Before you can practise as a solicitor in the ACT, you need to be admitted to the legal profession as a lawyer and hold a current practising certificate.

Click here to join the Law Society and apply for a Practising Certificate.

For all membership and practising certificate enquiries contact the Society's Executive Secretary on 02 6274 0300.

Applying for a practising certificate

Once you have been admitted in an Australian jurisdiction you are eligible to apply directly to the Law Society for a restricted practising certificate. You are required to attach a copy of your Certificate of Admission or a copy of your current interstate practising certificate to your application. The Society also requires interstate practising certificate applicants to supply with their application a certificate of good standing from each jurisdiction the applicant has been admitted and/or practised in.

Section 50 of the Legal Profession Act 2006 and Regulation 13 of the Legal Profession Regulation 2007 sets out the requirements for supervised legal practice.

Types of practising certificates

A practising certificate can be either restricted, or unrestricted. The holder of an unrestricted practising certificate is entitled to practice as a principal of a law practice as defined in section 9 of the Legal Profession Act 2006. The holder of a restricted practising certificate is not entitled to practice as a principal of a law practice. Other conditions may also be placed on practising certificates. A list of practising certificate conditions is available below. 

Your practising certificate type relates to your employer (i.e. private, in-house, government, volunteer). 

Joining the Society: Fees 2020/21

Private lawyer

  • ACT Unrestricted Practising Certificate - Private = $1,060
  • ACT Restricted Practising Certificate - Private = $639

In-house lawyer

  • ACT Unrestricted Practising Certificate - In-house = $896
  • ACT Restricted Practising Certificate - In-house = $639

Government lawyer

  • ACT Unrestricted Practising Certificate - Government = $777
  • ACT Restricted Practising Certificate - Government = $532

Not practising in the ACT

  • ACT Unrestricted Practising Certificate - Non-ACT = $833
  • ACT Restricted Practising Certificate - Non-ACT = $452

Note: The eligibility criteria for applying for a First ACT Unrestricted Practising Certificate is set out in Regulation 10 of the Legal Profession Regulation 2007. You are required to attach a statutory declaration to your application addressing the eligibility criteria.

Please note that fees apply from 1 July to 30 June and are pro-rated from August onwards.

Practising certificates are available free of charge to lawyers who will be undertaking specified pro bono legal work. Holders of volunteer practising certificates must still arrange appropriate professional indemnity insurance, and they may only undertake work of a pro bono nature. Applications for volunteer practising certificates must be submitted with the relevant form.

  • ACT Unrestricted Practising Certificate - Volunteer = free
  • ACT Restricted Practising Certificate - Volunteer = free

Please note that fees apply from 1 July to 30 June and are pro-rated from August onwards.

  • No PC member (Full) = $142.50
  • No PC member (Associate) = $142.50

Please note that fees apply from 1 July to 30 June and are pro-rated from August onwards.

 

Renewing your practising certificate

Practising certificate renewals are conducted from early May each year. All current members will receive an email when the renewal period opens.

If your Practising Certificate has expired, but was held within the past 5 years, you should log in and renew for this current year from your member dashboard.


Applying for an Unrestricted Practising Certificate

The eligibility criteria for applying for a First ACT Unrestricted Practising Certificate is set out in Regulation 10 of the Legal Profession Regulation 2007. You are required to attach a statutory declaration to your application addressing the eligibility criteria. 

The Council of the Law Society has resolved pursuant to section 47 of the Legal Profession Act 2006 that before being granted an unrestricted certificate, a practitioner must satisfactorily complete, or undertake to satisfactorily complete, within a specified time, an approved practice management course. The Law Society conducts a Practice Management Course for the benefit of members wishing to satisfy this criteria. The course requires punctual and full attendance at all modules. For further information about the Practice Management Course please contact the Society's Professional Development Officer on 02 6274 0300.


Volunteer Practising Certificates

Practising certificates are available free of charge to lawyers who will be undertaking specified pro bono legal work. Holders of volunteer practising certificates must still arrange appropriate professional indemnity insurance, and they may only undertake work of a pro bono nature. Applications for volunteer practising certificates must be submitted with the relevant form.


Changes to your practising certificate

Changing employers

If you hold an ACT practising certificate, you must advise the Law Society if you change employers. Your practising certificate may need to be reissued if a change of employment affects your practising certificate type.

Moving to another jurisdiction

If you have been admitted in the ACT or have previously held an ACT practising certificate and will be moving to another jurisdiction and seeking a practising certificate there, you are required to provide a Certificate of Good Standing with your application form. Financial members of the Law Society are not charged a fee for a Certificate of Good Standing. 


Conditions on practising certificates

A practitioner who is granted a practising certificate by the ACT Law Society may be subject to statutory conditions or conditions imposed by the Council on their entitlement to practice. Those conditions are listed below.

Any holder of a practising certificate granted by the Council of the Law Society is entitled to engage in legal practice in the ACT as a volunteer providing pro bono legal services through a law practice or under an arrangement approved by the Council.

Code

Condition

Unrestricted practising certificate

The holder of an unrestricted practising certificate is entitled to practice as a principal of a law practice as defined in section 9 of the Legal Profession Act 2006.

C1 (Restricted practising certificate)

The holder is not entitled to practice as a principal of a law practice.

The term ‘principal’ is defined in section 9 of the Legal Profession Act 2006. In addition section 50 also provides that the holder must not engage in unsupervised legal practice as a solicitor until the holder has completed a period of supervised legal practice prescribed by Regulation 13.

C2 (Government or in-house lawyer)

The holder must not engage in legal practice otherwise than as a government lawyer engaged in government work or by providing in-house legal services for a corporation by which the holder is employed.

Statutory requirement pursuant to section 38 of the Legal Profession Act 2006.

C3 (must complete Practice Management Course)

The holder must successfully complete an approved Practice Management Course within a period set by the Society.

Condition imposed by the Council of the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory pursuant to section 47 of the Legal Profession Act 2006.

C4 (must obtain PII insurance)

The holder must obtain professional indemnity insurance before engaging in legal practice in Australia on his or her own account or as a partner in a law firm.

Statutory requirement pursuant to section 311 of the Legal Profession Act 2006.

C5 (Barrister)

The holder is subject to the conditions and restrictions imposed upon barristers by the ACT Bar Association.

Statutory requirement pursuant to section 49 of the Legal Profession Act 2006.

C6 (must only practice in specified areas of law)

The holder is permitted to practice in the area(s) of law specified by the Society.

Condition imposed by the Council of the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory pursuant to section 47 of the Legal Profession Act 2006.

C7 (must undertake specified training or study)

The holder is required to undertake a course of study or training specified by the Society.

Condition imposed by the Council of the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory pursuant to section 47 of the Legal Profession Act 2006.

C8 (must not operate a trust account or deal with trust monies)

The holder is not permitted to operate a trust account or to otherwise deal with trust, transit or controlled money.

Condition imposed by the Council of the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory pursuant to section 47 of the Legal Profession Act 2006.

C9 (other)

Other (please contact the Society for more information).

Condition imposed by the Council of the Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory pursuant to section 47 of the Legal Profession Act 2006.

 

Related Documents

Related Links

Wills Conference
Guidelines