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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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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?

    Application close dates for the 2019 program are as follows:

    • Friday 22 March 2019, 4pm – Applications requesting Board discretion (for those who do not meet the eligibility criteria) or exemption from the Written Examination
       
    • Friday 5 April 2019, 4pm – All other applications
  • 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 22 March 2019.

    Please note.  A fee of $220 will be charged for applications that require discretion. This amount will be deducted from the application fee if the application is successful.

  • 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 2019 program, you meet this requirement if you commenced working full time on 30 June 2014 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.

  • 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.

    Special consideration applications (applications that request the Board exercise its discretion) will incur an assessment fee of $220. This amount will be deducted from the application fee if the application is successful.

    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 $50–$250. These are not mandatory. If you successfully gain your accreditation, there is an annual fee of $420 (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 $880 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

  • 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.