To become a lawyer in Queensland, completing your law degree is only the start. You will be required to complete supervised training or PLT as well as apply for admission. This article sets out the steps in becoming a legal practitioner in Queensland.
Step 1: Complete an Approved Law Degree
There are nine law schools in Queensland. Following completion, you will need a copy of your academic transcript and LL.B/JD to file with your application for admission.
If you completed your qualifications in another jurisdiction, then there will be extra documentation to attach.
Step 2: Supervised Traineeship/PLT
You must give notice to the Admissions Board within one month of commencing your 12 month traineeship (beginning after you have finished your degree). There are rules and fees associated with the structure and registration of a traineeship which must be adhered to. Once completed, you will need your supervisor to complete Form 4 and file it with your application.
Alternatively, you can fulfil this requirement by undertaking a PLT course with an accredited provider. If your PLT course isn’t integrated with your degree, you may only commence it once you have finished your academic qualifications, unless you have no more than two electives left and have received permission. You will need to file a copy of your certificate of completion with your application.
Step 3: Application for Admission to Roll of Lawyers
Originating Application (Form 1)
The first step is to fill out the originating application (form 1) and file it at the Supreme Court Registry, along with the $55 fee. You must then serve a copy to the Board. This must be done at least 21 days before your application is heard.
Notice of Intention (Form 9)
You also need to complete and file a notice of intention. This is to be displayed on the notice board at the Registry, and a copy must be advertised in the Courier Mail and Queensland Law Reporter between 14-28 days prior to admission.
Statement of Eligibility and Suitability (Form 7)
This is your academic transcript, certificate of completion of your degree, and a copy of your certificate of completion of PLT. It also refers to copies of any documents that relate to your suitability to practice. This includes court orders, a letter from your university, letter from the ATO, and so on.
You must also demonstrate to the Legal Practitioners Admission Board and the Supreme Court that you are a fit and proper person to be admitted to the legal profession.
While there is no exhaustive list of all matters which you should disclose to the Board that will or will not demonstrate being a fit and proper person, you should provide a full account of any matters. This includes any criminal conduct, infringement offences, academic and general misconduct.
As well as being a fit and proper person, you must also demonstrate that you are able to cope with the inherent tasks of legal practice. You can do this by disclosing any condition which may affect your ability to engage in legal practice e.g. physical impairment, mental illness or addictions.
You will also need to attach documentation of these matters; these can be reports, records or statements. Basically anything that relates to the matters you raise.
Certificates of Suitability (Form 8)
You must provide the Board with three (original) certificates from non-relatives who have known you for at least two years and (if possible) one from a legal practitioner, Justice of the Peace or Registrar. These demonstrate that they are aware of the suitability matters you have raised and consider you a fit and proper person to practice.
Affidavit of Compliance
You will need to compile this at least 12 days prior to admission. You will need to enclose $490 and serve it to on the Board after filing it at the Supreme Court Registry. Note: it takes a particular format. The affidavit must address all matters of eligibility (academic and PLT) and suitability, with a description of each suitability matter disclosed in your application. You must also enclose copies of the publications you advertised your intention to apply for admission. Remember, you have a duty to make a complete disclosure otherwise the Board may refuse your admission.
Step 4: What Happens Next?
The Board will consider your application. If appropriate, you will get a certificate of recommendation two days prior to your admission ceremony. You are to file this in the Supreme Court Registry and keep a copy.
Your name will then be listed on the Supreme Court website and it will list the time of your admission ceremony. At the ceremony, you will need to take an oath or affirmation. Then you are admitted to the Roll.
Step 5: Application for a Practising Certificate
Once you have been admitted, you will need a practicing certificate. In order to obtain a practicing certificate, you must complete the approved application form, collected all the required documents and lodge them with a fee (currently $558, including a Fidelity Fund contribution). Once granted, it will be restricted until you have completed supervised legal practice.
One final tip: retain copies of it all for your own records – you never know when you might need to refer to them!
If you would like more information about becoming a solicitor in Queensland, visit the Law Society Website.
This guest post article was written by Jessica Awad. Jessica is a law student at Deakin University. She was a Court Clerk at Victoria Legal Aid from July – December 2015. If you are interested in contributing a blog piece, get in touch with us.