This page will provide you with the key information you need to know to make an application for Accredited Specialisation.

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Explore the 16 areas of law where you can make your mark on the legal profession as an LIV accredited specialist.

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Browse resources and services available to prospective accredited specialists, including past assessments, recommended reading and events.

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About Accredited Specialisation

Accredited Specialisation is a significant achievement, providing practitioners with the opportunity to:

  • attain a higher level of competence and specialist skills
  • enhance career development and opportunities
  • achieve greater recognition among peers
  • promote their expertise in a particular area of law
  • differentiate themselves from others practising in a specialty area
  • increase referral work from the public and peers.

National Accreditation

Since the LIV introduced the Accredited Specialisation program in 1989, law societies in other states have followed suit. Family law, immigration law, mediation and tax law are currently offered on a national basis, with workplace relations building strength on a national level.

The Specialisation Board supports accreditation on a national scale by sharing information and resources and seeking common ground on policy and procedural matters. The LIV maintains a leadership role in the accreditation of interstate specialists – and the law societies Victoria has a relationship with.

Mutual Recognition

The mutual recognition scheme has been developed by the law societies in each state to assist practitioners who wish to have their specialist accreditation gained in one state recognised in another state. You may be moving interstate or your firm may deal with clients from both states. For more information about conditions for recognition and fees, please view the Mutual Recognition Fact Sheet.

Credit Pathways

Current and aspiring accredited specialists may be interested in the reciprocal credit pathways recently introduced between the Specialisation Board and some Victorian universities and other tertiary institutions. The credit pathways are offered at a Master level both for accredited specialists commencing a Master of Laws (LLM) and LLM graduates commencing the Accredited Specialisation program. More information is below in the FAQs.

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    If you're a current LIV accredited specialist, you can find out more information about upcoming events, advertising your specialty and much more on the Accredited Specialist Member pages.



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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where do I find forms and policies that relate to Accredited Specialisation?
  • How do I apply for Accredited Specialisation?
  • What do I need to include in my application?

    Your application should include the following:

    • completed application form
    • three references in the prescribed format
    • a short CV or resume of practice
    • other supporting documentation particular to your application
    • application payment – either in the form of a cheque, credit card or EFT remittance.
  • What are the application close dates?

    Applications for 2016 specialist areas are now closed. To register your interest in applying for Specialisation in 2017, please email special@liv.asn.au or complete an Online Expression of Interest Form.

  • What happens if I don’t meet the eligibility criteria? Can I still apply?

    The Board may, in exceptional circumstances, exercise its discretion to accept an application in the form prescribed by the Board from a practitioner who is unable to fully satisfy the conditions of entry to the program.

    If you do not meet the eligibility criteria, or would like to seek an exemption from the written examination, you will need to submit an accompanying letter with your application. The letter should make reference to the Specialisation Scheme Rule that you seek relief on, and must demonstrate to the Board that the experience gained in legal work, paralegal work, judicial, quasi-judicial work, legal research, teaching, or part-time legal work which in aggregate, is sufficient to satisfy the Board that the requirements of entry to the program. This is called a Special Consideration Application and is due by 1 April 2016.

  • How is the five years' post admission experience calculated?

    Applicants are required to have the equivalent of five years full-time work experience following the date of their admission by 30 June in the year of the application. For example, if you are applying for the 2016 program, you meet this requirement if you commenced working full time on 30 June 2011 or earlier. How is substantial involvement in the area of practice calculated? For the purposes of the Accredited Specialisation application, substantial involvement equates to a minimum of 25 per cent equivalent to full-time work in the area of practice. In other words, at least 1.25 days per week in the area of law.

  • What are the reference requirements?

    Applicants need to supply three references to accompany the application. The LIV provides a form on which these references can be submitted. Electronic copies are available for you to email to your chosen referees.

  • Which tertiary institutions offer credit pathways for specialists commencing an LLM?

    The following tertiary institutions offer credit pathways for accredited specialists commencing a Master of Laws. For further information, please contact the institution directly.

    • The College of Law have granted LIV accredited specialists in family law and commercial litigation two units of unspecified credit in a Master of Applied Law (family law and commercial litigation respectively).
    • The Deakin School of Law will grant accredited specialists a credit of one, and up to two, units of credit towards a Deakin LLM.
    • The La Trobe School of Law will grant practitioners who have attained their LIV specialist accreditation within the last three years a one subject credit towards an LLM degree.
  • Who may act as a referee?

    Someone that has known you for at least three years. At least one referee must be a legal practitioner with at least five years' experience in practice who is significantly involved in the area of practice. A referee who is not a legal practitioner must have appropriate experience in a field closely related to your area of practice (eg If someone is applying in business or tax law, an accountant may be appropriate.) Your referee must be able to attest to your competence and involvement in this area of practice.

    The following are ineligible to act as a referee for your application:

    • partner, associate, employer, employee, (ie another member of your firm) or a relative
    • Specialisation Board member or member of the Advisory Committee in the area of practice
    • current applicant in the same area of law, or
    • staff member of the LIV.
  • What is required for my resume of practice/CV?

