In most states, a person is admitted as a Lawyer of the Supreme Court of their chosen state and, once admitted, may practise as either a barrister (obtaining a practising certificate through the respective Bar Association), or as a solicitor and barrister (obtaining a practising certificate through the Law Society of the state).
Becoming a Solicitor
Becoming a solicitor generally involves meeting the eligibility requirements for admission as a solicitor. To be eligible for admission, an individual must be over 18 years of age and have completed the required academic and Practical Legal Training (PLT) requirements.
A person must also be a ‘fit and proper person’. Generally this means that an individual is of good character.
Practical Legal Training
Once you have completed your law degree, you must then undertake approved Practical Legal Training. In contrast to the broad theoretical knowledge gained at university, Practical Legal Training provides instruction in a wide range of tasks and procedures. Read more about GDLP/PLT.
First-time admittees should apply for admission to the Supreme Court of their chosen state via the Legal Profession Admission Board (LPAB). Once you have completed your academic study and your Practical Legal Training, and satisfy the English Language Proficiency requirements (if applicable) you may make an application for admission.Having met the eligibility and suitability requirements for admission, in order to be eligible to practise as a solicitor you must:
1. Be admitted to the profession in the Supreme Court of your chosen state (unless you have already been admitted in another jurisdiction within Australia). This is a one-time only application. Once your application for admission is approved you will need to attend the Supreme Court to:
- take and sign the Oath
- sign the Roll of Australian Lawyers
- receive your original Certificate of Admission
2. Apply for a Practising Certificate from the Law Society if you intend to principally practise as a solicitor, which must be renewed annually.
Prior to admission, the LPAB provides a list of proposed admittees to the Law Society of your state. The Law Society will send you a Kit including an application form for a Practising Certificate. If you are intending to commence practise as a solicitor, you will need to:
- Complete the application form for a Practising Certificate and send it, together with payment, to the Law Society Registry by the date specified.
- Attend an admission day to receive your original Certificate of Admission.
- Take your Certificate of Admission to the Law Society to receive your Practising Certificate.
Becoming a Barrister
Barristers are lawyers who provide specialist services and advocacy skills to represent clients before courts and tribunals. They prepare court documents and advise clients about their legal problems and prospects of success in litigation. Barristers work on their own; partnerships or incorporations are not allowed. They are usually briefed by a solicitor before commencing work.
The following processes are required for admission into the Bar. A person must:
- Be admitted as a lawyer
- Obtain a 75 pass mark for all three Bar exams (‘Ethics for barristers’, ‘Aspects of evidence’ and ‘Practice and procedure for barristers’), before commencing the Bar Practice Course. This is a condition precedent to undertaking the reading program.
- Complete the Reading Programme, which involves a period of ‘reading’ for at least 12 months under the supervision of a barrister with not less than seven years’ standing. The program includes a full-month long Bar Practice Course, which involves study of advanced advocacy and barrister-related skills.
During the 11 months after completion of the course, certain other requirements are imposed: criminal reading and civil reading, participation in two advocacy workshops, and attendance at six extension sessions.
For full time practice at the Bar, one must commence within ten months of passing the exams.