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Time for renewal

News

Cite as: April 2011 85(4) LIJ, p.20


A new way of renewing practising certificates is available for the first time this year.

The trialling of a Legal Services Board (LSB) pilot program will be available to practising certificate renewals this year.

Barristers and solicitors from 60 law firms will be using the LSB Online renewal system for the first time. Practitioners not selected for the pilot program can also initiate their own online renewal by logging on to www.online.lsb.vic.gov.au and following the links.

As online renewal is optional, lawyers can still opt to renew on a paper form.

The LSB and LIV are also pleased to announce that the need for a statutory declaration to accompany renewal form changes will be dropped this year.

The declaration was to confirm that the information on a renewal form was true and correct. A declaration is now to be made as part of the renewal form, not as a separate statutory instrument.

The consequences for failing to declare matters truthfully are not reduced by this change. However, it does reduce the regulatory burden and matches interstate arrangements.

Who must renew?

Renewal occurs for anyone carrying a current certificate who intends to practise law at any point during the following financial year.

Lodgement deadlines and surcharges

Practitioners holding a current practising certificate should lodge their fully completed renewal form with the LIV this month. The deadline is 30 April.

The following surcharges apply to applications lodged after the 30 April deadline:

  • 1-31 May – 25 per cent surcharge
  • 1-30 June – 50 per cent surcharge
  • July-September – 200 per cent surcharge

Practitioners who will commence or recommence practice between 1 May and 30 June 2011 should also lodge their fully completed renewal form with the LIV by 30 June 2011.

Without a correctly completed renewal application form being lodged by 30 June 2011, your practising certificate will expire on 30 June. All practitioners need to be aware of penalties that apply for engaging in legal practice without a current practising certificate.

Renewal application forms

Because of the imminent legislative change involving statutory declarations, the LSB will send out a pre-printed renewal form to each practitioner’s nominated preferred mailing address. If you work in a practice with a number of other practitioners and have nominated your law practice address as your preferred mailing address, your documentation will be sent to the law practice as part of a single bundle of forms.

Not renewing?

If you do not intend to renew your practising certificate, please tick the “not renewing” box on Question 1 on the form, amend your employment details on the form, and return your form to the LIV by the lodgement deadline. There is no requirement to complete the other questions on the form or to have the statutory declaration completed.

Alternatively, you can notify the LIV Practitioner Information Centre in writing of your intention not to renew. Please also notify the LSB of the termination of your law practice and closing of your trust account (if applicable).

This will complete your LSB practice record, and ensure that the LIV takes no further action to follow up the lodgement of your renewal 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 marked on the form as being “mandatory”.

Incomplete forms or incomplete payments prevent processing. Until processed, your renewal record remains incomplete and lateness can expose you to a surcharge. For this reason, it is extremely important that you double check your form for errors and omissions prior to lodgement.

LSB Online is designed to alert you to incomplete forms before sending. Final responsibility for lodgement of a correctly completed paper or online form lies with the applicant.

New and recommencing practitioners

All practising certificates, including newly granted certificates, will expire on 30 June 2011. If you apply for a new practising certificate during the renewal period you will need to apply for a renewal of that practising certificate as well. These application forms may be lodged either together or separately.

Forms are available from www.lsb.vic.gov.au/Forms.htm or www.liv.asn.au/Practising-in-Victoria.

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 2011.

Professional indemnity insurance is obtained from the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee (LPLC) unless you are exempted from this requirement by the LSB. Without insurance, your practising certificate will not take effect.

If your practice has an LSB exemption, you must contact the LSB to ensure that your exemption remains current throughout the next practising year. Overseas practitioners must ensure that they lodge a professional indemnity insurance undertaking to the LSB before 31 May.

For further information about LSB exemptions and overseas undertakings, see www.lsb.vic.gov.au or ph 9679 8000.

Further information about professional indemnity insurance is available from the LPLC on ph 9672 3800.

Your 2011-2012 practising certificate

Each lodged practising certificate renewal application form 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 (applies only 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 on or before the 30 April due date should receive their certificate by the end of June 2011, 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 LIV Practitioner Information Centre on ph 9607 9508, fax 9602 5270, email to pcrenewals@liv.asn.au or www.liv.asn.au/renewals.

The LSB Online support desk can be contacted on ph 9679 8111, email online@lsb.vic.gov.au or see www.online.lsb.vic.gov.au.

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