    This should include a history of your practice to date, details of the roles you have held, the areas of law that you have worked in and any major projects/file types you have worked on. Your resume of practice should be approximately 1–2 pages long.

  • What are the application costs and how can I make payment?

    The application fee is $1100 (including GST). This includes entry into the assessment process and covers the costs
    associated with undertaking the program. This fee does not include access to past assessment papers or interviews.

    Payment can be made by the following methods:

    • Cheque made payable to the Law Institute of Victoria
    • Credit card details; or
    • EFT payment (remittance advice enclosed)

    Account Name: Law Institute of Victoria
    BSB: 033 000
    Account Number: 567470
    Reference: Include your name and member number

  • Are there any additional fees or charges?

    Candidates may choose to purchase products or services supplied by the LIV. These are at an additional expense to the application fee and range from $40–$250. These are not mandatory. If you successfully gain your accreditation, there is an annual fee of $400 (GST incl), which is included in your membership renewal notice. You may seek to apply for a leave of absence if your circumstances change once you have gained accreditation. This is an annual fee of $110 (GST incl) payable at membership renewal time.

  • Is the application fee refundable if I withdraw from the program?

    A refund of $990 will be made if a candidate withdraws prior to 30 June in the year of the application. After this date, no refund is available. The application and enrolment fee will not be transferred to a future program or year.

  • Is the application fee tax deductible?

    Yes, we believe that the application fee would be tax deductible under Tax Ruling 98/9. Further information can be provided if necessary: http://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?docid=TXR/TR989/nat/ato/00001

  • Can I practise in another state as an accredited specialist if I am a specialist in a nationally accredited area?

    The mutual recognition policy provides a framework for Accredited Specialisation in one state to be recognised in other states. The outcome of recognition is that legal practitioners may, subject to conditions, be eligible to hold Accredited Specialisation in more than one state. On an ongoing basis, renewal of each Accredited Specialisation is the responsibility of each state in which Accredited Specialisation is held. Please review the Mutual Recognition Fact Sheet or contact our office special@liv.asn.au or 03 9607 9460 for further details.

  • Does the LIV recognise prior learning?

    Yes, the LIV does recognise prior learning and will provide advanced standing through the exemption to the written examination on a case by case basis. Applicants may apply in advance for an exemption from the written examination if they have recently studied subjects relating to the area of practice in a postgraduate course at a tertiary institution.

    Eligibility for the exemption is subject to the following conditions. The completed postgraduate course units must:

    • have been completed within the preceding five years of the date of application
    • assess knowledge that is equivalent in range to the knowledge assessed in the specialist accreditation exam
    • be at a level of complexity and standard of knowledge that is equivalent to that assessed in the specialist accreditation exam
    • contain knowledge that is of equivalent relevance to practice in the specialist accreditation exam.

    In making an application for an exemption, the following information must be provided:

    • academic transcript, including subjects/units undertaken, the completion dates and grades
    • an outline of how the units undertaken assess knowledge that is equivalent to knowledge assessed in the Specialisation examination, is at the complexity and standard of knowledge and equivalent relevance to practice.

    Any such exemption is entirely at the discretion of the Specialisation Board and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

  • How do I apply for mutual recognition with the LIV?

    To gain mutual recognition, you need to submit a formal request seeking mutual recognition. Your request will then be considered by the Advisory Committee and the Specialisation Board. The request may be drafted around your background, the area of specialisation you are seeking mutual recognition, evidence of your current specialisation, work undertaken in the area of specialisation in Victoria and your reason for requesting mutual recognition. Your request should be addressed to the Secretary to the Specialisation Board and sent to the below address:

    Accredited Specialisation
    Law Institute of Victoria
    470 Bourke Street
    Melbourne VIC 3000

  • Can I order past assessments before I enrol for the program?

    Yes, prospective candidates are able to access past assessment materials before they enrol for the program. These include past examination papers as well as simulated interviews. Past assessments help prospective candidates understand the standard and the format of the assessments. Complete and submit an Assessment Material Order Form to access past assessment materials.

  • What are the key functions of the learning management system (Moodle)?

    The key functionalities of Moodle include:

    • access to key program information including assessment details and dates
    • discussion forums on topics listed in the subject guidelines
    • moderated chat sessions lead by topic experts at scheduled periods
    • ability to view, add to and create blogs and wikis on topics covered in the subject guidelines
    • access to specialisation resources and policies
    • ability to exchange files and study notes
    • ability to submit take-home assessments during the assessment period.
  • How can I get access to Moodle?

    Moodle access is granted in two phases. In phase one, any prospective candidate who expressed interest in the Accredited Specialisation program is granted access to the Community of Practice area once they send an email to special@liv.asn.au requesting access to Moodle. Access to the full site is granted in phase two once their application for the Accredited Specialisation program is successful and candidacy is granted.

  • What should I do to join a study group?

    Prospective candidates who wish to join a study group should submit a Study Group Application Form to special@liv.asn.au. This information will then be circulated to others interested in forming a study group.

  • Are we allowed to discuss assessment details with other candidates or mentors?

    Candidates are not allowed to discuss details about assessments with other candidates or mentors. However, you are allowed to discuss the topics of assessments outlined in the subject guidelines and prepare materials and study notes ahead of assessments.