Get the latest news on the proposed practising certificate fee increase.

Read More

Click on the 'Read More' button to find out about the LIV’s advocacy to date.

Read More

The regulatory framework that underpins practising certificate fee pricing by the VLSB+C.

Read More

About the Proposed PC Fee Increase

The Legal Profession (Practising Certificate Fees) Regulations 2012 (the Regulations) fix the fees payable for Victorian practising certificates (PCs). The Regulations are due to sunset on 30 June 2017. Unless new regulations are passed or the existing regulations are extended, the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner (VLSB+C) cannot charge a fee for the 2017/18 PC year and renewal cycle.

Previously, the LIV understood that the VLSB+C indicated a preference to change the current PC fee structure by:

  • significantly increasing fees for all practitioners who do not hold trust authorisation, from the current $344 to $517; and
  • moving from a tiered fee structure, which differentiates between PC holders with and without trust authorisation, to a flat pricing structure, where all practitioners pay the same fee.

In response, the LIV wrote to the Attorney-General, raising significant concerns about the inadequacy of the consultations to date and lack of proper justification for the VLSB+C’s proposals to increase PC fees. The LIV opposes any significant PC fee increase without comprehensive justification.

As a consequence, the Attorney-General has requested the Victorian Legal Services Board delay the release of the Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) for the proposed new practising certificate fee regulations in order to undertake further consultation with relevant stakeholders. This delay means that the current fee structure will continue for the 2017-18 PC year.

See the LIV Action to Date page for more information.

The LIV will be formally seeking feedback from its members. If you have any comments or concerns in the meantime, please contact lpul@liv.asn.au.

Letters & Correspondence

  • Letter to the Attorney-General

    On 4 November 2016, the LIV wrote to the Attorney-General raising significant concerns about the lack of adequate consultation about the VLSB+C’s proposed PC fee increase. The LIV has requested that the current Regulations, and therefore the current PC fees, be extended to 30 June 2018.



    View the Letter
  • Response from Attorney-General

    The Attorney-General has requested the Victorian Legal Services Board delay the release of the Regulatory Impact Statement for the proposed new PC fee regulations in order to undertake further consultation.



    Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who administers practising certificates (PCs) and how are PC fees set?

    In Victoria, the VLSB+C grants, renews and administers PCs. PC fees are set by regulations made under the applicable legal profession Act.

    Currently, the Legal Profession (Practising Certificate Fees) Regulations 2012 sets fees for PCs in Victoria. These regulations were made under the Legal Profession Act 2004 and have continued to operate despite the repeal of that Act by virtue of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application (Savings and Transitional) Regulations 2015.

    However, the current regulations are due to sunset on 30 June 2017. Unless new regulations are passed or the existing regulations are extended, the VLSB+C cannot charge a fee for the 2017/18 PC year and renewal cycle.

    See Resources for more information about the regulatory framework that underpins PC fee pricing in Victoria.

  • What is a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS)?

    A RIS is a type of impact assessment prepared by a department or agency to support its advice to a Minister who is responsible for the particular regulation. RIS can be required for the introduction, amendment and sunsetting review of subordinate legislation, including regulations.

    A RIS is required under the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 (SLA) for proposals that are ‘likely to impose a significant economic or social burden on a sector of the public’.

    There are minimum requirements for public consultation before and after a RIS is completed. For regulations, these are set out in sections 6, 11 and 12 of the SLA.

    See Resources for more information about how regulations are made in Victoria.
     

  • What are the options proposed by the VLSB+C?

    In Victoria, regulation of the legal profession operates on a 100% costs recovery model, with no reliance placed on consolidated revenue and all regulatory costs recovered from interest on the Public Purpose Fund (interest on trust accounts collected by trust account holders) and PC fees.

    In a letter sent to Country and Suburban Law Associations dated 10 October 2016, the VLSB+C indicated that it was considering 5 options. These are:

    • Status quo: Maintain current fees (which apportions approximately 33% of the current cost of professional regulation in Victoria from PC fees, with the remaining 67% of Victorian regulatory costs recovered from the Public Purpose Fund).
    • Option 1A: 100% regulatory cost recovery from PC fees, with those fees tiered according to whether a practitioner is authorised to receive trust.
    • Option 1B:100% cost recovery from PC fees, with a single, flat fee without consideration as to trust authorisation.
    • Option 2A: 50% regulatory cost recovery from PC fees, 50% cost recovery from the Public Purpose Fund; fees tiered according to trust authorisation.
    • Option 2B: 50% cost recovery from PC fees, 50% cost recovery from the Public Purpose Fund; single, flat fee without consideration as to trust authorisation.

     

    In a letter sent to the LIV dated 13 September 2016, the VLSB+C included an additional option for 100% cost recovery from the Public Purpose Fund. That is, an option for no PC fees to be charged. This option was removed from the 10 October letter.

  • What are the next steps?

    The Attorney-General has requested that the current fee structure be retained so that the VLSB+C can conduct further consultations.

    To preserve the current fee structure, interim regulations will need to be developed by 1 March 2017 to set fees for the 2017/18 financial year. Once the interim regulations are made, PC fees will be the current amount plus any annual increase that is set by the Treasurer and automatically applied to all government fees and charges.

    In the meantime, the VLSB+C will commence formal consultation processes with the release of a Discussion Paper. Submissions to the Discussion Paper will inform the development of the VLSB+C’s preferred option and an accompanying RIS. Further submissions on the preferred option and RIS will be used by the VLSB+C to inform its final recommendation on PC fees for the 2018/19 financial year and beyond.

    See the LIV Action to Date page for the more information.

  • What does that mean for my practice?

    A fee of $560 represents an increase of 10% for PC holders with trust authorisation and 62.8% for those without trust authorisation. Meanwhile, a fee of $517 represents an increase of 1.6% for PCs with trust authorisation and 50.3% for those without trust authorisation.

    Whilst the impact that this will have on practices will vary, all practitioners will need to take the substantial increase in fees, particularly for those PCs without trust authorisation, into account when considering the costs of running their businesses.