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

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

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

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About the Proposed PC Fee Increase

In Victoria, the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner (‘VLSB+C’) grants, renews and administers practising certificates (‘PC’) for lawyers.

The current PC fees are set by the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application (Practising Certificate Fees) Interim Regulations 2017 (‘Interim Regulations’) which are an extension of the Legal Profession (Practising Certificate Fees) Regulations 2012. The Interim Regulations will expire on 28 February 2018. Under the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 (‘the Act’), new Regulations must be made to ensure that the VLSB+C can continue to charge fees for PCs for the 2018-19 renewal period and beyond.

The VLSB+C intended to introduce significant increases to PC fees for the 2017-18 renewal period. However, this was delayed due to extensive advocacy undertaken by the LIV calling for proper consultation processes accompanied by substantial justifications for any significant increases to PC fees.

See the LIV Action to Date for more information.

As a result of continued advocacy by the LIV, which has consistently opposed any significant increases to PC fees, the VLSB+C has released a Regulatory Impact Statement (‘RIS’) containing four proposed options to be incorporated in new Regulations. Details about the proposed options can be found in the FAQs below.

The LIV made a submission to the draft RIS after consulting with members on the impact of the proposed options, to which the VLSB provided a response. The LIV subsequently wrote to the Attorney-General expressing its concerns about the outstanding issues arising from the VLSB's response.

All public submissions, letters and other correspondance are avaliable through the Letters & Corrspondance on the right of this page.

The LIV continues to advocate on behalf of members on this issue and encourages any members with comments or concerns to 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
  • LIV submission on PC fees discussion paper

    The LIV prepared a formal submission in response to the VLSB+C's discussion paper on its review of lawyers' PC fees. The submission incorporated responses received from LIV members to its PC fees survey as well as comprehensive economic analysis.



    Read the submission
  • LIV submission on draft PC fees RIS

    The LIV prepared a formal submission in respons to the draft Regulatory Impact Statement for proposed Legal Profession Uniform Law Application (Practising Certificate Fees) Regulations 2017.



    Read the submission
  • VLSB+C response - PC fees RIS

    The VLSB+C wrote to the LIV in response to its submission on the draft Regulatory Impact Statement for new PC Fees regulations.



    View the letter
  • Letter to the Attorney-General - PC fees RIS

    THE LIV wrote to the Attorney-General following the VLSB+C's response to its submission on the draft Regulatory Impact Statement for new PC fees regulations. The letter raised ongoing concerns that the LIV felt were not adequately addressed by the VLSB+C in its response.



    View the letter

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.

    Previously, the Legal Profession (Practising Certificate Fees) Regulations 2012 set 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.  These regulations sunsetted on 30 June 2017.

    By virtue of the previous regulations sunsetting, the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application (Practising Certificate Fees) Interim Regulations 2017 were enacted to allow the VLSB+C to set fees for practising certificates for the 2017-18 financial year. These interim regulations are due to expire on 28 February 2018.

    New regulations need to be made under section 156 of the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014 to allow the VLSB+C to charge fees for practising certificates for the 2018-19 financial year and beyond. 

    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.

    The RIS for the proposed regulations has been released by the VLSB+C and is available here. Submissions to the RIS will close 30 November 2017.

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

  • What is the VLSB+C's preferred option under the RIS and what does it mean for my practice?

    In its draft RIS, the VLSB+C expressed its reference for a stratified fees model.

    Under this model, approximately 40% of the costs of regulatnig the legal profession in Victoria would be recovered through PC Fees, with the remainder funded from foregone interest from client trust accounts. Currently, approximately 34% of the cost of regulation is recovered through PC Fees.

    The preferred option also introduces several new PC 'classes' to bring the total number of classes to 9. The current tiered system effectively separates PC's into 3 classes: volunteers, practitioners with trust authorisation and practitioners without trust authorisation.

    These changes mean that PC Fees for community sector, corporate and government practitioners will decrease, but fees for all other practitioners (except volunteers) will increase by 13-21%.

    The impact that this will have on practices will vary. When renewing PC's, all practitioners will now need to identify the appropriate class of PC as well as take into account the potential increase in the cost of running their businesses.

     

  • 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, the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application (Practising Certificate Fees) Interim Regulations 2017 were enacted to allow the VLSB+C to set fees for practising certificates for the 2017-18 financial year. These interim regulations are due to expire on 28 February 2018.

    In the meantime, the VLSB+C conducted formal consultation processes with the release of a Discussion Paper in January 2017, and a draft RIS in late October 2017. The LIV provided formal submissions to both.

    Subject to the Attorney-General's decision, new regulations will be made by 28 February 2018 to set practising certificate fees for the 2018-19 financial year and peyond (as the case may be).

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