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CLE backs articles

Briefs

Cite as: (2004) 78(4) LIJ, p.17

The Victorian body that determines the qualifications required for admission to practice has called on the state government to retain articles.

The Council of Legal Education (CLE) said the Victorian system of articles had served the state well and that the concept of a young lawyer being “effectively apprenticed” to an experienced practitioner who was under mandated obligations was sound.

The CLE’s submission to state Attorney-General Rob Hulls’ inquiry into the state’s admissions system said many firms had extended the “basic master/apprentice model” through measures such as large-scale internal practical legal training (PLT) programs and extensive use of external programs.

These measures had “changed perceptions and increased user (articled clerk) expectations”.

The submission backs the legal profession’s view that articles needed to be retained.

However, the CLE also said retaining the current arrangements did not mean there was no need for change to the system.

The LIJ reported last month that the Law Institute had called on Mr Hulls, who had asked stakeholders to comment on the possibility of abolishing articles, to retain the system.

The Institute Council approved a policy on 29 January this year that would see graduates who have completed their articles year placed on a restricted practising certificate for an additional 12 months.

Those graduates who had completed a PLT course instead of articles would be placed on a restricted practising certificate for the first two years of their career.

(A restricted practising certificate prevents its holder from practising on their own or handling trust money.)

The CLE submission also said:

  • newly admitted practitioners should serve 18 months to two years on a restricted practising certificate;
  • the CLE would be hampered in future due to lack of resources in dealing with organisations wanting to be PLT providers; and
  • the CLE had a strong concern about the cost of legal education.

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