          a Category A or B practising certificate; or

(b)          an unrestricted Category C practising certificate; or

(c)           an unrestricted Category D practising certificate.

(2)          If the Board of Examiners determines that a person has contravened subrule (1), the Board may–

(a)          direct the person to complete a period of supervised practice that is in addition to the requirements of rule 11, subject to such conditions determined to be appropriate by the Board, before the person is entitled to a category of practising certificate referred to in that subrule; or

(b)          refer the matter to the Court, and the Court may then deal with the matter as it thinks fit; or

(c)           refer the matter to the Legal Profession Conduct Commissioner under Part 6 of the Act.

(3)          A practitioner will be entitled to hold a Category A, B, unrestricted C or unrestricted D practising certificate on satisfying the Board of Examiners that he or she has completed supervised practice pursuant to Rule 11.

Your practising certificate will be endorsed with this restriction if it applies to you.

If your practising certificate is endorsed with this restriction and you wish to have it lifted you will need to make an application to the Board of Examiners by submitting a statutory declaration and supporting documentation to the Law Society of South Australia. A pro-forma statutory declaration for this purpose can be downloaded by clicking here (BOE Form 7).

You will need to include with your statutory declaration supporting evidence from your employer or employers. A pro-forma letter for this purpose can be downloaded by clicking here (BOE Form 8).

Applications that are not able to be determined by the Board’s delegate will be included in the agenda for the next applicable Board meeting.

If you have had a period of remote supervision due to COVID-19 please ensure you read the further information under the heading LPEAC Remote Supervision of Practitioners Subject to Supervised Practice (Category C PC) During Covid-19 Restrictions and add the relevant information into your application.

Please email the completed application to the Ethics and Practice Unit at ethicsandpractice@lawsocietysa.asn.au

Please click here to review the Guide

If you are applying for your restrictions to be lifted and have had a period of supervised practice in accordance with the LPEAC Remote Supervision guidelines your statutory declaration and letter(s) from your employer need to address;

An acknowledgement that there was a period of remote supervision.
The time period of remote supervision.
That you and your supervisor have read the guide to the LPEAC Remote Supervision of Practitioners Subject to Supervised Practice (Category C PC) During Covid-19 Restrictions 

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.