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Practising certificates


News

Cite as: (2009) 83(04) LIJ, p.16


Practising certificate renewal applications are due 30 April 2009.

The LIV, as delegate of the Legal Services Board (LSB), is responsible for processing practising certificate renewals for all solicitors. Inquiries about practising certificate renewals should be directed to the LIV in the first instance.

Who must renew?

A practising certificate is only valid from the day it is issued until the end of the financial year in which it is issued. Anyone holding a current local practising certificate as of 30 June 2009, who intends to practise after 30 June, should renew their practising certificate.

Lodgment deadlines

  • Practitioners holding a current practising certificate on 30 April should lodge their completed renewal form with the LIV by 30 April 2009.
  • Practitioners who commence/recommence practice between 1 May and 30 June 2009 should lodge their completed renewal form with the LIV by 30 June 2009.

Surcharges may apply to applications lodged after the deadline. Lodgment deadlines and surcharges are set by the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic).

It is the responsibility of each practitioner to ensure that their correctly completed renewal form is lodged by the relevant deadline.

All practitioners: If you do not lodge a correctly completed renewal application form by 30 June 2009, your practising certificate will expire on 30 June. Penalties apply for engaging in legal practice without a current practising certificate.

Renewal application forms

The LSB will send out pre-printed renewal forms at the end of March 2009. If you work in a practice with a number of other practitioners and you have nominated your Law practice address as your preferred mailing address, your form will be sent to the Law practice as part of a single bundle of forms.

If you have not received your practising certificate renewal form by the end of the first week in April, visit the LIV website at http://www.liv.asn.au/renewals to download a replacement form, or contact the LIV Practitioners’ Information Centre on ph 9607 9508.

Not renewing?

If you do not intend to renew your practising certificate, please tick the “not renewing” box in question 1 on the form, amend your employment details on the form, and return your form to the LIV by the lodgment deadline.

Alternatively, you can notify the Practitioners’ Information Centre in writing of your intention not to renew (see contact details below). This will complete your LSB practice record, and ensure that the LIV takes no further action to follow up the lodgment of your application.

Incomplete forms

The LSB has identified a number of questions on the renewal form that must be answered by all applicants. These questions are clearly marked on the form as being “mandatory”. If you do not answer one or more mandatory questions, your form cannot be processed. Instead it will be returned to you, and your LSB record will show that you have not yet lodged a correctly completed form. Your form may also be considered incomplete if you fail to include correct payment with your form.

You may be liable for late lodgment surcharges if you do not lodge a correctly completed form by the relevant lodgment deadline. LIV processing staff work hard to identify incorrectly completed forms and return them to practitioners before lodgment deadlines. However, given the large volume of forms lodged by practitioners in the second half of April, there is no guarantee that all errors will be identified prior to 30 April.

For this reason, it is extremely important that you double check your form for errors and omissions before lodgment. Final responsibility for lodgment of a correctly completed form lies with the applicant.

Late lodgment surcharges

The following surcharges apply to applications received after the lodged deadline:

1-31 May – 25 per cent surcharge;

1-30 June – 50 per cent surcharge.

These surcharges only apply if you held a local practising certificate on 30 April 2009.

Surcharges are set by the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic).

The Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic) does not grant the LIV or the LSB the power to waive late lodgment surcharges. However, surcharges may be refunded if either the LIV or the LSB deems that “special circumstances” apply. See the renewal form notes pages for further details.

New and recommencing practitioners

If you apply for a practising certificate that commences before 1 July 2009, your practising certificate will only be valid until 30 June 2009. If you wish to continue practising from 1 July 2009 onwards, you must renew your practising certificate by lodging a Practising Certificate Renewal form in addition to your original Application for Practising Certificate form.

Note that these are two different forms.

You can only apply for a renewed certificate using the Practising Certificate Renewal form if you have also applied for an initial certificate using the Application for Practising Certificate form. These application forms may be lodged either together or separately.

Initial Application for Practising Certificate forms are available from the Regulation section of the LIV website at http://www.liv.asn.au/regulation and from the LIV Practitioners’ Information Centre on ph 9607 9508.

Professional indemnity insurance

Principal practitioners renewing their practising certificate must obtain the necessary level of professional indemnity insurance for themselves and their employee solicitors by 31 May 2009.

Professional indemnity insurance must be obtained from the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (LPLC), ph 9672 3800.

If your practice has an LSB exemption from the requirement to obtain professional indemnity insurance from the LPLC, you must contact the LSB to ensure that your exemption remains current throughout the next practising year.

Likewise, overseas practitioners must ensure that they make their professional indemnity insurance undertaking to the LSB before 31 May. Further information about LSB exemptions and overseas undertakings can be obtained from the LSB website at http://www.lsb.vic.gov.au, or by contacting the LSB direct, ph 9679 8000.

Your practising certificate will not take effect on 1 July if you are not covered by the required level of professional indemnity insurance.

Your 2009-2010 practising certificate

Each practising certificate renewal application form that is lodged will be individually checked by LIV processing staff to ensure that it meets the criteria for the issuing of a practising certificate.

Your certificate will be issued when your application passes all checks including payment of all fees, fulfilment of any outstanding trust audit obligations (this only applies to practitioners authorised to receive trust), and payment of professional indemnity insurance as required by the Legal Profession Act 2004 (Vic).

Applicants who lodge a fully completed renewal form by the 30 April due date should receive their certificate by the end of June 2009, in time for the new practising year.

Further information

The LIV website has detailed information on a range of practising certificate renewal matters including variation of practising certificate type, removal of the supervised legal practice condition, changes in practitioner details, continuing professional development requirements, show cause events and specific requirements for overseas practitioners.

Further information is also available from the staff at the Practitioners’ Information Centre:

Practitioners’ Information Centre

LIV, 470 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph: 9607 9508
Fax: 9602 5270
Email: pcrenewals@liv.asn.au
Website: http://www.liv.asn.au/renewals

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